06/22/2013 8:47PM

Colonial Turf Cup: London Lane connects at 50-1

Coady Photography
Horatio Karamanos brings home London Lane to the biggest victory of his career in the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup.

London Lane, the longest shot in an eight-horse field, came rolling down the center of the track under Horacio Karamanos to post a $102.60 shocker in the Grade 2, $300,000 Colonial Turf Cup on Saturday night at Colonial Downs.

At 50-1, London Lane was nearly double the price of the next-longest shot in the 1 3/16-mile grass race, but he didn’t run like it. Second-last at the top of the stretch, London Lane came seven paths wide during the stretch run to get up by three-quarters of a length over Hyper, who had rallied from last to briefly lead the final furlong. Strangest of all, the front-runners all collapsed despite an early pace that was moderate at most.

It’s fair to say it was a career night for London Lane, a 6-year-old gelding bred by Sondra and Howard Bender and owned by Howard Bender: The $174,600 winner’s share of the purse was roughly $24,000 more than London Lane had earned during a 21-start career prior to Saturday. London Lane ran a couple strong races last year, and trainer Lawrence Murray fitted the Maryland-bred gelding with blinkers three starts before the Turf Cup, but it was hard to see this victory coming.

No one really wanted the early lead, with Swift Warrior on top by default through fractions of 24.57 seconds, 49.04, and 1:12.83 for the first six furlongs, and perhaps it was that quick third quarter-mile that enervated anyone anywhere near the front end. That included Air Support, the second choice who was hung wide on both turns while pressing the pace, and to a lesser extent Atigun, the surprising 3-2 favorite who stalked from the inside before getting shuffled back and caught in traffic past the five-sixteenths pole. Swift Warrior stayed on stoutly and just missed Hyper for the place, but London Lane, all 50-1 of him, had rushed past before anyone could counter. His winning time on firm turf was 1:55.94.

All Along: Channel Lady proves best

The night’s other graded stakes, the Grade 3, $100,000 All Along Stakes, was much more formful on top, with Channel Lady scoring a convincing one-length win under Javier Castellano. Trained by Todd Pletcher for owners Jake Pletcher and James Scatuorchio, Channel Lady was, surprisingly, not favored, going off as the 9-5 second choice behind 7-5 favorite Appealing Cat, paying $5.60 to win.

Channel Lady looked strong on paper in the All Along, having faced some of the top female turf horses in the country this year, and she got an assist from jockey Javier Castellano, who perfectly timed a mid-stretch move between horses, sending Channel Lady to a clear lead that she held over onrushing longshot Idle Talk. Idle Talk was two lengths better than Clare Skies Ahead, with Appealing Cat checking in fifth after a perfect pressing trip.

Channel Lady, a 4-year-old daughter of English Channel, was timed in 1:50.34 for 1 1/8 miles while winning for the fifth time in 10 starts.

Pletcher and Castellano also teamed up to win the $50,000 Da Hoss with heavily favored Hudson Steele, who had to dig in to hold off an inside rally by Hoofit. Hudson Steele ($3.40), racing for the first time since July, was up for the challenge, winning by a neck,