Red Masque, posting upset victory in the Forerunner Stakes.

Red Masque, posting upset victory in the Forerunner Stakes.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Red Masque Posts Forerunner Upset

Red Masque upset 2-5 favorite Royal Gem to win Wednesday's Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland. The $111,000 race was the first added-money victory for Red Masque, a 3-year-old son of Red Ransom.

Mystic Salse broke well and took the early lead, followed closely by 12-1 outsider No More Chads and jockey Pat Day, while Royal Gem was at the back of the pack from the break. As the leaders entered the first turn, Mystic Salse kept the lead by a neck, but No More Chads was never more than a length off the pace. The first quarter was run in :23.36 with the half going in :47.96.

On the backstretch, Red Masque and jockey Jerry Bailey pulled alongside Mystic Salse on the outside. The time for six furlongs was 1:12.69. They accelerated through the second turn and by the stretch, had the lead and the gas to accelerate to the finish after going a mile in 1:36.75. Meanwhile, Royal Gem came on hard through the stretch, but didn't have enough to catch Royal Gem and No More Chads. The winner finished the nine furlongs in 1:49.15 on firm turf and was 1 1/2 lengths ahead of No More Chads. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Royal Gem. Mystic Salse, Goshin's Lad, and A Secret Scoop completed the order of finish.

The winner went off at 5-1 and paid $12.40, $6.20, and $2.10. No More Chads returned $9.30 and $2.10, with Royal Gem paying $2.10. The 7-3 exacta paid $99.40.

"He was kinda getting out as we turned for home but he was running with it and when we straightened up he was lugging in," explained Bailey. "He was full of run at the end and I knew no one was going to catch him."

"I was riding him (Royal Gem) when we passed the wire the first time," Solis said of the favorite. "He just didn't run his race."

(Chart, Equibase)