Updated on 09/17/2011 10:32AM

Dr. Brendler's win one for the little guy

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Dr. Brendler had no problem handling the soft turf in his Citgo Dixie Stakes victory.

BALTIMORE - Francis O'Toole, a Washington D.C. attorney who lives in McLean, Va., has a small breeding operation, but he hit the big time on Saturday.

O'Toole's homebred horse Dr. Brendler found the soggy turf conditions in Saturday's $200,000 just to his liking. He rallied under Ramon Dominguez to win the Grade 2 Dixie by a half-length over a stubborn Perfect Soul on the Preakness Stakes card at chilly Pimlico.

"I'm a small breeder," O'Toole said as he stood in the winner's circle following the race. "I have one mare here and one in Ireland."

Lady of Vision - O'Toole's United States-based mare - was bred to Distant View six years ago. Dr. Brendler, the result of that mating, was born in Maryland, first raced in Great Britain, but was repatriated after he bled in a race there.

Dr. Brendler, 5, had been an "underachiever," according to trainer Graham Motion, but he chose the right day to run the best race of his life.

"I know we were taking a big shot, but he seems to do well in this type of weather, and he likes soft ground," Motion said. "He's a really classy horse."

The victory was only the fifth in 26 starts for Dr. Brendler. He earned $120,000, just shy of the $155,069 he had earned in his previous 25 starts combined. He had won a third-level allowance race on the Keeneland turf in his last start.

Dr. Brendler ($39.40), the longest shot in the race, was timed in 1:57.78 for 1 1/8 miles on a turf course rated soft.

There were four scratches - Blue Steller, Dr. Kashkinow, Sarafan and Statement - from the original field of 10, owing to the soggy ground. Del Mar Show, who finished second in last year's Dixie, was sent off the 4-5 favorite. On a softened course, he led through fractions of 27.30 seconds, 53.21, and 1:18.66 for the first six furlongs. But he tired in the final furlong and finished fourth. Sardaukar was third.

"It's like quicksand," said Jerry Bailey, who rode Del Mar Show. "The harder he tried, the deeper he went."