Anak Nikal surged ahead of the favorites yesterday to win the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, Pa.
With 13-time Monmouth Park riding champion Joe Bravo in the saddle, the 3-year-old worked his way through traffic on the far turn, switched to the middle of the track in the homestretch and seized the lead within the shadow of the finish line. Anak Nikal covered 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute, 48.99 seconds.
Anak Nikal, who was 16-1 and won for the third time in 10 lifetime starts, finished a neck ahead of Acai, taking home the winner's check for $532,000.
Smooth Air, the 4-1 favorite because of a first-place finish in the Ohio Derby in May, was an additional 1 1/2 lengths behind in third place. West Virginia Derby winner Ready Set never got into gear and finished 11th in the 13-horse field.
Acai was a length in front at the head of the stretch and looked like a sure winner until Anak Nikal collared him in the last 1/16th of a mile of the Grade II race.
RUIDOSO DOWNS: : Stolis Winner won a stretch duel against previously unbeaten Jet Black Patriot to win the $1.9 million All American Futurity at the New Mexico track. Ridden by G.R. Carter, Stolis Winner covered 440 yards in 21.178 seconds. The 2-year-old brown gelding went off as the 9-5 favorite and claimed the winner's share of $1 million for owner Jerry Windham. Stolis Winner prevailed for the seventh time in eight races this year. Jet Black Patriot had won five in a row.
FREEHOLD RACEWAY: : Art Official won the $392,850 Cane Pace, the first leg of the pacing Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, beating Badlands Nitro by a half length in Freehold, N.J. The 3-5 favorite covered 1 mile in 1:51 1/5 . The series continues with the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, on Sept. 18. Art Official has won five straight, a streak that began with the $1 million Meadowlands Pace in July.
SALE: : Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has sold Stonerside Stables to Darley, a breeding company run by Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed. The acquisition of the 2,000-acre farm in Paris, Ky., and the training center in Aiken, S.C., is the latest in a series of aggressive moves by the sheik to gain larger control of the breeding market. Dubai's connection to the thoroughbred industry increased in April when a Dubai company whose leader is a close associate of the sheik announced it was purchasing Fasig-Tipton - North America's oldest thoroughbred auction company.