My Frenchman closed strongly for jockey Donald Miller Jr. to win the $57,775 Explorer Handicap at Laurel yesterday.
Miller kept My Frenchman on the outside and close to the lead for the first half-mile of the six-furlong event. At the top of the stretch Miller opened up with the 5-year-old to surge to the front. But Miller was not yet done. As they approached the finish line, Born To Shop, ridden by Robert Colton, staged a late challenge by squeezing up along the rail. But Born To Shop's bid fell short by a nose as My Frenchman went the distance in 1:09 1/5.
"He was quiet in the post parade and I was concerned," said Miller. "I was hanging outside picking them up so quick I didn't want to get stuck inside. He makes it exciting at the finish because he waits on horses."
Trainer James Murphy said My Frenchman would be nominated to the Laurel Dash, which will be raced on Oct. 21.
Also on the day's 14-race card, the double-triple pool rose to its highest amount since April and fans saw simulcasts of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe from Longchamp in Paris and Turf Classic from Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Laurel's double-triple pool rose to $168,585 as patrons were frustrated by outcomes of two maiden-claiming events, the first of which generated a $3,457 triple payoff.