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Oct 31, 2014

Pick of the Litter splits horses in winning Fayette Stakes


Lexington, KY ( - Pick of the Litter, ridden by Corey Lanerie, came off the rail and split horses down the stretch to capture Saturday's $200,000 Fayette Stakes on Keeneland's closing 2014 program.

Owned by Crossed Sabres Farm, Pick of the Litter broke sharply from the inside post in the 1 1/8-mile race. The 4-year-old chestnut colt, trained by Dale Romans, settled into fifth in the eight-horse field.

Taking the lead at the top of the stretch was 2-1 co-favorite Departing with 7-1 Pick of the Litter still along the rail. Lanerie moved his mount off the rail nearing the wire and split Departing and co-favorite Long River.

Pick of the Litter squeezed past his rivals and hit the finish a head in front of Departing with Long River third and Code West fourth.

"I had a great trip. My horse broke really good," Lanerie explained. "My plan was to try to get behind Departing; I thought he was the horse to beat and to try not to let him get out of my sights. I wanted to stay kinda close to him and see what I had turning for home, see if I had enough to go by him or not."

Rounding out the order of finish were Mister Marti Gras, Call Me George, Coltimus Prime and Stephanoatsee.

The time of the Fayette was 1:49.48 on a fast track.

"This horse has always shown in the past that he had the potential to be a really good horse," Lanerie said. "For some reason, it wouldn't just all click at one time. (Trainer) Dale (Romans) and I kept talking, 'We know he's a good horse.' We didn't know why he's just not getting there, but we knew he could do it. Today he put it all together."

Pick of the Litter notched his first career stakes win and pocketed $120,000. The colt has banked $392,662 with five wins and four seconds in 18 lifetime starts.

"He always trained good. We always thought he was a good horse. Dale and I talked about running him in this kind of race, so we gave him a shot," said Baldemar Bahena, assistant to Dale Romans.

The 4-year-old was coming off a fourth in Churchill Downs' Homecoming Classic four weeks ago. In his only other 2014 stakes race he was also fourth in the Monmouth Cup.

Pick of the Litter returned $16.60, $7.00 and $4.20. Departing paid $3.40 and $2.60, and Long River paid $3.00 to show.

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