11/17/2012 8:09PM

Churchill Downs: Lea hangs on as Commonwealth Turf favorite

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Lea, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., prevails by three-quarters of a length in the Commonwealth Turf.gt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Lea finished clear of a torrid late rush by King David to register his first career stakes victory Saturday night in the ninth running of the Grade 3, $117,100 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs.

With Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, Lea stalked the early pace in the 1 1/16-mile race, then opened a commanding lead passing the furlong pole before King David came flying. The winning margin was three-quarters of a length, with Lockout another length back in third.

Lea, bred and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, returned $7.40 as the slight favorite in a field of 14 colts and geldings. A chestnut colt by First Samurai, he finished in 1:42.27 over firm going.

Trainer Al Stall Jr. said Lea will be sent to South Carolina for the winter, with the primary 2013 goals being the sequence of the Firecracker at Churchill and the Saratoga duo of the Fourstardave and Bernard Baruch.

Julien Leparoux, rider of King David, said he did not have much trouble, but, “it was a 14-horse field, you know? There was some weaving in and out and all that.”