01/16/2016 4:21PM

Never Gone South alters tactics to take Frank Whiteley Stakes

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
The 3-year-old Never Gone South gives jockey Trevor McCarthy his third win of the card in the Frank Whiteley Stakes.

A change in tactics and a slow pace enabled odds-on favorite Never Gone South to dominate Saturday’s $75,000 Frank Whiteley Jr. Stakes for 3-year-olds at Laurel Park.

Second best when stalking the pace in each of his last two starts, Never Gone South ($3.20) was sent to the front in the seven-furlong Whiteley by jockey Trevor McCarthy and was a length in front through modest fractions of 24.14 and 47.91 seconds. Never Gone South, trained by Cathal Lynch, opened up in the stretch and coasted home 7 1/4 lengths in front, completing the distance on a track rated “good” in 1:23.92.

It was the third win in five starts and second stakes score for Never Gone South, a son of Munnings owned by M M G Racing Stable. It was also the third win on the card for McCarthy.

Marengo Road, cutting back to a sprint after a poor performance in the Grade 2 Remsen going 1 1/18 miles, pressed the pace throughout and was a clear second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the previously unbeaten Henry the King. Henry the King’s chances were compromised when he broke a step slow and had to check off the heels of Huntin’theholidays in the early stages, dropping back to last in the field of five.

Karen’s Silk scores in Marshua

Karen’s Silk, who would have been a longshot if she had stayed in New York to run in Sunday’s Grade 3 Ruthless, capitalized on a speed duel to capture the $75,000 Marshua Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Karen’s Silk ($8), ridden for the first time by Jevian Toledo, stalked 1-2 favorite Lost Raven and Charles Town shipper Aye a Song through fractions of 23.15 and 47.11 seconds. Karen’s Silk drew even at the eighth pole and edged away to score by 1 1/4 lengths, completing six furlongs in 1:12.53.

Lost Raven, who was also cross-entered in the Ruthless, was second, 2 1/4 lengths clear of Aye a Song in the field of five.

Sonny Inspired surprises in Fire Plug

Sonny Inspired, reunited with Jevian Toledo and re-equipped with blinkers after two sub-par performances, snapped a seven-race losing streak with an off-the-pace score in the $75,000 Fire Plug Stakes for older sprinters.

The 5-year-old Sonny Inspired ($27.40), whose last victory came in February in a third-level optional claimer, launched a four-wide bid from fourth on the turn of the six-furlong Fire Plug and defeated 2-1 co-second choice Majestic Hussar by 1 3/4 lengths. Beach Hut, also 2-1, finished third. Jake N Elwood was fifth of sixth as the 8-5 favorite.

In winning for the fifth time in 27 starts for trainer Phil Schoenthal and owner D. Hatman Thoroughbreds, Sonny Inspired ran the distance in 1:10.95.