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Hallway Defeats 'Wheat' by a Whisker in Dixie Poker Ace
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Hallway and odds-on favorite Desert Wheat both launched late bids in the stretch run of Saturday’s $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes at Fair Grounds, but it was the overlooked Hallway, trained by Eclipse-Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen and ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, who proved best by a nose at the wire.
“He’s a horse that tries pretty hard all the time,” said Bridgmohan of Hallway after posting his second win of the afternoon. “His last race was his first time out in quite a while and he got a little tired, but this time when that other horse came to him he just dug in a little harder at the wire.”
Hallway, coupled in the wagering with Heiligbrodt’s Snug, who finished third, paid $12.60, $4.20 and $4.80, while Desert Wheat split the two entrymates to return $2.20 and $2.10, with Snug a length and a half behind Desert Wheat.
“It took me a minute to get him over to his right lead,” said jockey Corey Lanerie about his near miss with Desert Wheat. “Once I did that he leveled off and we just got there a jump too late.”
Hallway accomplished the mile and 40-yard distance of the Dixie Poker Ace, taken off the turf and run on the fast main track, in 1:39.99. The son of Graeme Hall increased his career earnings to $327,617 with his fifth win in 28 career starts.
“He’s run well for us on dirt before,” said Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s assistant trainer, in post-race comments.
Nowandforevermore made the pace with early splits of 23.75 and 47.91 in the Dixie Poker Ace before weakening to finish fourth.
Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program beginning at 12:30 p.m.