05/02/2014 5:53PM

Moonshine Mullin upsets Alysheba; Will Take Charge sixth

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Justin N. Lane
Moonshine Mullin, with Calvin Borel aboard, takes the Alysheba Stakes by a half-length Friday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Moonshine Mullin, beaten in a $25,000 claiming race last summer at Remington Park, became a Grade 2 winner and did it with style Friday at Churchill Downs, digging in gamely to register a half-length decision over Golden Ticket in the $300,000 Alysheba.

Will Take Charge, returning to Churchill Downs for the first time since winning the Grade 1 Clark Handicap in his 3-year-old finale, finished sixth as the 3-5 favorite.

Moonshine Mullin, a 6-year-old son of Albert the Great who ran second as a 3-year-old in the 2011 Jim Dandy, was claimed by trainer Randy Morse for $40,000 for owner Randy Patterson last fall at Remington. Moonshine Mullin lost his next two starts before embarking on a three-race winning streak, with each of those victories coming at Oaklawn Park.

With Calvin Borel aboard on Friday, Moonshine Mullin set the pace along the rail while stalked by Appealing Tale. Moonshine Mullin disposed of that rival nearing the quarter pole but was quickly set upon by Golden Ticket, who stuck his head in front turning for home and appeared ready to pull away to victory. But Moonshine Mullin reasserted himself, got back on even terms with Golden Ticket near the sixteenth marker, and was edging away at the end. Coin Broker raced wide and was best of the others, finishing another 3 3/4 lengths lengths behind Golden Ticket in third. Mylute, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, finished fourth.

Will Take Charge never seemed to get untracked while pinned down near the inside the entire trip. 

“We got into the first turn okay, but I wasn’t happy down inside and he wasn’t happy down inside,” said Gary Stevens, who rode Will Take Charge for the first time in the Alysheba. “I got an opportunity to get him out in the clear at the five-eighths pole, but immediately Rosie came up on the outside of him,  putting pressure on him, and he wasn’t liking it. He just never got into that big, beautiful rhythm we’re used to seeing.”

Moonshine Mullin ran 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:42.83 and paid $15.80.

“His last race was just huge," said Morse. "It wasn’t against this caliber of horses, but he really stepped it up. He’s been doing well, and then we drew the 1 hole, which was a huge plus. He’s been a good horse in the past - he ran second in the Jim Dandy as a 3-year-old. He’s had some class before and he’s finding it back now. The only thing we’ve changed with him is that we’ve started letting him run. We were trying to take a hold of him before. But he’s got a high cruising speed, and letting him just run seems to be working.”

Morse said he has nothing picked out at the moment for Moonshine Mullin’s next start.