07/03/2010 12:00AM

Danzon wins a tight one in Locust Grove


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Danzon recouped a big chunk of her recent purchase price on Saturday, dealing Happiness Is and jockey Greta Kuntzweiler a wicked beat in the at Churchill Downs.

Danzon, claimed from her last start for $80,000 by owner Alfred Nuckols Jr., rallied farthest outside under Alex Solis to take the one-mile turf race by perhaps an inch in a five-horse photo finish. Happiness Is, a 48-1 shot, had desperately clung to the lead until the final stride, disappointing Kuntzweiler, who was seeking her first victory since returning from a layoff of nearly five years.

Danzon, a 7-year-old mare by Royal Academy, earned $67,721 and returned $14.80 as third choice in a field of 11 fillies and mares. She finished in 1:37.02 over a firm course.

Danzon was squeezed back at the start and then resumed her customary spot near the back. War Tigress set a solid pace and was pressed by Happiness Is and several others. Danzon came running in the center of the course to notch her 10th win from 29 career starts. She will head to Saratoga next, said trainer Jimmy Baker.

C.S. Silk finished third, a neck behind the top pair, with Acoma, the 7-5 favorite, another nose back in fourth. Keertana, the 5-2 second choice, was another nose back in fifth.

Kuntzweiler, who recently returned to the saddle after battling substance-abuse and personal problems, smiled philosophically about barely missing out on a graded stakes as her first win back. "I knew it was really close," she said. "I just wish we'd have gotten there."