09/21/2013 9:30PM

Charles Town: Take It Like a Man excels in sloppy Researcher

Coady Photography
Take It Like a Man, with Luis Saez aboard, earns his first stakes victory in the $400,000 Researcher for 3-year-olds.

All eight of Take It Like a Man’s previous starts on dirt came on fast tracks. Since he trains at Keeneland, where the main track is Polytrack, Take It Like a Man had never even trained in the mud.

Take It Like a Man’s inexperience with running in the slop hardly showed Saturday night at Charles Town, where he came from slightly off a swift pace to score a surprise victory in the $400,000 Researcher for 3-year-olds.

With Luis Saez aboard for the first time, Take It Like a Man ($16.20) got an ideal trip. On a night when early speed was dominant, Mongolian Saturday and Whiskey Romeo fought hard trying to shake clear, but wound up dueling each other into defeat. Whiskey Romeo dropped out of it first, leaving Mongolian Saturday, the fourth-place finisher in this summer’s Ohio Derby, clearly in front.

But Take It Like a Man was in close stalking position, surged to the front, and drove clear to the finish to win by 1 1/4 lengths, completing seven furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:26.27. Mongolian Saturday held second, with Bond Vigilante rallying to get third as the 9-5 favorite.

"I didn't want him to be in the back and have to catch a lot of mud, but when the pace was going quick on the front end I thought we'd have a good shot," said winning trainer Kellyn Gorder.

It was the first stakes victory for Take It Like a Man, a son of Run Away and Hide trained by Kellyn Gorder for Lynn and Lola Cash. Gorder elected to scratch Take It Like a Man from Saturday’s $300,000 Gallant Bob at Parx in favor of the Researcher.

Take It Like a Man is now 6 for 12 lifetime. In his only previous stakes appearance, he finished sixth of 10 in the Coach Jimmie Lee, a seven-furlong race on Polytrack at Arlington.