01/21/2017 4:13PM

Holy Boss romps as odds-on favorite in Duncan Kenner Stakes

Natalie Glyshaw/Hodges Photography
Ricardo Santana Jr. guides Holy Boss to a 5 3/4-length victory in the Duncan Kenner.

NEW ORLEANS – Holy Boss ran well throughout 2016 without finding the winner’s circle, but he started 2017 with a long overdue victory, capturing the $75,000 Duncan Kenner Stakes at Fair Grounds by 5 3/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite.

Ridden to victory by Ricardo Santana Jr. for owner Jerry Durant and trainer Steve Asmussen, Holy Boss  dueled inside Chief Istan through splits of 21.68 and 44.52 seconds before putting his pace rival away and drawing clear. Holy Boss took a 2 1/2-length lead to the stretch call and never came close to being threatened, stopping the timer in 1:10.14 for six furlongs over a muddy, sealed surface. He paid $2.80 to win.

“That’s one of my favorite horses,” said Santana. “I have a lot of confidence in him. It was an easy race for him.”

Chief Istan finished second and was followed home by Bayerd and Clearly Now. Yockey’s Warrior, who would have challenged Holy Boss for favoritism, was scratched, as was Guess Who Charlie.

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Holy Boss, a 5-year-old by Street Boss out of the Holy Bull mare Holy Grace, won for the sixth time in 18 starts, but had not crossed the wire first since the 2015 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga. Holy Boss lost his six races in 2016 while holding his own with some of the country’s best sprinters, and at his peak last year he finished second to A. P. Indian in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga.