Exhi all the way in Ben Ali

Exhi furthered his stature as a Polytrack specialist when returning from a layoff of more than six months to lead all the way Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland.

With Javier Castellano carefully measuring out his speed, Exhi set a steady tempo from the start, turning back Dean's Kitten with a furlong to go in the 1 1/8-mile race to post a 1 3/4-length triumph. He finished in 1:48.14 over Polytrack and returned $3.40 as a heavy choice in a field of five older horses.

"It was one of those rare occasions when things worked out the way you want it," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Exhi for the Wertheimer brothers. "The race shaped up just the way it looked on paper.

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