05/01/2010 11:00PM

Gracie Jane pulls clear in Swihart Memorial


GRAND ISLE, Neb. - Gracie Jane got her biggest career win as she rallied clear in the stretch to score by 2 1/4 lengths in the $26,800 Al Swihart Memorial Stakes on Saturday evening at Fonner Park.

Gracie Jane settled off a hotly contested pace set by 8-5 favorite Miss Missile and local speedster Noble Bandit among others. With Jordan Olesiak riding, Gracie Jane challenged outside Noble Bandit into the far turn of the 6 1/2-furlong race and then dueled that rival into defeat through the final sixteenth of a mile to gain her first career stakes win for trainer Jim Cranwell.

Noble Bandit, on the lead from the start, was a strong second, while Jasper's Valentine checked in third, another 1 1/2 lengths further back. Gracie Jane returned $17.20 as the distant fourth choice in the field of 10. She covered the distance in 1:18.40 over a fast track. Gracie Jane improved her lifetime mark to 5-5-3 from 15 starts, including a runner-up finish in this race last year to Miss Missile.

Miss Missile tired readily from her early efforts to finish ninth.