12/31/2011 5:43PM

Parx: Heart Butte outbattles Thunder Lord by nose in Auld Lang Syne

Barbara Weidl/Equiphoto
Heart Butte (inside), with Chris De Carlo, noses out Thunder Lord (5), with Victor Santiago aboard, in the Auld Lang Syne.

Heart Butte, a much-improved colt since blinkers were added to his equipment four starts ago, outfought Thunder Lord in deep stretch to collect his fourth straight victory and second consecutive stakes in Saturday’s $75,000 Auld Lang Syne at Parx Racing.

Based in New York with trainer Todd Pletcher, Heart Butte ($9) raced in fourth, a length in front of Maryland shipper Thunder Lord, as 18-1 longshot Hermosillo ran the first six furlongs in 1:12.97. Less than two lengths separated the first six horses as they came into the stretch of the mile-and-70-yard race, but it quickly turned into a two-horse battle between Thunder Lord, ridden by Victor Santiago, and Heart Butte, with Chris DeCarlo aboard. Thunder Lord, stepping up to stakes company following back-to-back wins against maidens and first-level allowance company, stuck his head in front with a furlong remaining, but Heart Butte inched his way to the front inside the sixteenth pole and was all out to prevail by a nose. The winning time over a fast track was 1:42.71.

Since adding blinkers, Heat Butte, a son of Empire Maker owned by Claude Paul, has won 4 of 5 starts. The colt is now 5 for 10 lifetime.

Jimanator, the 5-2 second choice in a field of nine on the basis of his win in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper at Calder last time out, was blocked entering the stretch and had to alter course to the rail. He settled for third, 3 1/2 lengths behind runner-up Thunder Lord.

Not Abroad, coming off a five-length score in the Swatara at Penn National, checked d in fifth as the 7-5 favorite.