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FLORENCE, KY – A career-best effort two starts back at Turfway Park prompted Nun the Less‘s connections to try him there again in Saturday’s Kubota Kentucky Cup Classic Stakes, and the 7-year-old gelding responded by earning his biggest win to date.
Breaking from the rail as the 2/1 favorite under Walter De La Cruz, Nun the Less took back early while Royal Son and Lanier dueled through opening fractions of :24.56, :48.46, and 1:12.38. Ramping up for a big rally as he raced through the far turn, Nun the Less made his bid in the stretch and drove past a loose Lanier late before crossing in a final time of 1:50.79 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the fast all weather surface.
“My trip worked out good, thanks to God,” said De La Cruz. “Thanks to the trainer, I’ve seen a lot of improvement. I was little concerned about the horse in front of me [Lanier] at the three-eighths, but room opened up and my horse ran him down.”
Lanier was 8 lengths well clear of Midnight Pleasure in third, with the rest of the field similarly strung out behind. Sniper Kitten took fourth over Sir Dudley Digges, with Surgical Strike, a spent Royal Son, and Cooptado completing the order of finish.
Nun the Less’ win was his third in his last six starts, including the Prairie Bayou Stakes here last December while going 1 1/16 miles. The 7-year-old gelded son improved his earnings to $451,603 with a record of 30-8-4-8, including a 5-3-1-1 over synthetic surfaces, for trainer Cipriano Contreras, who co-owns (as Contreras Stable) with Crystal Racing Enterprises.
“It’s a mile and an eighth, so it’s good to sit back, especially when they’re up close together [in the front],” said Contreras. “He got a good trip today. He’s a nice older horse. He looked like he was on a mission when he got [to the leader].”
Nun the Less returned $6.60 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3 to show. Lanier brought back $5.80 to place and $3.40 to show, while Midnight Pleasure paid $4.40 to show.
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