Saturday, March 27, 2010 12:00 AM
By Jennifer Haas Hoyt
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 27, 2010 . . . Exhi added to a very good day for trainer Todd Pletcher with his one-length victory in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes for three-year-olds at Turfway Park Saturday.
Pletcher also won three stakes at Fair Grounds, including the Louisiana Derby (G2) with Mission Impazible, and was third in Turfway's signature race, the Lane's End Stakes (G2), with Connemara.
On a day when speed was holding well, Exhi gained control of the race from Activity Report before completing the half-mile in :47.52, and from there the race was never in doubt. He covered six furlongs in 1:11.58 before cruising home to win the 1 1/16-mile race in :1:44.47 over a fast all-weather track. Lonesome Street, who had to steady going into the first turn, got up for second, while In the Paint was another 4 3/4 lengths back in third. The even-money favorite Positive Split was fourth.
"Everything worked out well," said assistant trainer Michael McCarthy, who was overseeing Pletcher's Kentucky runners while Pletcher was in Dubai with Take the Points. "I thought Russell Baze rode a super race. He followed the instructions perfectly. He kept him quiet leaving the gate and settled him going down the backstretch. I was surprised he made the lead so soon, but he was just the best horse on the day. As for what's next, I don't know."
Fifth and following were Instant Message, Max Silverhammer, Activity Report, and Pathoki.
Exhi, who had recently been second to Tampa Bay Derby winner Odysseus in his season debut at Tampa Bay Downs on February 17, improved his career record to 7-2-2-1 and has now earned $92,788. The son of Maria's Mon was bred by his owners, Werthheimer and Frere.
Exhi returned $19.20, $10.20 and $6.00 as the 8-1 fifth choice. The exacta paid $138.40.