Alumni Hall outran the outsider On Thin Ice through the stretch to win the $150,000 Fayette Stakes (gr. III) Saturday as Keeneland ended its 17-day fall meeting.
The two horses turned into the stretch together but Alumni Hall inched away in the final sixteenth to post a half-length victory under jockey Calvin Borel. His time for the 1 1/8 miles on the fast track was 1:51.37.
On Thin Ice, ridden by Willie Martinez, held on for second, two lengths in front of third-place M B Sea who rallied from far back in his quest for a second victory in the Fayette. Shaniko, the 2-1 favorite in a field of nine, was never a factor and finished last under Mike Luzzi.
Alumni Hall won for the ninth time in 19 career starts with four of the victories coming at Keeneland. Owned by William S. Farish, James A. Elkins, Jr. and W. Temple Webber, Jr., he won the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) during Keeneland's spring meeting. The winner's purse of $93,000 pushed his career earnings to $615,571.
"Alumni Hall is a perfect example of why it's so great to train for Mr.Farish," said winning trainer Neil Howard. "When he first came to our barn we couldn't figure this horse out, but Farish told us to take our time and be patient with him. It has certainly paid off."
A 6-year-old horse by A.P. Indy, Alumni Hall ran second in the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup (gr. II) in his last start. The chestnut paid $6, $4 and $3 as the narrow second choice in the field of older horses.
"We had a perfect trip," said Borel. "He wanted to run today. As soon as we turned for home and I took him to the outside, I knew we had it."
Borel, Howard and Farish teamed to win the Fayette Stakes last year with Midway Road. Farish, in his name and in partnership, has now won the Fayette four times dating back to Chateauvira's victory in the 1973 running.
On Thin Ice, a 39-1 outsider, returned $22 and $8.80 and M B Sea, ridden by Corey Lanerie, paid $6.40 to show. Trapped Again finished fourth followed, in order, by Habaneros, Lord of the Game, Fantasticat, Mambo Train and Shaniko.
Rafael Bejarano, who missed the final day of the meeting to ride in the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park where he won the Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) with Intercontinental, rode 30 winners at Keeneland to lead the jockey standings for the second straight fall.
Bejarano won four stakes including the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) with Host and the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) with Sweet Talker.
Robby Albarado, who also missed the last day, finished second with 16 victories.
Nick Zito led the trainer's standings with nine wins, one more than Steve Asmussen. The two tied for the title last fall.
Farish and partners won five races, including two stakes, to finish as leading owner in races won.(Chart, Equibase)