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Optimizer continues ascent in Kent

Optimizer spent the first 12 races of his career as a deep closer on dirt. But something happened in his second time on turf that enabled Optimizer to display early speed he had never before shown.

One start after wiring a group that included older horses in a first-level optional $35,000 claimer at Saratoga, Optimizer used his newfound speed to take Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,625 Kent Stakes for 3-year-olds at Delaware Park.

Optimizer ($8.40), ridden by Jon Court, pressured Excaper throughout the first seven furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Kent. Excaper, ridden by Alex Solis, set contested fractions of 46.99 seconds and 1:10.70 racing on a firm course with the rails 15 feet out. Turning for home, Optimizer pushed past Excaper and drew clear in deep stretch to score by 4 1/4l engths.

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