06/11/2010 11:00PM

Blame flies home late to win Foster


Blame overcame a wide post, a moderate pace, and a sizable deficit down the stretch when running down free-wheeling Battle Plan to post a highly impressive victory Saturday in the 29th running of the Grade 1, $671,700 at Churchill Downs.

With Garrett Gomez aboard, Blame launched a blistering rally from mid-pack from midway on the final turn of the 1 1/8-mile Foster to catch Battle Plan in the final 70 yards, prevailing by three quarters of a length. The winner paid $9.80 as second choice in a field of 11 older horses.

"He's full of ability, full of desire," said a jubilant Al Stall Jr., who trains Blame for Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm. "He's a true professional."

On a sweltering summer day when early speed was dominating, Battle Plan, the 19-10 favorite for Overbrook Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher, seemed to have everything going his way - until the final stages. Loped along by Javier Castellano on fractions of 24.50, 48.72, and 1:12.63, he suddenly spurted clear from his closest pursuers after straightening for home, passing the eighth pole with a four-length lead.

But then Blame, who started from the far outside post and was four wide on the final turn, emerged from the pack with his searing run to snatch the victory away. The winner finished in 1:49.37 over a fast track.

"I know he'll keep grinding away," said Gomez. "He just keeps coming and coming at you."

"I was very pleased with the way he did it today," Castellano said of Battle Plan. "Unfortunately we were second best today."

General Quarters, who gave closest chase to Battle Plan most of the way, finished third, another 2 3/4 lengths back, followed by Giant Oak, Demarcation, Arson Squad, A.U. Miner, Duke of Mischief, Honest Man, Macho Again, and No Advantage.

Blame, General Quarters, and Arson Squad carried top weight of 120 pounds, one more than Battle Plan.

Blame, a 4-year-old homebred colt by Arch, now has won 7 of 10 career starts, with the Foster being his fourth straight victory in a graded stakes. He ended his 3-year-old season by defeating older horses here last fall in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap, then began his 2010 campaign with a handy score last month in the Grade 3 Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico. He earned $391,467, lifting his total to $1,068,214.