04/09/2010 12:00AM

Karelian beats Court Vision in Maker's Mark


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Karelian got a great forward trip under Julien Leparoux and had plenty in reserve to turn back a sustained run by favored Court Vision and avenge a bitter defeat in the on a sun-splashed Friday afternoon at Keeneland.

Court Vision beat Karelian by a nose in the lone Grade 1 turf race for older males at the 2009 Keeneland fall meet, the Shadwell Turf Mile. This time, however, Karelian proved clearly best, shaking clear on the lead passing the sixteenth pole after Court Vision had pulled almost even.

"He's a little better horse this year," said Rusty Arnold, who trains 8-year-old Karelian for the Green Lantern Stables.

Pictural, a 54-1 shot, set the pace in the 22nd running of the Maker's Mark, with Cherokee Artist and Karelian giving closest pursuit. On the far turn, Karelian got the lead without much effort, and after Court Vision, the 3-2 favorite under Robby Albarado, came running on the outside, Karelian turned him away to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths.

"At every point of the race I thought I had it won," said Albarado. "But we just couldn't get to him."

Karelian returned $7.60 as second choice after finishing in 1:34.33 over a firm turf.

Society's Chairman finished third, another 1 1/2 lengths back, followed by Wesley, Passager, Rogue Victory, Cherokee Artist, and Pictural.

Karelian, a Kentucky-bred gelding by Bertrando, now has won 10 of 21 starts. Last time out, he upset dual Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti by a nose in the $150,000 Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup at Tampa Bay Downs. Karelian earned $180,000 on Friday to push his bankroll to $738,675.

Ontrack attendance was 16,919.