Bubbler Noses Never Retreat in Marie Krantz Memorial 'Cap

Bubbler burst forth and Never Retreat just missed in the final jump after a hard-fought two-horse stretch duel that was Saturday’s $57,600 Marie Krantz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds.

“Mentally, she had it all together today,” said Peaches Geier of Bubbler, speaking as trainer Bret Calhoun’s valued assistant in winner’s circle ceremonies following the Krantz Memorial. “The other day (when sixth in the Furl Sail Handicap which was her first grass experience Jan. 2) she just lost it.”

Winning jockey Eddie Martin Jr. agreed. “She didn’t handle the turf the other day at all,” said Martin. “Today she beat one of the nicest horses (Never Retreat) on the track.”

However, what was redemption for Bubbler simply added to the frustrations for Never Retreat’s trainer Richie Scherer. “That’s just one more ‘tough beat’ for us,” said Scherer. “We win the last one (the Furl Sail) and get taken down, and then we lose this one by a nose. That’s three seconds in a row now for us.”

Bubbler paid mutuels of $5.20, $2.60 and $2.10, accomplished the 1 1/16-mile distance in the race taken off the Stall-Wilson turf course and run on the main track in 1:45.06 and increased her career earnings to $129,222 with her fourth victory in five career starts.

Never Retreat, more than 15 lengths in front of the third-place finisher, returned $2.10 and $2.10 after finishing a nose back Saturday, coming home first under the wire by a neck in the Furl Sail before being disqualified last time, and finishing second by a half-length in Fair Grounds Blushing K.D. Handicap before that on Nov. 6.

No Use Denying made a mild bid to be best of the others and pay $2.40 in the show spot, while More of the Best made the pace with splits of 24.24 and 48.46 before tiring to fourth.

Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program beginning at 12:40 p.m.