10/18/2012 5:21PM

Keeneland: Ex-claimer Kindergarden Kid takes Grade 3 Sycamore

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Kindergarden Kid, ridden by Julien Leparoux, edges Ioya Big Time by a head in the Sycamore.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kindergarden Kid proved another shrewd high-end claim for trainer Mike Maker when getting up in the shadow of the wire Thursday to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Sycamore Stakes on the Keeneland turf.

With Julien Leparoux riding for Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Kindergarden Kid finished a neck in front of Ioya Bigtime, the race-long leader in a field of seven older horses. Miami Deco was third and Rahystrada was fourth.

Kindergarden Kid, a 5-year-old gelding by Dynaformer, returned $8 to win as third choice after completing the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2:31.80 over a firm course.

Musketier, the gray 10-year-old who was making his 50th and final career start, was very dull when running last throughout as a lukewarm 5-2 favorite. The German-bred Musketier finishes with earnings of more than $1.1 million.

Kindergarden Kid was claimed for $50,000 on Aug. 2 at Saratoga. He joins other notables such as Papaw Bodie and King David in winning graded stakes this year after being claimed by Maker. He was making his third start since changing hands.

“I expected him to run his race,” said Maker. “That other horse [Ioya Bigtime] seems to get really brave when he’s out there by himself. I’m very pleased with our horse.”

Ioya Bigtime, the 5-2 second choice with Jeffrey Sanchez, held an open lead virtually the entire way, going in splits of 49.88 seconds, 1:14.48, and 1:40.48 before the others began to bunch behind him. Kindergarden Kid made his way through rivals in the final furlong, getting to within a length or so from Ioya Bigtime with about 70 yards remaining before surging past just in time.

“He was relaxed and he made his run, yes,” said Leparoux. “I knew I had horse.”

Attendance on a mostly sunny and breezy day was 9,601.