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Marilyn's Guy Hangs On in Excelsior

Marilyn's Guy earned his second career stakes victory Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, holding off a resurgent San Pablo to take the 100th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Excelsior by a neck.

The 6-year-old son of Yonaguska, who came off an 11-month layoff to win the As Indicated overnight stakes at the Big A on February 18, broke alertly and quickly moved up to within a half-length of San Pablo as he led the field of six through an opening quarter-mile in 24.00 seconds and a half in 48.81. Surging to the front with a little more than three-eighths of a mile to go, the big gray gelding opened up by 2 ½ lengths at the top of the stretch, and despite wearying through the final yards, was able to muster just enough to hit the wire in front.

Marilyn's Guy covered the 1 1/8 miles of the Excelsior - the final graded stakes of the Big A's inner track meet - in 1:52.54.

"[At] the very, very end I saw [San Pablo] coming and [Marilyn's guy] just dug down and stuck his big, old neck out there and got the job done," said winning jockey C. C. Lopez. "He got to the eighth pole and he started to give me an indication he may not want to go quite that far, but he's a great horse."

Owned by a partnership led by Michael Dubb, Marilyn's Guy finished second in the Harrison E. Johnson Stakes at Laurel Park last March after being claimed for $50,000 by Dubb, but was sidelined for the rest of 2011 with an injured hock. Returned to training in December, he came back to nose out San Pablo in the one-mile As Indicated for his first stakes win.

"I was impressed and happy with what I saw today," said winning trainer Tony Dutrow. "My biggest concern was coming back in four weeks after such a long layoff. I thought he fit with these horses; I gave him a chance. He looked like he went to the lead at the three-eighths pole with plenty of horse and looked strong in the stretch, then the last sixteenth of a mile he was desperate. Looking ahead, I do want to let him tell us when he's ready. He's accomplished a lot in the last four weeks and I want to give him a little break. But he'll stay in New York."

Sent off at 9-2, Marilyn's Guy returned $11.40 for a $2 win bet and earned $90,000 to lift his bankroll to $375,695. Overall, he is 9-5-2 from 25 starts.

San Pablo finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of Norman Asbjornson, who was followed under the wire by favored Redding Colliery, Inherit the Gold and Birdrun.


 

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