10/06/2012 4:10PM

Keeneland: Bridgetown delivers as heavy favorite in Woodford

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Getting a savvy ride from Javier Castellano, Bridgetown wore down front-running Great Mills to post a length victory as an odds-on favorite Saturday in the 16th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Woodford Stakes at Keeneland.

Calmly reserved just behind a fast clip while saving ground, Bridgetown angled out for the stretch drive of the 5 1/2-furlong turf race before gradually getting the better of Great Mills. It was another half-length back to Chamberlain Bridge in the field of six older horses.

Bridgetown, a 5-year-old Florida-bred horse by Speightstown, returned $3.40 after finishing in 1:02.55 over a firm course. Bred and owned by Eugene Melnyk and trained by Todd Pletcher, he now has won 9 of 19 career starts and earned $934,700.

“It was a beautiful trip,” said Castellano. “It worked out great for me. He got it done.”

Unlike seven other graded stakes on the opening FallStars Weekend at Keeneland, the Woodford does not carry a  Win and You’re In designation toward the Nov. 2-3 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita – although, as one of the top turf sprinters in North America, Bridgetown is a logical candidate for the BC Turf Sprint. Pletcher was at Belmont Park on Saturday.

Great Mills, the 7-2 third choice, took early inside pressure from 41-1 shot Ginplay before easily shaking him off, but he could not withstand the steady run from Bridgetown. He did continue resolutely to hold off Chamberlain Bridge, the 7-2 second choice, for the place.