06/09/2001 12:00AM

Churchill Downs: Indygo shines

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Indygo Shiner, making his turf debut, held off all challengers to capture the $282,500, Grade 3 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Lonnie Meche, Indygo Shiner grabbed a short early lead in the 1 1/8-mile turf race and had to scrap throughout to post a neck victory over Strategic Partner. Indygo Shiner returned $15.80 as fourth choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds.

Fast City, a maiden, finished third at 65-1. Kalu, the 7-5 favorite off three straight victories, faded to fourth after being one of several horses to make a serious run at Indygo Shiner. Then came X Country, Monsieur Cat, Afternoon Pleasure, Bundy Rum, and Tarzan Cry.

Indygo Shiner, an A.P. Indy colt trained by Elliott Walden, was making his sixth career start but first on grass. He also was equipped with blinkers for the first time.

With his mild upset, which was his third career victory and first in a stakes, Indygo Shiner becomes a prime candidate for the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Aug. 18. He finished in 1:48.81 over a firm turf.

Harrisand, scheduled to make his United States debut for trainer Bobby Frankel, was scratched after dumping Jon Court in the post parade and running off.