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Stakes Recap: Mr. Sulu Stakes


Charles Craig Smith’s String King, defending champion in the $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes and a strong odds-on favorite, ruled once again in Saturday’s 6th renewal of the grass test over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course at Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots but was challenged most of the way by Winchester Place Thoroughbreds and Gary Scherer’s 45-1 front-running longshot Tiger Run before outrunning that rival by three-quarters of a length in the late stages.

The Louisiana-bred gelding owned, trained and bred by Smith, is prepping once again for Fair Grounds’ upcoming Louisiana Champions Day onDec. 14, where he has been cross-nominated in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic on the main track as well as the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf.

“He hadn’t run in a little while (Sept.7) and he needed to be tightened up a little bit,” said Smith.  “This race should tighten him up pretty good.”

String King was ridden once again by regular rider James Graham who had earlier captured both ends of the Daily Double to kick off his multi-win afternoon.

“(String King) is inclined to need a race over the course here each season before he comes into his best form,” said Graham

Runner-up rider Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard Tiger Run had strong praise for his own horse’s effort as well.

“My horse ran a great race and settled nicely for me,” said Hernandez.  “It took a good horse to beat us.”

String King, who negotiated the about one-mile distance over a course rated “yielding” in 1:42.16, returned mutuels of $2.60, $$2.40 and $2.10. The $36,000 winner’s share boosted his career bankroll to $575,052.

Tiger Run who set the pace through splits of :25.32 and :50.75, paid $13.60 and $5.60 while Harry Benoit’s Sadies’s Soldier returned $2.60 to show.

Sunwave, Kissimmee Kyle, Patrykus, Midnight Heist, and Michael’s Gabriel completed the order of finish.

Racing returns to Fair Grounds Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. post.