LEXINGTON, KY – Radar Racing’s Rated R Superstar made a bold bid in the far turn before rocketing off down the stretch to take Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland.
Breaking from post 5 under Javier Castellano, Rated R Superstar spotted the field 10 lengths early while the favored Chip Leader led through splits of :24.22, :48.19, and 1:12.77. Commencing his move heading into the far turn, Rated R Superstar swung out very wide to pass several foes, hitting the top of the stretch in full stride. Set down for the drive, the Kenny McPeek trainee chased down Chip Leader, catching him in the final 1/16 before clearing away late to win by 2 lengths in a final time of 1:49.31 for the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
“I had a lot of confidence,” Castellano said. “We (McPeek and I) spoke before the race. I knew there wasn’t a lot of speed in the race – the only speed was the favorite. I’m very impressed the way he did it today. It was a slow pace and he still finished really good. I liked the way he moved turning for home, and he won very easy.”
Though no match for the winner, Chip Leader was much the best of the rest, finishing 5 1/2 lengths ahead of Guest Suite. Fourth went to Giuseppe the Great, with Aurora Way, Hollywood Handsome, and Rafting completing the order of finish.
Rated R Superstar’s win was his second career stakes score and his first since the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes at Gulfstream Park on July 2, 2016. The 5-year-old gelded son of Kodiak Kowboy now carries a record of 24-5-5-5 with earnings of $492,154.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Paul Parker (managing partner for owner Radar Racing),” said McPeek. “We’ve been working together with (him) since he was a 2-year-old; there were times we had to wait on him a little bit. His running style was kind of problematic. He actually won a nice stakes as a 3-year-old. Paul lets us do what we have to do. It’s a lot of fun to do this for a great group of people.”
Rated R Superstar returned $14.60 to win, $5 to place, and $3.40 to show. Chip Leader brought back $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show, while Guest Suite paid $3.80 to show.