Keeneland: Centre Court takes Jenny Wiley Stakes

awincze@herald-leader.comApril 13, 2013 

With defending race winner Daisy Devine on the verge of claiming her second career Grade I victory, Centre Court came roaring forward to earn her first.

One race before Julien Leparoux won the headline Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, he guided Rusty Arnold-trained Centre Court to a 2-length triumph in the Grade I, $300,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes.

The Jenny Wiley was one of four graded stakes on the Blue Grass undercard.

Sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the 11⁄16-mile turf test off the strength of her season-opening victory in the Grade II Honey Fox at Gulfstream Park in March, Centre Court tracked pacesetter and 2012 Jenny Wiley winner Daisy Devine through fractions of :23.99 and :48.08.

Daisy Devine opened up by nearly 5 lengths through the second turn but was reeled in by her improving rival who hit the wire in 1:41.73 over a course rated firm.

Madison Stakes

Last Full Measure came with a huge run down the middle of the track, held off a late rally from Byrama and then survived a claim of foul to earn her first graded stakes score from 11 career starts in the Grade I, $300,000 Madison Stakes.

The win also marked the first career Grade I win for trainer Philip Oliver, who brought 17-1 shot Last Full Measure into the race off a ninth-place run in the Grade III Hillsborough Stakes in March.

Joel Rosario, jockey of runner-up Byrama, lodged a claim of foul against Corey Nakatani aboard the winner for alleged interference at the head of the lane, but stewards let the order stand. After rating off a half-mile in :45.23, Last Full Measure collared Jamaican Smoke in midstretch en route to covering the 7 furlongs on the main track in 1:23.32.

Commonwealth Stakes

Following a racelong duel, Handsome Mike outfought Gantry in the lane to bring his five-race losing skid to an end with a 11/4-length victory in the Grade III Commonwealth Stakes, going 7 furlongs over the main track.

The Doug O'Neill-trainee notched his first victory since taking the Grade II Pennsylvania Derby last September and was cutting back to a sprint distance for the first time since breaking his maiden going 61/2 furlongs in October 2011. After setting early fractions of :23.22 and :46.31 with Gantry prompting him to his inside, 7-2 pick Handsome Mike yielded the lead to Gantry in midstretch before coming back about 10 strides in front of the wire to cover the distance in 1:23.14.

Gantry held for second with Candyman E third.

Shakertown Stakes

A gutsy move by jockey Garrett Gomez to angle Havelock toward the hedge proved a winning one as the duo prevailed in a five-horse blanket finish to take the Grade III Shakertown Stakes going 51/2 furlongs on the turf.

Next to last in the nine-horse field coming into the lane, Havelock dove to the inside and was part of a wild finish that saw the top five separated by about half a length. Sent off at odds of 8-1 for trainer Darrin Miller, the 6-year-old Great Notion gelding hit the wire in 1:03.02, winning by a nose over runner-up Something Extra with Perfect Officer a head back in third.

Havelock, who was making his first start since November, had previously won the Grade III Hanshin at Arlington Park last May.

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.

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