Outrun in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Clark (G1) in his previous two starts, Title Ready enjoyed some welcome class relief in Saturday’s $125,000 Louisiana Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds.
Rating much closer to the leaders in fourth chasing pedestrian fractions, Title Ready was still able to reel in front-runner Blackberry Wine in the final furlong and earned his first career stakes win by 1 1/4 lengths.
Brian Hernandez Jr. guided the 6-year-old Title Ready to victory in a time of 1:44.27 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track. A homebred racing for Charles Fipke and trained by Dallas Stewart, Title Ready paid $13.
Wells Bayou, the 2020 Louisiana Derby (G2) winner making his first start since May, finished third as the 2-1 favorite, and was followed by Sonneman, Silver Prospector, Captivating Moon, and Grand Luwegee.
By More Than Ready and out of Title Seeker, by Monarchos, Title Ready is a half-brother to Grade 3 heroine Seeking the Title, who reared Grade 1 winner Seeking the Soul. Title Ready’s second dam was the undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign.
Previously seven times stakes-placed, including four at graded level, Title Ready now sports a record of 25-5-6-5, $656,680.
In other stakes action on Saturday:
Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes
Logical Myth skimmed the rail down the stretch and drove past long-time leader Big Agenda to capture the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf fixture for older horses contested on firm ground.
The winning margin was 2 1/4 lengths over Big Agenda, who nosed out 2-1 favorite Spectacular Gem for the place.
Owned by JPS Racing and trained by Joe Sharp, Logical Myth paid $8 after Adam Beschizza guided the 5-year-old by Data Link to victory in 1:42.13.
Claimed for $40,000 at Churchill Downs last May, Logical Myth has now won two stakes in a row and five of six over the Fair Grounds turf. He had preceded this score with a 9-1 upset of the Buddy Diliberto Memorial on Dec. 19.
Marie G. Krantz Memorial
Secret Message disappointed as the favorite in her Fair Grounds debut last month, but rebounded with a strong rally down the middle of the course to take the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial under Shaun Bridgmohan.
The 2-1 second choice in a field of eight fillies and mares, Secret Message rallied from near the back in the final quarter-mile to win the 1 1/16-mile grass feature by 1 1/4 lengths from Room to Finish. Pacesetter Jeanie B held third, while 7-5 favorite Dalika finished fifth.
Owned by Spendthrift Farm, who acquired the 6-year-old Hat Trick mare for $625,000 at the Keeneland November sale last fall, Secret Message paid $6.80 after completing the course in 1:42.66 She’s trained by Brad Cox.
Under previous trainer Graham Motion, Secret Message had captured four stakes, including the Nassau (G2), Mint Julep (G3), and Pucker Up (G3). In her final start before her sale at Keeneland, Secret Message had finished third in the E.P. Taylor (G1).
Duncan F. Kenner Stakes
Manny Wah, who had never run on the turf before Saturday’s $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes, proved rather adept over the surface indeed.
Last of seven with a furlong to go, the 5-year-old turned in a tremendous kick under minimal urging to overtake Just Might and Readyforprimetime to win the 5 1/2-furlong dash by 1 1/4 lengths under Miguel Mena. Archidust, the 5-2 favorite, weakened to last.
Owned by Susan Moulton and trained by Wayne Catalano, Manny Wah paid $27.60 after covering the distance in 1:02.38.
This was the first stakes win for the Kentucky-bred son of Will Take Charge, whose nine prior stakes placings included the 2019 Malibu (G1) and Lecomte (G3), and the 2020 edition of the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3).