Blame, the only 3-year-old in the field, rallied from the back of the pack and ran down favored Parading in mid-stretch to win the $150,000 Fayette Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO), the closing day feature of the Keeneland fall meet Oct. 31.
It was the first graded stakes win for the rapidly improving son of Arch, who has now won three of his last four starts for Albert Stall Jr. Blame, a homebred of Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm, entered the 1 1/8-mile Fayette off a solid runner-up finish to Regal Ransom in the Sept. 19 Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs in his graded stakes debut.
Breaking under Jamie Theriot from post 9, Blame was next to last early on and had a wide trip into the first turn. The bay colt settled into position while Tizfiz took the field of eight around in moderate splits of :24.86 and :48.86. Wicked Style pressed the leader through the backstretch, with Parading, sent off as the even-money choice, just off those two while racing alongside Public Speaker.
Wicked Style was the new leader when they hit the quarter-pole, but Parading, who romped in the Ben Ali (gr. III) at Keeneland during the spring meet, swept to the front under Kent Desormeaux at the top of the lane and took a lead into the stretch.
The lead was short-lived however, as Blame had gained ground five-wide around the final turn, got to within striking distance with a furlong remaining, and steamrolled past Parading from the outside approaching the sixteenth-pole. He went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:50.54 on Polytrack.
Parading finished second, a half-length in front of Wicked Style, who held on gamely for third under Robby Albarado.
“I had a perfect trip," Theriot said. "He was nice early, kind and relaxed. He’s a push-button horse. Every time I call on him, he’s there for me. He’s matured with each start, and I really think he’s going to be a nice horse.”
Blame won the Fayette in just the seventh start of his career. He broke his maiden at second asking last fall at Keeneland and won his stakes debut Aug. 2 at Saratoga in the Curlin Stakes.
Bred in Kentucky, Blame is out of Seeking the Gold mare Liable. Now 4-1-2 from his seven tries, he has earned $356,875.
“We have always been kinda high on him since he was a 2-year-old, so we decided to take our time," said Stall's assistant, Glenn Brookfield. "It’s paying off. We’re going to have a solid horse for next year. We’re real happy. We couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.”
The winner paid $6.60, $3.40, and $2.80. The exacta (9-3) returned $15.40, and the trifecta (9-3-7) was $70.20.
The fall meet leaders included, Ken McPeek, who outdistanced his peers to take his first Keeneland training title with 17 wins, including victories in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) with Noble’s Promise and JPMorgan Chase Jessamine with House of Grace.
It was the most wins by a trainer during the fall since the 17 recorded by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in the fall of 1995. Lukas, Keeneland’s all-time leading trainer, holds the fall season record of 22 wins, set in 1989. Todd Pletcher finished second in the standings with six wins.
Jockey Robby Albarado earned his second consecutive fall meet riding title and fourth overall (joining spring 2002 and 2004) with 25 wins. Albarado won two stakes during the fall – the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) with Court Vision and Rood & Riddle Dowager with Black Mamba.
Julien Leparoux ranked second in the standings with 20 wins, while Kent Desormeaux was third with 16 wins.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey accumulated five wins to capture their sixth leading owner title at Keeneland. The Ramseys have previously earned honors in the fall 2008, fall 2007 (tie), spring 2006, spring 2004 (tie) and fall 2002 (tie).
George Strawbridge Jr.’s Augustin Stable and Eugene Melnyk’s Melnyk Racing Stables tied for second with three wins each.