10/05/2014 4:48PM

Lawn Ranger scores at 12-1 in Bourbon Stakes

Coady Photography
Chris Landeros guides Lawn Ranger to a half-length victory in the Dixiana Bourbon for 2-year-olds.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lawn Ranger got a great stalking trip behind a pair of longshot front-runners before seizing command approaching the furlong pole and holding sway down the stretch to pull a 12-1 upset Sunday in the Grade 3, $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon Stakes on the Keeneland turf.

With Chris Landeros aboard, Lawn Ranger returned $27.40 as fifth choice in a field of eight 2-year-olds after completing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:44.41 over a firm turf course. Danny Boy finished second, a half-length behind the winner and another half-length before Can’t Happen Here, the 2-1 favorite.

Lawn Ranger, a Kentucky-bred by U S Ranger, is owned by the Turf Stable LLC of Louisville businessman Rusty Jones and trained by Ken McPeek.

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The Bourbon is the seventh of eight Win and You’re In events toward the Breeders’ Cup at the Keeneland fall meet and puts Lawn Ranger in the field for the BC Juvenile Turf.

“It’s a pretty easy decision,” said McPeek.

Thirtysilverpieces and Less Than Perfect led through fractions of 23.26 seconds, 48.17 and 1:14.40, with Lawn Ranger sitting a clear third just behind them. Landeros angled out his mount and put him to a fierce drive after straightening away, and Lawn Ranger had enough left to prevail.

Lawn Ranger was coming off a Sept. 13 maiden win at Kentucky Downs after having finished second to Danny Boy in his career debut, an Aug. 1 maiden race on the Ellis Park turf.

It was the third Bourbon win for McPeek, who previously won with Pineaff (1998) and Rogue Romance (2010). For Landeros, it was his second stakes victory since moving his tack to Kentucky, following the Sept. 24 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash on Dimension.

“It set up just the way I thought,” said Landeros.

After the top three, the order was Majestico, Less Than Perfect, Croninthebarbarian, Chief Kitten, and Thirtysilverpieces. Conquest Tsunami was an early scratch.

The $2 exacta (2-4) paid $119.80, the $1 trifecta (2-4-3) returned $199.50, and the 10-cent superfecta (2-4-3-1) was worth $103.65.