06/26/2017 5:19PM

Pat On the Back holds off Gold for the King in Ontario County Stakes

SV Photography
Pat On the Back, inside, edges Gold for the King to win the Ontario County Stakes.

Gold for the King was 1-5 in the $50,000 Ontario County Stakes at Finger Lakes on Monday, but Pat On the Back must not have gotten the memo and won a stretch-long battle by a head over the favorite.

In fairness, Gold for the King carried 122 pounds and conceded six to Pat On the Back. He also gave up a lot of ground while being fanned wide into the stretch. But take nothing away from Pat On the back, who refused to let Gold for the King pass during the final furlong.

The Ontario  County, a six-furlong race for New York-bred 3-year-olds, matched the winners of last year's top two stakes for 2-year-olds at the track. Last September, Pat On the Back rallied from far back to win the $120,000 Aspirant at six furlongs; he is now 2 for 2 at Finger Lakes. In Gold for the King's lone prior Finger Lakes start, he took down the $219,000 New York Breeders' Futurity at the same distance Oct. 1.

Pat On the Back, a son of Congrats who is trained by Ken McPeek, rewarded jockey Dylan Davis for making the 330-mile trek from Belmont Park to Finger Lakes. Pat On the Back paid $9.20 to win as the second betting choice in the four-horse field.

Runaway Lute, Pat On the Back, and Eddie's Gift lined up on the lead in the Ontario County through an opening quarter-mile in 22.20, while Gold for the King stalked two lengths farther back.

Hold for the King joined the battle four wide on the far turn, and the field swung into the stretch while well out in the track following a half-mile in 45.02.

From there on, it was a two-horse race to the wire, with Pat On the Back holding a short lead with determination.

Pat On the Back, who races for Harold Lerner, AWS Stables, and Nehoc Stables, was a $70,000 buy at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearlings sale. He has now won four of 11 starts and $355,000.