Old Bushmill Toast of Town in Dixie Poker Ace Stakes

Larry Johnson’s Old Bushmill, void of early foot, launched a bold bid outside rivals when set down for the drive and was up in the late stages to best Red Oak Stable’s front-running Kissimmee Kyle by a half-length at the wire in Saturday’s $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course.

Trained by Morris Nicks, who was saddling his second winner of the day, Old Bushmill was patiently ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, who deferred all the credit to Nicks following the victory.

“All I had to do was keep him out of trouble,” said Bridgmohan. “I just wanted to give him a clear path.”

Old Bushmill, by the Irish-bred sire North Light out of the dam Make Mine a Double, paid $16.80, $6 and $4, toured the about one mile-distance over the firm grass course in 1:37.95, and increased his career earnings to $157,574 with his fourth victory in 10 lifetime starts.

“He had a clean trip,” said Nicks. “That was the whole thing.”

Kissimmee Kyle, who made the pace with splits of 24.92 and 49.91, paid $3.40 and $2.60 as the runner-up, with Brooks, Larson and Fakouri’s Blackntanatlarrys, third under the wire a length farther back, disqualified for interference in the stretch run and placed fifth. 

Charles Zacney and Edward Johnston’s Wildrally, fourth under the wire, was moved up to third and returned $2.60 to show.

Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds with an 11-race program beginning at 12:40 p.m.