05/17/2008 12:00AM

Heros Reward digs in for repeat win


Heros Reward fought back after being passed in the stretch by True to Tradition to edge that rival in Saturday's $100,000 Old Mutual Turf Sprint Stakes at Pimlico, but he had to withstand claims of foul by the jockeys of the runner-up and third-place finisher to keep his narrow victory.

As he moved into close contention entering the far turn, Heros Reward appeared to come over, causing both True to Tradition, who was between horses, and Blue Sailor, who was racing along the rail and who wound up third, to steady. The stewards, however - perhaps compromised by an awkward camera angle at that point in the race - found insufficient reason to disqualify Heros Reward.

Heros Reward scored by a neck over True to Tradition, who was unable to sustain the momentum that briefly carried him past the winner in midstretch. It was a little more than a length farther back to Blue Sailor, with Mr Mutter checking in fourth.

Ridden by Javier Castellano for trainer Dale Capuano, Heros Reward, favored in the expectation that he would improve off a third in the Calder Turf Sprint Handicap in his recent seasonal debut, paid $5.60. A 6-year-old gelding by Partner's Hero, owned by Rob Rye Farm and Jayne Marie Slysz, he covered the five furlongs on turf termed good in 59.19 seconds. Heros Reward also won this race on Preakness Day last year, when it was called the Baltimore City Turf Sprint Stakes. He also won the Nearctic Stakes, a turf sprint at Woodbine, in 2007.