12/22/2012 5:00PM

Fair Grounds: Strike Impact takes advantage of stalking trip in Diliberto

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Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan wins the Diliberto on Strike Impact. Bridgmohan was critical of his previous ride on the horse.

NEW ORLEANS - A better trip made all the difference for Strike Impact, and the gelding raced to a one-length victory over late-running Hotep in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap on Saturday at the Fair Grounds.

Strike Impact ran in tight traffic along the inside in his previous start Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs and finished sixth. But in the Diliberto, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan put him in a comfortable, stalking position behind pacesetter Workin for Hops until the horses turned into the stretch.

The fractions were slow – 25.16 seconds for the first quarter and 51.34 for the half. In the stretch, Strike Impact powered to the lead, and he had plenty of energy left to hold off the closers. Dubious Miss finished third, a neck behind Hotep, in a field of seven older horses.

“I just wanted to get him a better trip than I did last time,’’ Bridgmohan said. “I kind of got in his way.”

Strike Impact ran about a mile and a sixteenth on firm turf in 1:46.38 and paid $19.40 to win.

“He’s been training good ever since he’s been here, breezed good,” said trainer Pat Dupuy, who is co-owner with Chester Miller. “He’s a nice horse.’’

The victory was the 18th in 69 starts for Strike Impact, whom the owners acquired in a $25,000 claim in 2009. Dupuy said that if Strike Impact continues to thrive, he’ll be nominated for future stakes at the Fair Grounds. “He’s getting a little long in the tooth, but he doesn’t act like it,” Dupuy said.