11/12/2016 1:59PM

O Dionysus surges to victory in Christopher Elser Memorial

Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO
O Dionysus, with Jevian Toledo aboard, paid $6.80 to win the Christopher Elser Memorial.

O Dionysus scored a sharp victory in the $75,000 Christopher Elser Memorial at Parx Racing on Saturday as the third choice in a five-horse field.

The Elser Memorial is a 6 1/2-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds who have spent at least 90 days in South Carolina. The race is named in honor of sales consignor Kip Elser's son, who in 2004 was murdered by an intruder at a fraternity house at Johns Hopkins University, which he was attending.

O Dionysus is trained by Gary Capuano and races for the Marathon Farms of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos. He paid $6.80 and was timed in 1:18.19.

A son of Bodemeister, O Dionysus broke slowly and took a few jumps to get into stride after having become restless in the gate. He made a quick move nearing the far turn to challenge outside of Hotfoot and The Walk, took the lead nearing the stretch under jockey Jevian Toledo, and then drew off under steady encouragement to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

The Walk, a Belmont Park maiden winner trained by Tom Albertrani, held off even-money favorite Greatbullsoffire by a head for second. Greatbullsoffire, a two-time stakes winner, was unhurried while tracking the leaders to the stretch turn, but lacked the needed closing kick.

O Dionysus is now 2 for 4. He won his maiden at first asking at Laurel Park in August, then was second in a first-level optional-claiming race at Laurel in September. The winner of that race, No Dozing, came back to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

In his most recent start, O Dionysus finished third, beaten three-quarters of a length, over a tiring track listed as good in a one-mile optional-claimer at Laurel.

O Dionysus was first-time Lasix in the Elser Memorial.