Updated on 07/28/2012 9:27PM

Penn National: Kyma’s late run takes Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup


Kyma led a parade of longshots in a blanket finish when he posted a 34-1 upset for his first stakes victory Saturday night in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, the highlight of the racing year at Penn National in Grantville, Pa.

Kyma, with Dana Whitney up, closed with a flourish in the five-furlong race to nail a 22-1 shot, Car Thief, in the final strides. Super Chunky also finished strongly to be third at 10-1, while Ben’s Cat, the defending champion and 6-5 favorite in a field of 10 older horses, was prominent throughout before weakening late to be fourth, beaten less than a length by the winner. Neither of the other two horses who drew major play, Great Mills (5-2) and Varsity (3-1), was a factor.

Kyma, a 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred gelding by Belong to Me, is owned by Thomas G. McClay and is locally based with trainer Brandon Kulp. He returned $71.60 after finishing in 56.58 seconds over a firm turf with his fifth win from seven career starts. He earned $120,000, nearly doubling his career bankroll to $241,530.

Ben’s Cat, ridden by Julian Pimentel, was part of a hotly contested pace with three longshots: Jack On the Rocks, Blue Tick Hound, and Car Thief. Passing the furlong pole, Ben’s Cat edged away to a short lead, but then Car Thief surged past him, only to lose in the final 20 yards when Kyma flew past to prevail by a neck.

“The horse is unbelievable,” Kulp said in a brief in-house interview with Penn National host Fred Lipkin.

The exacta (9-10) paid $1,019, the trifecta (9-10-8) was $6,602, and the superfecta (9-10-8-3) returned $29,544.10.

The top finishers can logically be expected back for the next major race in the turf-sprint niche, the Grade 3, $350,000 Monster Handicap at Parx on Sept. 3.

Smart Bid hangs on in East Hanover

One race earlier, Smart Bid ($3) crossed under the wire just in time, finishing a diminishing head in front of a furious late run by See Tobe in the $100,000 East Hanover.

With Jeremy Rose aboard, Smart Bid edged clear in deep stretch and appeared on his way to a clear-cut score as a huge favorite in the 1 1/2-mile turf race, only to have See Tobe nearly nail him. Nonetheless, a win is a win, and it came in Smart Bid’s first try at such a lengthy distance. Carrying high weight of 120 pounds, the 6-year-old horse finished in 2:29.47 in notching his sixth win from 24 career tries and banked $60,000, bringing him to the very threshold of the seven-figure earnings mark with a total of $993,013. He was bred in Pennsylvania by his owner, the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge, Jr.

Trainer Graham Motion said before the East Hanover that the agenda for Smart Bid for the balance of the year would depend largely on how he performed in his first attempt at 12 furlongs.

Mythical Hero finished third, while Freud’s Honor, the 9-2 second choice, was fourth in a field of nine older horses.

* Later Saturday, Toby’s Corner ($6.60) capped a successful night for Motion when drawing off to win the $175,000 Mountainview Handicap by 3 3/4 lengths, marking the first victory for the 4-year-old colt since he won the 2011 Wood Memorial. Rose also was aboard Toby’s Corner, who finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.15 over a fast main track. Isn’t He Perfect was second and Not Abroad was third, while Marilyn’s Guy, the 17-10 favorite, faded to finish last in a field that was reduced to just five starters after three early scratches.