04/15/2015 5:25PM

Night Prowler up in time in Transylvania Stakes

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Night Prowler and jockey Javier Castellano win the Transylvania Stakes by a neck Wednesday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It took the length of the stretch, but Night Prowler finally reeled in the front-running Luck of the Kitten to post a neck victory Wednesday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland.

Only five 3-year-olds started in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, but there seemed sufficient suspense to make up for the short field. Luck of the Kitten, the even-money favorite, was nursed along on the lead by jockey Mike Smith, with Saham pressing him on his outside flank.

Down the stretch, Luck of the Kitten finally inched away from Saham, only to have Night Prowler and jockey Javier Castellano pass them both from the outside in the final stages.

“I kept watching Mike Smith the whole way,” said Castellano. “My horse had a beautiful trip. We were very fortunate today, and we were able to work it out.”

Night Prowler, bred in Kentucky by owner Paul Pompa Jr., returned $5.20 as the second choice after finishing in 1:44.03 over a course rated soft.

Saham was another half-length back in third, with Top of the Page and Majestico rounding out the order of finish. Although 13 were entered for the original running of the Transylvania on April 3, only five were in the starting gate when the race finally was run 12 days later. Seven had been re-entered, but two of those, A Lot and Tuba, were scratched.

New York-based trainer Chad Brown was not on hand but said via text that he would not consider the May 2 American Turf on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs as the next start for Night Prowler.

“It’s back too soon,” said Brown. “We’ll just bring him back East.”

This was the second Grade 3 win of the year for Night Prowler, a chestnut gelding by Giant’s Causeway, following the Dania Beach Stakes on the Gulfstream Park turf in early January.

The $2 exacta (2-1) paid $7.80, and the $1 trifecta (2-1-5) returned $12.50. Superfecta wagering was canceled.

Earlier on the card, Grand Arch ($8.60) made a successful 6-year-old debut when holding off Sky Captain by a neck in a $65,010, classified allowance at a mile on turf. Trainer Brian Lynch said Grand Arch, who finished second to Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile here last fall, would be considered for the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the Derby undercard.

Attendance on a blustery, breezy afternoon was 8,459.