10/26/2008 12:00AM

Magna Graduate takes opening-day Ack Ack


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Magna Graduate flaunted his class when overhauling Greeley's Conquest inside the eighth pole and powering away to a 2 1/4-length triumph Sunday in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap, the opening-day highlight at the 26-day Churchill Downs fall meet.

With Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, Magna Graduate stalked the pace from a forward outside position before having the strongest kick in the one-mile Ack Ack. Greeley's Conquest had taken over from Forest Command when cutting the corner for home but was no match for Magna Graduate, a 6-year-old horse owned by Elisabeth Alexander.

Magna Graduate returned $7.20 as second choice after finishing in 1:36.06 over a fast track. Forest Command, the even-money choice, finished another 2 3/4 lengths behind Greeley's Conquest. Then came Cowtown Cat, Coragil Cat, and Forefathers.

Steve Asmussen is the trainer of Magna Graduate, who now has won 10 of 34 starts and earned $66,416 from a total purse of $108,200 to increase his career bankroll to $2,561,237.

The Ack Ack marked the third start for Magna Graduate since he was transferred out of the care of Todd Pletcher, whose biggest win with Magna Graduate came in the 2005 Clark Handicap at Churchill.

Magna Graduate carried topweight of 120 pounds, spotting his opponents two to five pounds.