"I called that one, didn't I?" trainer Graham Motion said on his cell phone to one of the Bushwood Stables ownership team.
Bushwood's 26-1 shot Jade's Revenge had just captured the Grade III Ben Ali Stakes yesterday at Keeneland by a nose over runner-up Minister's Joy, who had another nose on Mustanfar.
"You could've thrown a blanket over all of them," Mustanfar's trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.
Actually, Motion later admitted, he was teasing because the owners had talked him into running the 4-year-old colt in the Tejano Run Stakes on the Polytrack at Turfway Park March 17.
Jade's Revenge won the Tejano Run, and the Ben Ali, with its quality field of mostly older horses, was the only option until late spring or early summer.
Chatain went off as the 6-5 favorite with Stream Cat and Rathor drawing attention from the crowd of 9,240.
Jade's Revenge raced third before advancing to second after 6 furlongs in the 11/8-mile test. He was ahead of Stream Cat with a furlong to go, then nosed out fast-closing Minister's Joy and Mustanfar.
"Kent rode him beautifully," Motion said of jockey Kent Desormeaux. "I was a little worried because horses really kick hard here, and our horse doesn't have that kind of kick.
"When he made that move (in the upper stretch), I thought it might be tough to get him."
Desormeaux said, "We took it to them at the half, and he was the one who ran them into the ground and sustained at the end."
John Velazquez, who rode Minister's Joy, said the runner-up ran a perfect race. "I guess I just didn't get there in time."
McLaughlin was pleased with Mustanfar.
"I liked the way he ran," the trainer from Lexington said. "He handled the surface well. It's just too bad we got beat by a neck."
Before getting too carried away by winning the Ben Ali, Desormeaux apologized to fans for misjudging the finish line and winding up second in the third race.
"I messed up," he said. "I chose the wrong (finish) line (at the sixteenth pole) to stand up at. ... This (the Ben Ali victory) kind of eases the pain a little bit."
Desormeaux was riding Ms. Sabbatical and was locked in a stretch run with Lear's Princess and Elvis Trujillo. Both jockeys stood up, but Lear's Princess won the gallop to the wire by a nose.
Jade's Revenge has been in the money in 15 of his 18 career starts with five victories. He raised his bankroll to $219,948 with the $93,000 first-place prize.
Jade's Revenge returned $54.20, $22 and $13.40. Minister's Joy paid $13 and $9. Mustanfar was worth $9 to show.
Today at Keeneland
First post: 1:15 p.m.
Feature: Elkhorn Stakes at 5:10