NEW ORLEANS – Chris Auld’s Jose Castanon-trained Let Us Be Glad took advantage of a pace battle between favorites, pounced with aplomb under Gabriel Saez and ultimately proved victorious in the 37th running of the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes.
Over one mile on the Stall-Wilson turf course, the Louisiana-bred event for older horses saw Valene Farm’s defending champion Hail to the Nile set off quickly for the front under Francisco Torres and was chased by Scrivener Stables’ Trust Factor, the 6-5 favorite, who pressed him from the spring of the latch.
The two set solid fractions of 23.91 seconds for a quarter-mile and 47.80 for a half before being collared by a rallying Let Us Be Glad and passing the three-quarters in 1:12.71. The son of Eskendereya would power on to a 2½-length victory over Trust Factor at the wire, finishing up in 1:37.42. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Royce G. Roberts’ multiple stakes winner Benwill in third.
“He settled, and then when he came around I asked him to really get close up,” Saez said. “We got the job done.”
A $40,000 claim last May, the 5-year-old won for the fifth time in 20 starts and improved his career bankroll to $167,060 with the first-place purse of $36,000.
Let Us Be Glad returned $15.80, $5 and $3.80. Trust Factor returned $3.20 and $2.40, while Benwill rallied well from last to return $3 to show.
Hopeful Notion and Hail to the Nile completed the running order. Grit, Grande Basin and Fort Pulaski were scratched.