After he broke on top in the five-horse field and went directly to the front under jockey Trevor McCarthy, Never Gone South galloped through easy fractions of :24.14 and :47.91 before he hit the wire for seven furlongs over a good track in 1:23.92.
"Trevor came into the paddock and said, 'We're just going to lead,' and I said, 'That's a plan,'" said trainer Cathal Lynch. "There wasn't a whole lot of speed in there and he's been ding-donging against some really nice horses."
In his two starts prior to Saturday's race, Never Gone South finished second to Vorticity
in the Marylander Stakes Dec. 5 and second to Awesome Speed
in the James F. Lewis Stakes Nov. 14
A 3-year-old son of Munnings
, Never Gone South ($3.20) has now won three of five starts, including the Strike Your Colors Stakes last August at Delaware Park
. He has not finished worse than second.
"He showed his true class today," McCarthy said.
Lynch said the $75,000 Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Feb. 15 at a mile could be next for Never Gone South.
Also on Saturday's card, GRD Two Racing's Karen's Silk
($8) drove past Aye a Song
and Lost Raven
down the stretch to win the $75,000 Marshua Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 1 1/4 lengths, and D. Hatman Thoroughbred's Sonny Inspired
($27.40), fifth in the De Francis Memorial in November, took the lead entering the stretch and drew away to a 1 3/4 length victory in the $75,000 Fire Plug Stakes for older sprinters.