A Little Luck Wins McKnight 'Cap

Kathleen Crompton's A Little Luck completed a longshot sweep of Calder's all-stakes pick four wager on Grand Slam II day at the South Florida oval, winning Saturday's $150,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) by a length at odds of nearly 11-1. The pick four returned $77,762.40 for every $1 wagered.

The Barclay Tagg-trained A Little Luck rallied in the stretch under jockey Mike Smith to catch second-place finisher Stokosky, finishing the 1 1/2-mile race in 2:29.01 on a firm turf course. 2-1 favorite Whata Brainstorm rallied too late after early leaders Phi Beta Doc and Kim Loves Bucky set a dawdling pace (:50.78 and 1:15.76) and finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Stokosky. Antitrust was fourth, followed by Dixie's Crown, King's Jewel, Brassy Fred, Ivars Big Peaceful, Kim Loves Bucky, Phi Beta Doc, Just Listen, and Ifineedyaillcallya.

"Everything worked out great," said Smith. "They told me to try to get to the inside and lay third or fourth. He was a lot gamer once we got inside of horses -- they were a hundred percent right. He started pulling and it was just a matter of finding a place after that."

A Little Luck (Pas Seul--Lucky Sally, by Our Native) earned his fourth victory on the year in the McKnight, and his first stakes victory of 2000. Previously this year, he won an allowance race on soft turf at Aqueduct and a pair of $75,000 claiming races. The only other graded stakes win of his career came in the 1998 Laurel Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT). The 6-year-old gelding, bred in Maryland by Gordonsdale Farm, earned his 11th career win from 45 starts.

"He's a very nice old horse with infirmities," said Tagg. "When he's going good, he's a tough horse. He particularly loves soft turf. He beat John's Call in the Laurel Turf Cup two years ago on a soft course. I bought him for (owner Kathleen Crompton) as a 3-year-old. If he continues to do well, we'll look at the good races at Gulfstream (Gulfstream Breeders' Cup and Pan American). Hey, John's Call did so well this year and he's nine years old. This is great. Last year at this meet, I didn't do any good at all, but this year I've run five horses and had three winners and a second."

A Little Luck returned $23.20, $9.40, and $5.80. Stokosky paid $8.40 and $4.80 and completed an exacta worth $207.40. Whata Brainstorm paid $3. (Chart, Equibase)