09/16/2009 11:00PM

Gitano Hernando wins in return


Gitano Hernando took a first step on the road to the Breeders' Cup Marathon on Thursday night with a victory in a one-mile, 141-yard conditions race on the Wolverhampton Polytrack.

A son of Hernando owned by Team Valor and trained by Marco Botti, Gitano Hernando was sent off as the 3-1 second choice. He tracked the pace in third under Kieren Fallon and led approaching the eighth pole, going clear to defeat Mia's Boy by two lengths, with Khor Dubai third and the Group 1-placed Cesare fourth, beaten 6 1/4 lengths as the 2-1 favorite.

Gitano Hernando set a track record of 1:46.48 on a course and distance that rarely sees a field of this caliber.

Having now succeeded off a four-month absence since finishing a head second in the Group 3 Dee Stakes, Gitano Hernando is slated to go next in the 1 3/8-mile, Group 3 Diamond Stakes on the Dundalk Polytrack in Ireland on Oct. 2, a Win And You're In event for the Breeders' Cup Marathon.

Last year both the Diamond and the Marathon were won by Muhannak, who finished a dull eighth behind Gitano Hernando Thursday night.