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Breeders Cup 2015

Wildrally Takes Dixie Poker Ace

Fair Grounds Race Course
Photo: CDI
Charles Zacney and Eddie Johnston’s Wildrally, hero of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf two seasons ago, returned to his winning ways in state-bred stakes company at Fair Grounds Saturday with a one-length tally in the featured $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes.


Allowed to settle early under jockey Rosie Napravnik, the Eddie Johnston trainee launched a bold bid when set down for the drive and out-fought favored Kissimmee Kyle, owned by Red Oak Stable, in the drive to the wire.


Wildrally accomplished the about one-mile distance over a Stall-Wilson turf course rated “soft” in 1:40.45, increased his career earnings to $380,065 with his 11th win in 39 lifetime starts and returned mutuels of $10.80, $3.20 and $2.60.


“Eddie (trainer Johnston) said to let him settle and just close,” said winning rider Napravnik. “He loves the turf course here.”


Kissimmee Kyle, never far back, could not stay with the winner in the late stages but gamely held the place, paying $2.60 and $2.10 while finishing a neck in front of Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Hallway.


That rival, void of early foot but winner of last year’s Dixie Poker Ace, improved position steadily in the lane to best the others and return $2.80 in the show spot, while Moran Racing Stable’s Classy Deelites made the pace with splits of 25.04 and 50.60 before tiring to sixth in the stretch run.  



Later on Saturday at the New Orleans oval, Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Cash Refund extended his undefeated streak at Fair Grounds to five wins by withholding a strong challenge by Gold Mark Farm’s Backtalk in the lane to win the $53,000 co-featured eighth race by a neck.


“He showed a lot of guts staying with that horse like that,” said an obviously pleased trainer Steve Margolis after the race of his 5-year-old who won last season’s $75,000 Gaudin Memorial and $105,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at Fair Grounds. “I thought Backtalk had us. Backtalk is a serious horse. He came to us but (Cash Refund) fought back. We’ll probably just wait for the (March 26 $100,000) Kenner now. We’ll let the horse tell us.”


Cash Refund, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., accomplished the three-quarter mile distance in 1:09.34 after establishing early splits of 22.11 and 45.26, paid $3.80, $2.60 and $2.20 and increased his career earnings to $270,399 with his sixth victory in 11 lifetime starts, while Backtalk returned $3.20 and $2.10.


“(Cash Refund) came back with a vengeance,” said winning ride Hernandez.


Oliver Pierce’s Sweetsouthernmoon finished third in the optional claiming sprint, 5 3/4-lengths farther back and paid $2.60 in the show position.  



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