BALTIMORE,MD 05-16-09 --Phipps Stable’s Parading launched a strong stretch drive over the Pimlico turf to capture the108th running of the $150,000 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico.
The historic Dixie, a Grade 2 fixture at Old Hilltop, attracted 11 older runners for a nine-furlong test over the firm going. Parading left the starting gate as the 2-1 favorite under jockey Kent Desormeaux for trainer Shug McGaughey. The 6-year-old son of Pulpit was never further back than fourth before launching a three-wide bid for the lead around the far turn. He reached the front with an eighth of a mile remaining and drove to the finish under a hand ride to win by a half-length over Just As Well. A rallying Wesley, who got off to a poor start, recovered to finish third, another1 ¼ lengths back..
Parading paid $6.60 after running the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.28. The chestnut horse came into the Dixie off a seven-length victory in Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland, also under jockey Desormeaux.
Dixie Handicap Quotes
Robbie Medina, assistant to winning trainer Shug McGaughey, Parading – “It worked out perfect. There didn’t seem like there was a lot of speed and he would be on the lead. But it worked out where a couple horses wanted to go and he could just sit off him. He can do that just as well. He’s finally sound. He’s had a lot of injuries and bad luck, but he’s always been a horse we thought would be a star. We just had to wait until he was 6.”
Kent Desormeaux, winning jockey, Parading – “He’s not explosive. He’s not a typical European turn-of-foot horse. But he’s got stamina for days. It worked out real well today. When I squeezed him coming home, he laid down his body and drove to the wire.”
Jim Bergen, assistant to trainer Jonathan Sheppard, Just As Well, 2nd – “Julien (Leparoux) said he bobbled a little bit down the stretch, but he ran great. The wire came too soon, but I couldn’t be happier.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey, Just As Well, 2nd – “He bobbled at the eighth-pole, but we were clear and he finished up strong.”
Mark Hennig, trainer, Wesley, 3rd – “I would have liked to have had a better start and certainly a better stretch run. He was ready, and we thought he was going to run a great race. Unfortunately, the trouble cost him the first two spots.”
Alan Garcia, jockey, Wesley, 3rd – “He broke like he was asleep in the gate. Then, around the turn, I finally got him ready to run and, when I tried to go through the hole in front of me, the horse on the rail came out and closed the hole. I had to take up and go around.”