02/26/2007 12:00AM

Corrupt wins Mardi Gras

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Trainer Chris Block turned over Corrupt, the unbeaten 3-year-old colt bred and owned by Block's family, to Fair Grounds-based trainer Jeff Trosclair for the winter, but that didn't stop Block from fretting about Corrupt's start in Monday's Mardi Gras Stakes. Corrupt was ready to run, Block said, but he wondered if the seven-furlong Mardi Gras was too short for this bulky, powerful colt. It was - and it didn't matter.

Corrupt barely had gotten into full stride at the finish of the Mardi Gras, but his remarkable acceleration already had carried him to victory. Several lengths behind at the stretch call, Corrupt closed with a flourish under jockey Robby Albarado and won the $75,000 Mardi Gras by just over two lengths. He paid $4.40 to win, was timed in 1:33.15 over firm going, and now is unbeaten after three starts, all on turf. Royal War Academy, a maiden, edged Awesome Hero for second.

Stretch-out sprinter Follow My Moon set early pace in the Mardi Gras - which was postponed last Tuesday because of a minor fire at the track - causing problems on the first turn when he raced wide. The Mardi Gras pace was sensible, 24.83 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 48.46 to the half, and Corrupt was buried behind horses most of the trip. The leaders briefly got away from Corrupt coming into the stretch, but Albarado wheeled the colt outside, and once clear, Corrupt flew home.