03/20/2010 12:00AM

Plantation wins stretch battle at Laurel


Plantation went head to head with Reckless Runner through the stretch before prevailing by a half-length to improve his record to a perfect 4 for 4 in Saturday's $57,400 Private Terms Stakes for 3-year-olds over a mile at Laurel Park.

Plantation, the second choice in a field of seven, sat about 3 1/2 lengths back in third as Reckless Runner set the early pace through fractions of 23.43 seconds and 46.85. Plantation, ridden by Travis Dunkelberger, advanced two wide on the turn along with Regal Warrior and took up the fight with Reckless Runner entering the stretch.

Reckless Runner dueled with Plantation through the lane, but Plantation proved best. It was 1 1/2 lengths back from Reckless Runner to Regal Warrior in third. Plantation completed the distance in 1:37.18 and returned $5.40.

"We just sat off the pace and hoped they'd run out there a little bit so we didn't get in a speed duel," Dunkelberger said. "He settled good and ran down the lane. He's learned something every race. He's getting better and better and better."

Owned and bred by Nellie Mae Cox and trained by Rodney Jenkins, Plantation, a West Virginia-bred gelding, was making his stakes debut and stretching out to a mile after a pair of vicitories in 6 1/2-furlong restricted allowances at Charles Town. He won his debut at Laurel in a maiden special weight on Nov. 19.

The win boosted Plantation's bankroll to $79,560.