Bango clings to Kelly’s Landing; Art Collector Finishes Sixth – Horse Racing News

Bango, right, fends off a late run from Mucho to win the Kelly’s Landing Stakes

Tamaroak Partners LLC’s 4-year-old colt Bango trailed leader Strike Power, took the lead from that rival at the top of the stretch, then held off a determined late run from Mucho to win Friday’s 11th race of the 107 $025 Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs by a nose. Last year’s Blue Grass (G2) winner Art Collector, the 6-5 favorite who made his first start of the year, finished in an unthreatening sixth place.

Trained by Greg Foley and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Bango covered seven furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.25 to take his second victory of the competition. Previously, he held off Kelly’s Landing rival Long Range Toddy to win the $150,000 Listed Aristides by a half-length on May 29.

Friday’s triumph was worth $65,640 and bumped Bango’s bankroll to $459,197 with an 18-7-1-1 record. Six of his wins have come in nine starts at Churchill Downs.

“That’s why we get up early in the morning and do our jobs,” Foley said. “It’s worth it when horses like this run as well as they do. Bango loves Churchill Downs. He’s a neat little horse and Tyler gave him a great ride.

Strike Power led the field of nine older horses through the early splits of :22.63 and :45.32 with Bango comfortably third from the outside. At the turn, Bango argued and took a slight lead over the first leader with a furlong to run. The winner put Strike Power on sixteenth pole but a fierce late run from Mucho sparked a photo-finish on the wire.

“There was a bit of speed on the inside, so I just let him settle at the back,” Gaffalione said. “We put ourselves in a great position and I wanted to make sure I got the jump in the closures. He held up well and made a big run.

Bango is a son of Congrats and mare Smart Strike Josaka and was bred in Kentucky by his owners Fred and Debbie Schwartz who campaign under the racing name Tamaroak.

Bango returned $15, $7.40 and $4.60 as the fourth betting choice 6-1. Mucho, at 19-1 odds under Gabriel Saez, returned $14.60 and $7.20 and finished two lengths ahead of Strike Power who paid $3.60 to run under Ricardo Santana Jr. as the third choice 4-1.

Aloha West, the second 3-1 betting pick, finished fourth and was trailed by Home Base, Art Collector, Bourbon Calling, Long Range Toddy and Relentless Dancer.

Kelly’s Landing honors Summerplace Farm racer who earned $1,853,831 with a 10-3-2 record in 27 starts for trainer Eddie Kenneally between 2004 and 2009. The gelding won the six-furlong Aristides Handicap (Grade 3) at Churchill Downs in 2005 by stopping the teletimer in a track record of 1:07.55 (since eclipsed). His biggest victory came during the Dubai Golden Saheen 2007 at Nad Al Sheba in the United Arab Emirates. Kelly’s Landing also won the 2006 Phoenix (G3) at Keeneland and the 2007 Mr. Prospector Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

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Norma D. Ross