Oakwood Stable’s Kensington Court opened a yawning lead for much of Saturday’s $25,000 ratings handicap and held on deep in the Colonial Downs stretch to win by a nose over newly imported Querry Horse.
Robert A. Kinsley’s Al, half of a 7-to-5 favored entry, closed ground in the stretch to finish third, two lengths farther back. Mark Buyck’s Aydoun checked in fourth in a field of eight horses rated at 115 or lower.
Trained by Julie Gomena, Kensington Court ran the handicap’s 2¼ miles in 4:01.75 on firm turf. The seven-year-old by Giant’s Causeway went off at 9.90-to-1 and paid $21.80 to win.
Kensington Court, ridden by Kieran Norris, grabbed the lead at the drop of the starter’s flag and went on cruise-control well ahead of his opponents while maintaining a steady gallop. He led by 10 going into the final run down the backstretch and was up by 15 entering the final turn.
His pace slackened on the final turn, and Leipers Fork Steeplechasers’ Querry Horse gradually cut into the leader’s margin. The Leslie Young-trained newcomer, was only 2½ lengths back at the furlong pole and gaining a bit of ground with every stride under Gavin Sheehan.
Al and jockey Jack Doyle closed from the back of the field, but their bid sputtered near the sixteenth pole as 7.90-to-1 Querry Horse drew onto Kensington Court’s withers. Norris went to work to keep his mount moving forward, and they reached the finish line with a couple inches to spare.
In the evening’s opener, Why Not Racing’s Jump Ship sailed to the lead in midstretch and won the $30,000 maiden hurdle by 2¼ lengths.
Trained by Lilith Boucher and ridden by her husband, Richard Boucher, Jump Ship went off as the 3.30-to-1 second betting pick behind Sherry Fenwick’s Anticipating, who finished second.
Nervous at the start, Jump Ship was well back early as Convivial and then All Out of Aces set the pace with 5-to-2 Anticipating right behind them. Anticipating grabbed the lead on the final turn, but Jump Ship made steady progress on the turn and took the lead shortly before the furlong pole.
The seven-year-old Virginia-bred ran the 2¼-mile distance in 4:04.28 and paid $8.60 to win.
Gill Johnston’s Lost Story finished third, and jockey Jack Doyle claimed foul against Anticipating and Darren Nagle. Lost Story was on the inside entering the stretch, and Anticipating lugged in slightly despite Nagle’s left-handed whip.
Doyle pulled Lost Story out of the tight spot and was 2¾ lengths behind Anticipating at the line. Colonial’s stewards disallowed the foul claim.
The coming week’s jump races at Colonial will be run on Friday rather than Saturday as originally scheduled. On tap are a $30,000 maiden hurdle for three- and four-year-olds and a $20,000 ratings handicap for horses pegged at 110 or lower.