Master Merion tees up on field in Franklin-Simpson

Master Merion tees up on field in Franklin-Simpson
Photo: Reed Palmer Photography
Master Merion teed up on the field in the co-featured $200,000 Franklin-Simpson for 3-year-olds, swooping from last to out-finish Secretary At War for a two-length victory. Pacesetting Holiday Stone hung on for third, followed by All Right, Kitten’s Cat, Benefactor, Siem Riep and favored Sonic Boom — who put the most pressure on Holiday Stone before stopping badly. 
Master Merion is co-owned by Vivienne Day and Kate Rose, the wife of star golfer Justin Rose. That’s the latest horse with trainer Wesley Ward connected to a prominent professional athlete.
It was Master Merion’s stakes debut. But the gelding has been ultra-consistent, coming into the race with a 2-4-1 mark in seven starts. The gelded son of Quality Road had shown almost all speed in his earlier races, but he had no problem with today's change in tactics.
“I’m very lucky,” said jockey Julio Garcia, earning his second stakes victory of the meet for Ward, following Ultima D in the Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies. “I knew there was a lot of speed. I said, I’ll come from behind and see what happens. And I win.”
Said Ward: “He’s got a beautiful mind. Hopefully he’s just going to keep going and have another big year next year as a 4-year-old. There was a little question whether he’d like the soft going, but he answered that today. Julio rode him beautifully. Our plan was to get him back. He had a little difficulty at first. He kind of threw his head up, then he got him to sit back and settle. And when he got him out, he cruised on by ’em. We’re really excited, especially with new owners. We’re excited to get Justin and his wife involved. Hopefully they get more horses and have many more winners.”
Master Merion covered seven furlongs in 1:27.95, paying $13.20 to win. Secretary At War weaved through traffic to take second while racing the shortest distance of his young life.
“I was back. I tell you, cutting back in distance with my little horse, they might have found a new dimension in coming from off the pace that way,” said Robby Albarado, who rode Secretary At War for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. “Settled nice and finished big. Wesley Ward has a nice horse there.”
Source: Kentucky Downs

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