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LOUISVILLE, KY – Live Oak Plantation’s homebred March to the Arch waited patiently in upper stretch for an opening, then rallied strongly in deep stretch to sneak through for the 10/1 upset in Saturday’s $250,000 Wise Dan Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 11 under Tyler Gaffalione, March to the Arch settled in midpack and saved ground early while Siem Riep posted opening fractions of :23.34, :46.88, and 1:10.70. Rounding the far turn, Siem Riep still held the lead, but that proved to be short-lived.
First Premio had first run on the pacesetter, but he soon yielded to All Right with a furlong remaining. Behind them, Gaffalione and March to the Arch tipped out and followed Parlor through the crowded group. Gaffalione kept steering March to the Arch further out until he had an unimpeded lane, and that’s when he found his best footing.
Reeling in All Right with every step, the Mark Casse trainee took command inside the shadow of the wire before crossing with a neck advantage in a final time of 1:40.58 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the firm turf course.
“The race set up beautifully,” Gaffalione said. “The speed went ahead and I was able to tuck in going into the first turn, so we were saving ground all around, and I kind of just followed (Parlor) when he started making his move. When I got him outside, he really exploded. He just kicked it into gear.”
Despite getting nailed at the wire, All Right far outran his 71/1 odds as the longest shot on the board, necking out the 2/1 favorite Admission Office for third after the bettors’ choice fought through a poor trip and rallied just a tough too late. Parlor was a head back in fourth behind them, with First Premio unable to hold on for better positioning than fifth. The multiple Group 1-winning Chilean-bred El Picaro didn’t embarass himself in his North American debut, nosing out Hot Springs for sixth. Bourbon Resolution, Cullum Road, Get Western, a spent Siem Riep, Holiday Stone, and a non-firing Itsinthepost completed the order of finish.
Inspector Lynley and Noble Commander were trainer scratches.
March to the Arch’s win was his second of the year, having taken the Turf Classic Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 31, and was his first in a graded effort. The 4-year-old gelded son of Arch improved his record to 13-5-2-1 with $429,514 earned.
“It was just a super ride by Tyler,” said Casse assistant trainer David Carroll. “He saved ground all the way around, swung him out and he kicked hard. What a race. It was only his third start of the year. He ran at Tampa and got beat only five lengths to Bricks and Mortar. Hopefully he’ll have a big year going forward. Not only is Tyler a tremendous rider, he’s a tremendous person. He’s very mature and it shows every time he rides for us.”
March to the Arch returned $23 to win, $12 to place, and $6.80 to show. All Right brought back $61.60 to place and $16.40 to show, while Admission Office paid $3.20 to show.
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