NEW CUMBERLAND, WV – Steve Landers Racing’s even-money favorite Leofric fought gallantly against his Brad Cox stablemate Term of Art for the entire trip on Saturday before edging him at the wire to win the Grade 3, $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes at Mountaineer.
Breaking well from the bookends of the five-horse field, Leofric (under Florent Geroux) and Term of Art (under Julien Leparoux) quickly separated themselves from their foes and ran heads apart through opening splits of :24.25, :48.14, and 1:11.82. Leaving the far turn, Leofric momentarily lost the lead, but he quickly battled back in the stretch, put his head in front at the final furlong pole, and dug in to win by a neck in a final time of 1:42.72 for the 1 1/16-mile main track event.
“He’s just a solid horse,” said Ricky Giannini, Cox’s assistant. “I didn’t think he’d be that sharp out the gate, but Florent and I had talked before the race. There wasn’t a lot of speed, and it set up really well for him.”
Matrooh was able to get up in the final stages and take third, crossing only a length behind. Imperative and Hawaakom completed the order of finish in a field cut in half after Great Emperor, Rated R Superstar, Rocky Tough, and Secret Passage all scratched.
Leofric’s win was his second straight following an allowance score at Prairie Meadows last month and improved his overall record to 11-6-1-2. The 5-year-old son of Candy Ride has bankrolled $457,940, almost all of which has been earned since he was purchased at auction for $100,000 following a 3-year-old season that saw him finish no better than third in three tries.
Leofric returned $4.20 to win and $2.60 to place, while Term of Art paid $5 to place. There was no show betting.