Tenpins celebrates Breeders' Cup Day with Fayette win at Keeneland.

Tenpins celebrates Breeders' Cup Day with Fayette win at Keeneland.

Bill Straus

Tenpins Repels X Country for Fayette Win

Trainer Donald Winfree bypassed a shot at the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with 4-year-old Tenpins, opting instead for the $156,122 Fayette Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland. While the $4-million question remains unanswered, Tenpins did earn owner-breeder Joseph Vitello $99,789 for his 1 3/4-length triumph over a pesky X Country in the 1 1/8-mile Saturday feature at the Lexington oval.

The Michigan-bred chestnut son of Smart Strike earned his third graded stakes win of the year in the Fayette, and his career record now stands at seven wins from 10 career starts. He earned his maiden win on a sloppy track at Keeneland just over a year ago (after being disqualified from his initial win at Arlington the previous month) and has since gone on to win the Schaffer (gr. III) and Washington Park (gr. II) handicaps.

Tenpins broke well, leading the field into the first turn while kept very wide by jockey Craig Perret. Invisible Ink and Crafty Shaw pressed the 1-2 favorite from the outside on the muddy track, with only X Country saving ground on the first turn. X Country made a big inside move three furlongs out and took the lead from Tenpins in the stretch. Under a confident Perret, Tenpins rallied to victory, completing the nine furlongs in 1:51.17.

"I know this horse likes competition so I was happy when that other horse (X Country) came up alongside us," said Perret.

X Country finished 14 lengths clear of Crafty Shaw, with Invisible Ink 4 3/4 lengths farther back.

The big favorite in the small field returned $3 for the win and topped a $12.20 exacta. There was no place or show wagering due to the field size, which was reduced to four with the scratch of Rock Slide. (Chart, Equibase)