05/02/2009 12:00AM

Accredit duels, then draws clear

Barbara D. Livingston
Accredit and Julien Leparoux grab a 1 3/4-length victory in the Churchill Downs Stakes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A March claim by Ken and Sarah Ramsey returned quick dividends Saturday when Accredit, ridden by Julien Leparoux, led most of the way to capture the 75th running of the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Claimed for $75,000 from a March 11 race at Aqueduct, Accredit was making his second start for the Ramseys and trainer Mike Maker on Saturday when he took down a $166,954 winner's share from a $280,550 purse. A 4-year-old E. Dubai colt, Accredit finished seven furlongs in 1:23.24 over a sealed sloppy track, returning $10.60 as third choice in a field of nine older horses.

My Pal Charlie rallied from well back to be second, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner and another 1 1/4 lengths before The Roundhouse. Kodiak Kowboy, the 8-5 favorite off his win in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap, was never a serious factor when seventh.

Accredit dueled to the inside of Hewitts until late in the turn, where he spurted clear, never to be seriously challenged thereafter.

"He loved the off track," said Leparoux. "I guess this worked out to be a perfect day for him. Every time a horse made a run and I asked him to run, he was there for me."

Accredit had raced once since the claim, finishing third in the April 10 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park. The colt now has 6 wins and 5 seconds from 16 career starts.

The Ramseys are the perennial leading owners on the Kentucky circuit and team frequently with Maker and Leparoux to win everyday races at Churchill.