06/25/2010 11:00PM

Here Comes Ben points to Spa after win


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Here Comes Ben might well have earned a trip to Saratoga with a flashy victory Friday night at Churchill Downs in a race that moved his 2010 record to 3 for 3.

Trainer Charlie Lopresti said the tentative plan is to run Here Comes Ben in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga on Sept. 4. Ridden by Alex Solis, the 4-year-old colt launched a terrific run to nail Hamazing Destiny in the final yards of the $65,387 Kelly's Landing, an overnight stakes that anchored an 11-race card that drew an ontrack crowd of 26,330.

"I was really, really happy with him," Lopresti said Saturday morning. "He ran another huge race. Solis came back and said he thinks he's a really nice horse, so I think we're going to give him a chance to step up and show us."

The Kelly's Landing was the apex of an eventful program run amid conditions that were hot and humid but not nearly as oppressive as the first two Friday night cards (June 11 and 18) of the meet. A pick six carryover of $114,650 going into the night drew an additional $320,707, but with three favorites and two second choices prevailing during the sequence, each perfect $2 ticket returned just $4,131.

One of those winning second choices was Saratoga Sinner, a 4-year-old who had been gelded since making his most recent start in March. Saratoga Sinner, trained by Eddie Kenneally, had gone winless in eight starts since capturing the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream in January 2009. Saratoga Sinner drew off with Corey Lanerie aboard to win the eighth race, a conditioned $30,000 claiming race at a mile.

"It was good to see him finally get back in the winner's circle," said Kenneally, who soon will ship about 20 horses to Saratoga.

One of the winning favorites came in the 11th and last race, but only with an assist from the Churchill stewards. Raven Hawk, the 11-10 favorite, was elevated to first when Megaholtz, ridden by Corey Nakatani, was deemed guilty of interfering with him as they neared the sixteenth pole. The pick six will-pay on Megaholtz, a 5-1 shot, was just more than $12,000.

Churchill officials continued to express their delight with the youthful and enthusiastic turnout for night racing. The attendance was the biggest for a night card so far this meet, with the milder weather perhaps accounting for the moderate increase over the first two nights, when 25,012 and 24,465 turned out.

The theme for the fourth and final night card this coming Friday, July 2, is "Brew, Boots, and Barbecue."