King Kontie, Jubawithatwist dead-heat in Mercer Mem’l
King Kontie led every step of the way in Friday’s $75,000 Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes. It’s just that in the last jump, he wasn’t alone.
Jubawithatwist mounted a late rally to reel in racelong leader King Kontie, and the two hit the wire together, dead-heating for the win. Running time for the 4 ½-furlong test for two-year-old West Virginia-breds was a sharp 52.02 seconds on a fast main track.
The filly Ran Out of Trainer, a distant second a week ago in the Rachel’s Turn, went off the lukewarm 5-2 favorite when taking on the boys in the Mercer but settled for a distant third in this contest, 6 ½ lengths behind the top pair.
King Kontie, a homebred for Ray Pennington, is trained by Ollie Figgins, III. He won impressively at first asking on the turf at Colonial Downs and had finished third in his only prior dirt try, in the Hickory Tree Stakes at Colonial.
He came out running Friday under jockey Fredy Peltroche, securing a two-length lead after an opening quarter mile in 21.98 seconds. He was still two clear leaving the eighth pole but could not quite seal the deal, splitting the top spot with Jubawithatwist.
Jubawithatwist had also won at first asking, his win coming at Charles Town. He followed that up with a runner-up effort in the HIckory Tree in which he was a half-length ahead of King Kontie. He then finished third in the Timonium Juvenile Stakes.
Jubawithatwist is trained by Kristy Petty for her own KP Racing Stables and was bred by John A. Casey. Under Gustavo Larrosa, he was on the chase throughout, finally reaching even terms as the pair bobbed under the wire.
King Kontie paid $4.20 to win, while Jubawithatwist paid $4.40. The exacta with King Kontie on top paid $8.30; that with Jubawithatwist on top returned $10.00 for a one-dollar wager.
Both horses are now two-for-four in their brief careers. The next logical spot, the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics, is around two turns.
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