11/19/2010 7:02PM

Churchill: Ndongo ($5.20) breaks mdn. in 18th start

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Maybe it was the sizable class drop or "blinkers off," but whatever it was, Ndongo finally shook his bridesmaid tag when striding clear to win the 3rd race on the lone night program of the 21-day Churchill fall meet. With apprentice Marcelino Pedroza aboard, the 5yo gelding strode clear to take the $15k mdn.-claiming mile, returning $5.20 as the favorite in a full field and mitigating the frustration of the 7 2nds and 5 3rds he had posted in failing to previously win. Ndongo, by the way, was not claimed for the $15k.

In the 4th race, Philogyny (9-2) and jockey G.Kuntzweiler powered past Sam's Philly in deep stretch to remain unbeaten in 2 starts for the red-hot Al Stall Jr., who is having an unreal fall meet (Blame in the BC Classic . . . 5 of 8 with other starters).

Hard to tell what the crowd count will be tonight, but the lights already are needed in full force, and it's barely past 6 p.m. yet. Seven more to go . . . we'll try to catch up later in the evening.