Shug McGaughey had an inkling something like this would happen.
Despite watching Parading carve out a perfectly respectable career on the turf, McGaughey thought if he could get the son of Pulpit on a synthetic track he would really see something special.
As has been the case so often in the legendary trainer's career, McGaughey's gut was proved correct when Parading toyed with his six other rivals during a 71/2-length romp in the Grade III, $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday.
The 6-year-old Parading only recently returned from an 11-month layoff with a second-place finish in a 11⁄16-mile allowance race on the turf at Keeneland on April 4.
The chestnut horse bounced out of that effort in good order and still looked fresh Sunday when he emerged from a three-horse battle for the lead down the backstretch en route to his sixth career victory.
"I watched him breeze at Payson Park before we brought him here and it was kind of a beachy sort of track ... and it went through my head that, 'I bet this son-of-a-gun will like the Polytrack,'" McGaughey said. "I've had this race in the back of my mind since then. I was pleased with his first race back on the grass and he came out of it spectacular.
"I thought he would like it. It was just a matter of if he was good enough to beat these horses."
Despite having to go four-wide on the first turn, Parading had pulled clear by a length as he covered the first half of the 11⁄8-mile race in :47.42.
Former Blue Grass Stakes winner Dominican came up to challenge with about three furlongs remaining but Parading hit another stride on the turn for home and put five lengths of daylight between himself and his rivals in the stretch.
"I went four-wide (on the first turn) and I decided I didn't want to do that again in the second turn," jockey Kent Desormeaux said. "I thought he'd be more comfortable if I just cleared him and he was. Once he got to the lead, he just cruised."
Parading covered the distance in 1:47.82 with 43-1 shot Your Round getting second and 2008 Blue Grass Stakes winner Monba taking third.
"I couldn't ever get into a position I was really comfortable with," said Garrett Gomez, who was aboard Monba. "He actually ran a respectable race."
A variety of physical setbacks have limited Parading to just 16 starts in his career. However, in giving him the time he needed, McGaughey is starting to see the potential he always knew was there.
"We always thought he was a nice horse," McGaughey said. "Hopefully all those physical problems are behind him now. He's won now on both turf and Polytrack so that will help him with his career."