03/14/2012 8:46PM

Portland Meadows: Swiss Exploit scores in Route Claiming Series finals


Favored Swiss Exploit ($6.40) seized command on the far turn and edged clear under a confident Javier Matias to win the $25,000 Portland Meadows Route Claiming Series Starter Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths Wednesday.

Earning $10,000 for owner-trainer David P. Runyon, Swiss Exploit proved clearly best in the culmination of the track's popular three-race series which began Feb. 1 with 27 entrants.

Gaining a stalking position from the 11 post in the field of 12, Matias and the 5-year-old Swiss Yodeler gelding got a nice tow into the race from expected pacesetter Castle Pines. The pace was strong in the 1 1/4-mile event as the leader got a half-mile in 47.69 seconds and six furlongs in 1:12.63 over the sloppy course. Undeterred and handling conditions well, Swiss Exploit pulled Matias to the front and held sway thereafter.

General Joe rallied steadily through the stretch without threatening Swiss Exploit to gain second and earn $4,250. Tribute to Sissy, the race's lone female, who was ignored in the wagering at 91-1, stayed on from last place to garner third. The 45-1 longshot Watch Your Money also closed ground to nab fourth and complete a $2,469.10 dime superfecta.

All 12 runners had to run in all three legs of the series and earn sufficient points to qualify for the 10-furlong Starter Stakes. The first two legs were claiming races for $2,500 and $4,000 claimers respectively.

Swiss Exploit covered the distance in 2:07.53. The Starter Stakes was the feature event on the track's Winter Meet closing-day card.