09/27/2014 5:44PM

Heart to Heart cruises in Jefferson Cup

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Heart to Heart still might have won regardless, but his task in the Grade 3, $110,000 Jefferson Cup sure got easier Saturday when fellow Canadian shipper Speightsland was an early scratch from the one-mile turf race at Churchill Downs.

Left to his own devices on the front end, Heart to Heart easily led six other 3-year-olds wire to wire in posting an eased-up, four-length triumph over a firm course. He paid $3 as the heavy favorite after finishing in 1:34.44.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux and trained by Brian Lynch, Heart to Heart held a comfortable lead down the backstretch before increasing his advantage on the far turn and in upper stretch. Leparoux began gearing down with about 120 yards to go.

Heart to Heart, owned by Terry Hamilton, earned $66,836 and has won four of 11 career starts and $263,325. Bred in Ontario, the son of English Channel was winning a graded stakes for the first time after having won the ungraded Better Talk Now at Saratoga in his prior start last month.

The $2 exacta (3-2) paid $17.80, the $1 trifecta (3-2-1) returned $42.80, and the 10-cent superfecta (3-2-1-6) was worth $27.96.

Speightsland, who also has shown good speed in prior starts, was the lone scratch from an original field of eight.