Jim Karp jokes that his perceived intellect rises and falls depending on the result his horses produce.
"I'm stupid when they lose and I'm smart when they win," the longtime owner and breeder said.
On the closing day of Keeneland's Fall Meet, brilliance was the order of the day for Karp as his homebred colt Newsdad shook off an early stumble to put in a huge stretch run, drawing off for a 2-length win over Nikki's Sandcastle and eight others in the Grade II, $150,000 Fayette Stakes on Saturday.
Newsdad got his first graded stakes win last March when he took the Grade II Pan American Stakes over the Gulfstream Park turf. Since then, the 4-year-old son of Arch has run headlong into some stout members of trainer Shug McGaughey's barn, losing three straight to Grade I winner Point of Entry and then ending up fifth to Air Support in the Grade II Bowling Green Stakes at Belmont in September.
Back on the Keeneland Polytrack for the first time since winning an allowance race here in October 2011, Newsdad was next to last through an opening half-mile in :47.98 and was still third from the back coming around the final turn.
The dark bay colt shifted out and made a big six-wide move under meet-leading jockey Julien Leparoux to cover the 11⁄8 miles in 1:48.24 and earn his fifth career win in 20 lifetime outings.
"It was not our game planning going out there to be that far back," said Kenny McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. "Leaving the gate it looked like he stumbled just slightly and then after that ... I thought Julien did a great job on him."
Newsdad's success has been particularly poignant for Karp, who has been involved in the colt's family for three generations. Karp campaigned Newsdad's granddam Sandys Storm and bred his dam Storm Tracer.
"I got these horses when I was about 40 and I'm going to be 70 next month," Karp said. "But this is a big win. This horse came into the race looking great. He just doesn't like a soft track and he's gotten stuck with a few soft tracks. But he loves this Poly."
Grade I winner Take Charge Indy gamely set the early fractions of :24.25 and :47.98 before fading to third in his first start since undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip in his left ankle following a 19th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
"For him to come back like this, he's a great horse and he showed it today," said Calvin Borel, jockey of Take Charge Indy. "This gets him ready now for the (Grade I) Clark Handicap (at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23)."
The Todd Pletcher-trained Salto, sent off as the 3-2 favorite off his 9-length allowance win at Keeneland on Oct. 13, ended up fourth.
The total attendance of 259,710 that showed up during the 17-day exercise was a record for a Keeneland Fall Meet. The previous Fall Meet record was set last year: 250,163 for 17 days of racing.
Total all-sources wagering of $137,981,281.73 was an increase of 7.35 percent compared to last year's Fall Meet while total on-track handle dipped to $18,160,018 this year from $18,876,288 in Fall 2011.
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com.