10/30/2009 11:00PM

Blame overtakes Parading in Fayette


The rapidly improving 3-year-old colt Blame got his first graded stakes victory on Saturday by running down the favorite in deep stretch in the Grade 2 at Keeneland.

Sent off as the 2-1 second choice, Blame won ($6.60) by 1 1/4 lengths over Parading, the even-money favorite in the field of eight. With Jamie Theriot aboard, Blame ran the 1 1/8 miles over Keeneland's Polytrack surface in 1:50.54. Wicked Style was third.

The only 3-year-old in the field, Blame came into the $150,000 Fayette off a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Super Derby on Sept. 19 at Louisiana Downs. Prior to that race, he had won the restricted Curlin Stakes at Saratoga over a good course. All three of his most recent races have been at 1 1/8 miles.

Glenn Brookfield, the assistant to trainer Albert Stall, said after the race that the barn had expected Blame to blossom late in his 3-year-old year, and that they expect the horse to get stronger as a 4-year-old. Brookfield frequently exercises Blame in the morning.

"When you get on him, he really feels like a great horse," Brookfield said. "He's a push-button horse, and you can feel that when he's underneath you."

Bred and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Blame is a son of Arch, who won the Fayette Stakes in 1998, when Keeneland's main track was a dirt surface. Arch went on to win the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs later that year, and Brookfield said that Blame may also be pointed toward the Grade 2 Clark, scheduled for Nov. 27.

Blame's win came on the last say of Keeneland's fall meet. Attendance on an overcast, sometimes chilly day was 8,871, an extraordinarily small crowd for a Saturday. However, the University of Kentucky's football team was scheduled to play its homecoming game on Saturday night, and Halloween festivities also likely dampened attendance.

The early pace in the Fayette was set by Tizfiz, who led through an early first-quarter fraction of 24.68 seconds while trying to hold off an eager Wicked Style. Parading trailed those two as they set a half-mile fraction of 48.86. As Tizfiz began to falter entering the stretch after six furlongs in 1:13.40, Parading snatched the lead but was collared 100 yards from the wire by the hard-charging Blame.

"I had the perfect trip," Theriot said. "I knew they were going slow up front, but it doesn't matter how slow you go on the front end on this surface. It really favors the come-from-behind types, and that's this horse."

Giant Oak and Medjool were scratched.