Updated on 09/17/2011 9:58AM

Mountain General best in Taylor's Special

Lou Hodges Jr.
Mountain General ($3.80) beats Speed Hunter by a half-length in the $100,000 Taylor's Special Handicap at Fair Grounds.

NEW ORLEANS - Mountain General ran more than 10 lengths slower than in the Thanksgiving Handicap, but he didn't need a track-record setting performance to win the $100,000 on Sunday at Fair Grounds. Bulling between horses in the stretch, Mountain General used his strong stretch kick to beat Speed Hunter by a half-length.

Doctor Mike closed well on the inside and just missed second, a neck behind Speed Hunter. Mountain General, a heavy favorite owned by Keith Asmussen and trained by Steve Asmussen, paid $3.80 to win.

His time of 1:10.32 for six furlongs was far slower than the track-record 1:08.03 he ran here easily winning the Thanksgiving Day, but at least he won. Mountain General had lost two stakes since his big win in late November, but on Sunday he came onto the track prancing and raced closer to early fractions of 22.26 for a quarter-mile and 45.84 for a half than he normally would.

"He had four weeks between races this time, and that definitely helps," said Scott Blasi, Asmussen's assistant. "He does better with some rest."

Gracie's Dancer set the early pace with Speed Hunter in second, while jockey Corey Lanerie let Mountain General race along the inside. Lanerie waited for a hole to open in the stretch, and when a seam appeared before the furlong pole he steered Mountain General into it, and the gelding came through willingly.