05/08/2007 11:00PM

Guccione takes Blunt Man Handicap


Fairmount Park

Last Saturday's $16,200 Blunt Man Handicap for older horses at six furlongs featured a rematch between Peace and Joy and Mr. Mink, one-two finishers in a money allowance earlier in the meet. The battle between those two favorites lasted only a half-mile, however, as they dueled through fractions of 21.80 seconds and 44.80 before Mr. Mink began to back out turning for home. Peace and Joy continued to lead through the stretch but could not fend off third choice Guccione who rallied to win by a length under Siggy Golibrzuch. Peace and Joy held second by 3 1/2 lengths over Foxie's Brown, while Mr. Mink, the slight 3-2 favorite, finished last of five.

The Blunt Man was the second consecutive win of the meet for Guccione ($6.80), who previously had captured a third-level allowance. Guccione covered the distance over a sloppy track in 1:11.40 and earned an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. Rusty Hellman trained the winner.

* Racing secretary Bobby Pace confirmed Tuesday that the St. Louis Derby, originally scheduled for Aug. 25, will not be renewed this year. The St. Louis Derby, which offered a $250,000 purse last year, was privately funded by Circle C Stables, a locally based racing partnership run by Jeff Cooper and John Kabbendjian. Lawyer Ron captured the St. Louis Derby last August with John McKee riding.

Competition from races such as the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby was thought to have played a role in the decision to cancel the St. Louis Derby. The St. Louis Derby filled a void last year when the Pennsylvania Derby, traditionally run on Labor Day, was canceled due to the construction of a slots casino in the Philadelphia Park grandstand.