02/20/2016 5:31PM

Cinco Charlie uses speed to dominate Duncan Kenner

Alexander Barkoff/Hodges Photography
Florent Geroux guides Cinco Charlie to a front-running 2 3/4-length win in the Duncan Kenner.

NEW ORLEANS – There were some sprinters with speed in the $60,000 Duncan Kenner Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds, but Cinco Charlie made them look positively sluggish. Breaking on top from post 1, Cinco Charlie had opened a 3 1/2- length lead by the time he had run a quarter-mile, and over a racetrack carrying front-runners Saturday, the Kenner was over.

Cinco Charlie set splits of 21.8 seconds0, 45.01, and 56.70 on the way to a final six-furlong time of 1:09.39, and no one ever got close to him. He was ahead by more than two lengths turning for home, and as Florent Geroux guided his mount right up against the rail, staying busy in the saddle, Cinco Charlie won by 2 3/4 lengths, clocking a strong 1:09.39 over a fast surface.

He led a parade, too, running positions barely changing during the race, with Vigorous Titan second all the way and Officer Griffin third. Cinco Charlie, the second choice, paid $5.80 to win.

“He’s just really fast,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Cinco Charlie for Corrine and Bill Heiligbrodt. “It’s good to see him win again. He’s a nice horse. He should have a huge year.”

This was Cinco Charlie’s second start of his 4-year-old season. He took a heartbreaking loss in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens last June, and didn’t start again until Jan. 15, when he finished sixth as the favorite in an Oaklawn Park allowance race. 

“I don’t think he liked Oaklawn. He didn’t run early, as much pace as he has,” said Asmussen.

The Count Fleet at Oaklawn would be a natural target for Cinco Charlie, but his race over the track last month could preclude a start there, though Asmussen didn’t rule out going back to Arkansas..

Cinco Charlie, by Indian Charlie out of the Marquetry mare Ten Halos, won for the eighth time in 14 starts, and has won five of seven at six furlongs. He was bred in Kentucky by Candyland Farm. 

Clearly Now, the even-money favorite, broke last and finished last in a disappointing performance.

“He was bad in the gate, trying to savage the guy, and he broke like he always does, and I thought on the turn he’d come with his run, but turning for home he didn’t give me anything,” said jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. “I didn’t beat him up. He’ll live to fight another day.”