Colonial Colony, a 63-1 long shot, edged 3-2 favorite Southern Image by a nose at the wire to win yesterday's $750,000 Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, the 6-year-old son of Pleasant Colony took advantage of a sloppy track to win for the first time since Feb. 1, 2003. Colonial Colony paid $127.20, $22 and $5.40, covering the 11/8 miles in 1 minute 50.4 seconds.
Colonial Colony won for only the fourth time in 29 starts and for the first time in 11 starts at Churchill Downs. The gelding earned $502,665 for owners Lakeside Farms.
"He was going so fast around such good horses that it stunned me," said Walter Bindner, the horse's Churchill Downs-based trainer.
Southern Image, a 4-year-old son of Halo's Image, was unbeaten in his last five starts, three of them Grade I stakes.
Stewards needed only a brief look at the photo finish to declare Colonial Colony the winner.
"I was never confident at all until the photo came in," said Bindner, who won a graded stakes for only the fourth time in his 30-year career.
The strong six-horse field also included multiple graded stakes winners Peace Rules, Perfect Drift and Midway Road and outsider Best Minister.
"Some of the best horses in America," Bindner said.
Southern Image paid $3.40 and $2.60. Perfect Drift, who won the Stephen Foster last year as a 4-year-old, was five lengths back in third and paid $3.40.
Southern Image and Colonial Colony splashed out of the pack in the stretch and Southern Image took a slim lead under Victor Espinoza's hard left-handed whip. Colonial Colony, only hand-urged by Bejarano, made his winning surge in the final strides.
"When I looked to move him, I had a lot of horse," Bejarano said.
The Stephen Foster was the featured race on a full card of graded stakes at Churchill Downs.
It was the second graded win of the day for Bejarano, who also guided Suave to a three-length win over J Town in the $232,400 Grade III Northern Dancer for 3-year-olds.
* OHIO DERBY: Brass Hat rallied down the stretch and beat Illinois Derby winner Pollard's Vision by three lengths in the $350,000 Grade II Ohio Derby at Thistledown.
Brass Hat, a bay gelding trained by William Bradley and ridden by Willie Martinez, covered 11/8 miles in 1:49.5 and paid $44.80, $15.40 and $11.40.
Pollard's Vision returned $5 and $3.80, and California Derby winner Trieste's Honor paid $5 to show.
* BROOKLYN HANDICAP: Seattle Fitz led all the way for a half-length victory in the 116th running of the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at Belmont Park.
Seattle Fitz covered the 11/8 miles in 1:461/5, matching the stakes record for nine furlongs. He shares the record with Formal Gold (1997), Running Stag (1999) and Seeking Daylight (2002).
Dynever, the favorite, finished second of seven in the Grade II stakes race, 23/4 lengths ahead of Newfoundland.