FLORENCE, Ky., Sept. 24, 2011 Ė Matthewsburg came from off a hot pace in the $100,000 Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3) at Turfway Park Saturday to earn his first graded stakes trophy.
His victory was the fourth of five on the day for trainer Mike Maker, a Turfway Park record, and the fourth on the card for jockey Victor Lebron.
After the first two furlongs of the six-furlong race, Matthewsburg was eighth among the 11 3-year-olds in the race but less than six lengths from the front. He gained steadily, coming outside to be fourth after four furlongs, taking the lead with a furlong to go, and then coming home 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Philippe under strong handling. Matthewsburg drifted a bit before stopping the clock in 1:10.28.
Philippe turned in a gutsy performance, keeping up with the sizzling quarter-mile pace set in :21.96 by Song of Humor and pressing the equally hot :45.13 half-mile pace set by Will's Wildcat. Will's Wildcat faltered slightly and finished third, a head behind Philippe.
"I had a perfect trip," said Lebron. "I rode this horse in his maiden and (in the East Hanover Stakes) at Penn National, where he ran second, so I know him pretty well. He drew off and won pretty easy. He tries to get out a little bit so I let him do what he wants and not take too much of a hold."
Behind Willís Wildcat came Song of Humor, Ronin Dax, the 2-1 favorite Cal Nation, Chilled, Lou Brissie, Big Albert, Unsaddled Glory, and Free Entry.
Matthewsburg was the bettors' sixth choice at 9-1 and returned $20.60, $9.60, and $5.40.
A son of Ghostzapper out of Romantic Comedy, by A. P. Indy, Matthewsburg is owned by Thomas and Matt Conway. He has earned $123,609 in 10 career starts and has three wins and one second.