BALTIMORE — Before sending Payton d'Oro out to run in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, trainer Larry Jones wondered if his horse had enough talent to win a Grade II race.
The answer became obvious very early.
Payton d'Oro led from start to finish and cruised to a 1¼-length victory Friday in the $150,000 race for 3-year-old fillies. It was the filly's fourth straight win and the first of her career in a graded race.
"I was lucky enough to be on the rail, and I was able to sit until the top of the stretch," jockey Terry Thompson said. "At the top of the stretch, I hit the gas and she give me what she had and run on down through the wire pretty handily."
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Payton d'Oro covered the 11⁄8-mile course in 1:49.75.
Bon Jovi Girl closed well to finish second, ahead of 8-5 favorite Casanova Move and Stage Trick. Combinate, Stone Legacy, Renda and Don't Forget Gil followed.
Payton d'Oro's three previous wins came as the favorite.
"She shows she's learning how to win," Jones said before the race. "Now we'll see what kind of level she can carry it at."
Afterward, Jones was delighted with Payton d'Oro's performance.
"This filly is very talented," he said. "We think she's got a great future."
Desormeaux wins first Jockey Challenge
BALTIMORE — Kent Desormeaux, one of Maryland's all-time leading riders, took home the $14,000 first prize in the inaugural Jockey Challenge Friday at Pimlico. Desormeaux's winning formula was achieved with a victory in the fifth race and thirds in the third and 10th races.
The Hall of Fame jockey's 22 points were enough to edge Javier Castellano (20) in the competition between eight of the best jockeys in the country. Garrett Gomez finished with 18 points.
Julien Leparoux won the finale aboard Avie's Tale in the 10th race on the turf to finish fourth with 17 points, followed by Ramon Dominguez (16), Mario Pino (9), Mike Smith (3) and Rafael Bejarano (3).
"I actually had butterflies going into the starting gate (Race 10)," said Desormeaux, who will ride long shot Tone It Down in Saturday's Preakness. "I've ridden in a lot of these contests around the world, but I've never won one before. It's good to be home with all my friends in Maryland."
'Candyman' favored in Winn
LOUISVILLE — Three-time graded stakes winner Capt. Candyman Can is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Capt. Candyman Can, who was on the Kentucky Derby trail earlier this season, could face a major challenge from unbeaten newcomer Cash Refund.
Capt. Candyman Can comes into the 7-furlong test off an impressive victory in the Grade III Bay Shore at Aqueduct.
But Cash Refund has yet to be tested in his two career starts, which he was won by a combined margin of 13¾ lengths. Cash Refund is the 8-5 second choice in the field of five 3-year-olds.