05/16/2014 1:50PM

Lion D N A rides out quick early pace to win Skipat Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Lion D N A wins the Skipat Stakes by three-quarters of a length Friday at Pimlico.

BALTIMORE – Lion D N A took advantage of a hotly contested early pace to record a three-quarter-length victory in Friday’s $100,000 Skipat Stakes at sloppy Pimlico.

Flattering Bea, who dueled early with Winning Image, finished second by one-half-length over Winning Image, the 8-5 favorite. She’s Ordained finished fourth, followed by Red’s Round Table, who stumbled at the start. The race, originally drawn with nine, had four scratches, including Five Star Momma, Risky Rachel, Merry Meadow, and Munnings Sister.

The win was the ninth from 31 career starts for Lion D N A and fourth from nine starts since being claimed for $35,000 last August by trainer Rudy Rodriguez on behalf of Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith. She also won the Correction Stakes at Aqueduct in February.

Lion D N A was cross-entered in Saturday’s Grade 3 Vagrancy at Belmont Park, but according to Rodriguez, the owners of Lion D N A opted to run in Maryland.

“They thought the race in New York was tougher,” said Rodriguez, who won two of the first five races on Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan card. “Sometimes, you got to listen to the owners.”

Under Joel Rosario and as co-highweight of 124 pounds, Lion D N A sat third early after checking slightly down the backside to avoid frontrunners Flattering Bea and Winning Image, who were moved toward the inside from their outside posts.

Lion D N A was about five lengths behind those dueling leaders through a quarter-mile in 22.92 seconds and a half-mile in 45.84.

Lion D N A was floated wide by She’s Ordained in the upper stretch, but she determinedly continued on through the stretch, wresting the lead about 20 yards from the wire.

Lion D N A, a 5-year-old daughter of Lion Heart, covered six furlongs in 1:11.09 and returned $11.20.

“It took a lot of time to really get her into the race. I was riding her the whole way,” Rosario said. “If I let her drop back, I don’t think I’m going to make it.”