10/27/2012 5:50PM

Keeneland: Newsdad rallies from rear to win Fayette Stakes

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Newsdad, with jockey Julien Leparoux up, wins the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland by two lengths.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Newsdad, unplaced in four turf marathons since April, found a cutback in distance and shift to Polytrack a cure to his form woes, winning Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Fayette Stakes on closing day at Keeneland.

Off a bit awkwardly, jockey Julien Leparoux allowed Newsdad to relax in last early in the 1 1/8-mile Fayette as Take Charge Indy set lively early fractions of 47.98 seconds and 1:11.74 under mild pressure from Salto. Newsdad remained toward the rear for much of the race, before beginning to gain on the pack on the final turn.

Once fanned out in the stretch, Newsdad used his staying power to outkick his opponents, catching Take Charge Indy in the final 70 yards and pulling away by two lengths over Nikki’s Sandcastle, who rallied late to grab the place.

Kenny McCarthy, assistant to winning trainer Bill Mott, thought Newsdad would be closer to the leaders early.

“It was not our game plan going out there to be that far back, to be honest with you,” he said.

Leparoux said the change in tactics was the result of the shift from longer races into a shorter one.

“Usually in mile-and-a-half races they go a lot slower, so he’s a bit more forward,” he said. “But today he was in the back, happy. On the backside, he started picking it up and at the three-eighths pole I knew I had a lot of horse. He came running.”

Leparoux, who this fall notched his ninth riding title at Keeneland, scored his third consecutive victory in the Fayette, the first time a jockey has done so in the 55-year race history. He won the race last year with Wise Dan and in 2010 with that one’s half-brother, Successful Dan.

Newsdad ($19), a 4-year-old son of Arch owned and bred by James Karp, raced 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.24. The Fayette marked his second victory of the year, with the other being the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream on March 24.

Nikki’s Sandcastle, shuffled back a bit in traffic coming into the stretch, ran well in defeat to edge Take Charge Indy by a half-length for second.

Salto, the 3-2 favorite, was another half-length behind Take Charge Indy in fourth.

A crowd of 14,737 was on hand for the meet’s final day, despite cloudy, chilly weather.

* While Leparoux and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey easily topped their respective standings, the race for leading trainer came down to the meet’s final day. And with a three-win day, Wesley Ward finished as leading trainer, edging Mike Maker by a 12-10 margin. This gave Ward a sweep of the two Keeneland meets this year.