05/14/2016 4:52PM

He's Taken scores improbable victory in Michael Rowland Memorial Handicap

JJ Zamaiko Photography
Apprentice jockey Ashley Kauffman wins her first career stakes aboard 17-1 outsider He's Taken in the Michael Rowland Memorial Handicap.

It’s easy to see why He’s Taken went off at 17-1, the second-longest shot on the board among eight Ohio-accredited horses in Saturday’s $75,000 Michael Rowland Memorial Handicap at Thistledown.

After 19 starts, the 4-year-old He’s Taken remained eligible for a non-winners-of-three-lifetime allowance condition. He was 0 for 9 at the suburban Cleveland track, 0 for 4 on wet tracks, and was ridden by an apprentice with eight lifetime wins and no previous stakes experience.

None of that mattered, however, as He’s Taken and jockey Ashley Kauffman surged to the front at the top of the stretch, opened up a two-length lead at the eighth pole, and then held off late bids from co-favorite Jac’s Fact and Mound.

He’s Taken ($36.80) prevailed by three-quarters of a length, completing six furlongs over a muddy, sealed track in 1:12.40. A son of Hostile Takeover trained by Jevon Crumley for Crumley Racing Stable, He’s Taken won for the first time since November while making his first start since finishing a distant third in a non-winners-of-three-lifetime allowance sprint at Mahoning Valley. He is now 3 for 20 lifetime.

Jac’s Fact, the 2015 Ohio-bred Horse of the Year, dropped to 0 for 3 in 2016, despite his best performance of the spring in finishing second by a head at 2-1. Mound, returning 13 days after he was beaten nearly 19 lengths in a stakes at Belterra Park, finished third at 7-1, a length in front of 5-2 second choice Eightthehardway.