10/30/2009 11:00PM

Peppi Knows takes Juvenile by a head


Peppi Knows remained undefeated on dirt when he outfought 15-1 longshot Vital Argument to prevail by a head in Saturday's $50,000 Finger Lakes Juvenile Stakes.

Based at Penn National, where he was 2 for 2 before sustaining his first loss when he finished third in the $100,000 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs, Peppi Knows went head to head with Vital Argument through the last quarter-mile of the six-furlong race and just held on.

Ridden by his regular Penn National jockey, Luis Belmonte, Peppi Knows ran the six furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:11.86.

It was the first career stakes victory for locally based trainer Sam Keyrouze, who saddled Peppi Knows for owner Philip Messina.

"This is a good friend of mine's horse," Keyrouze said. "I feel lucky to have saddled the horse here."

For Belmonte, it was his fifth career stakes win, but his first since 1997.

Vital Argument, who won his career debut by more than 13 lengths in a maiden claimer, was 5 1/2 lengths clear of the third-place finisher, the 4-5 favorite El Rocco.