05/30/2011 8:21PM

Mountaineer: Ex-claimer Kingofthebluegrass comes back quickly to take Memorial Day Handicap

Ethel Riser/Mountaineer Photos
kingofthebluegrass holds off a late rush by favored Flamin' Hot to take the Memorial Day Hanidicap.

Kingofthebluegrass, who was racing for a $16,000 claiming tag a little more than a month ago, won for the second time within a week and for the first time in a stakes when he upset Monday’s $75,000 Memorial Day Handicap at Mountaineer Racetrack.

A 4-year-old colt who has been training at Keeneland with trainer Tevis McCauley, Kingofthebluegrass ($15.80) shipped to Mountaineer to win a second-level allowance going a mile and 70 yards on dirt on May 24, then came right back to make just his second lifetime start on turf.

Ridden for the first time by Oriana Rossi, Kingofthebluegrass was seventh after a half-mile in 47.19 seconds. He moved into contention with a five-wide move into the far turn, opened up by a length with a furlong remaining, and had just enough left to hold off fast-closing Flamin’ Hot, the 3-2 favorite under New York jockey Alan Garcia, by a neck.

The winning time for a mile on a turf course rated firm was 1:35.82.

Flamin’ Hot, who had to go eight wide into the stretch, finished 1 1/2  lengths clear of 46-1 longshot Sneakin’ Through.

Thunderestimate, making his first start in nearly four years after winning the $100,000 Cab Calloway division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Saratoga, led for a quarter-mile, but stopped badly after six furlongs and was eased without finishing the course.

In the companion $75,000 Decoration Day Handicap for fillies and mares, heavy favorite Kiss Mine ($4.20) had to work hard to hold off Ansong by a half-length.

The 5-year-old Kiss Mine, taking a distinct class drop after four consecutive races against Grade 2 and Grade 3 company, is now 3 for 3 shipping into Mountaineer for turf stakes. She won the West Virginia Presidents and Summer Finale last year.

Ridden by Willie Martinez for trainer David Vance, Kiss Mine sat in third behind an early duel between Morekissesforpatti and War Tigress. Kiss Mine made a three-wide move to challenge with about 3 ½ furlongs remaining, gained a clear advantage in midstretch, and then had to battle to hold off Anson, a 13-1 outsider. Spring Party, who scratched out of last Saturday’s Grade 3 Arlington Matron in favor of this spot, finished third, a half-length behind Ansong.

Kiss Mine, now 9 for 30 lifetime, ran the mile on turf in 1:35.35.