Recent Maiden Winner Van Rouge Wires Ascot Handicap

Van Rouge led all the way en route to winning Sunday's $100,000 Ascot Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 4 1/2 lengths over Doc Holiday at Bay Meadows. On the firm turf, Van Rouge completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.78 under Jason Lumpkins.

Van Rouge set fractions of :23.28 and :46.51 while chased by Doc Holiday, those two continued to run one-two as Van Rouge held a two-length lead after six furlongs in 1:11.15. Edmund Gann's favored Six Hitter raced in fourth at that point, 1 1/2 lengths behind Doc Holiday. Van Rouge opened up from there on the way to posting his second victory from seven career starts. Doc Holiday finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Hecandigit. Blue Slew's Shoes finished fourth, followed by Six Hitter, Lawn Mower, and Gottalovefaith.

Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss' homebred Van Rouge is a gray son of Red Ransom out of the French-bred Italian group III winner Tarte Aux Pommes. He finished third to Sunday Break in a maiden race at Santa Anita in January and earned his maiden win last month in his second attempt on turf. The John A. Shirreffs trainee earned $55,000 for the win.

The second choice in the wagering paid $6.80, $4, and $3.40 and topped the $1 exacta worth $13.30. Doc Holiday paid $3.60 and $3. Hecandigit was worth $5 to show. (Chart, Equibase)