05/29/2010 11:00PM

Elusive Gift opens Colonial meet with bang

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Elusive Gift came from slightly off the pace to open a 2 1/2-length lead with a furlong remaining, then withstood fast-closing Frisky Thunder to prevail by a neck in Saturday's opening-day feature at Colonial Downs, the $50,000 John D. Marsh Stakes.

The 5-year-old Elusive Gift ($3.20), ridden by Horatio Karamanos for trainer Tony Dutrow, has been first or second in 6 of 10 lifetime starts. In winning the 5 1/2-furlong race for Virginia-breds, Elusive Gift covered the distance on firm turf in 1:02.58.

Frisky Thunder, who won the 2008 Marsh, finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of third-place finisher That'sthequestion. Last year's Marsh winner, Hugo, raced evenly along the inside to finish fourth.

A crowd of 2,638 came out for the earliest opening day in Colonial's 14-year history. Total all-sources handle on the 11-race, all-turf program was $633,253. Jockey Luis Garcia rode three consecutive winners in races 6-8.