10/20/2016 5:41PM

Renown's nose reaches wire first in Sycamore Stakes

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Renown (4), under Angel Cruz, barely outfinishes Bigger Picture and Bullards Alley in the Sycamore Stakes.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - An affinity for marathons and a liking for wet turf gave Renown the narrow edge he needed on Thursday, as he prevailed by a nose in a three-horse blanket finish to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland.

The Sycamore was the feature on a gray, damp day, and some thunder was rumbling in the distance as the field came down the backstretch the final time in the 1 1/2-mile marathon on a turf course rated soft after heavy rain earlier. Those conditions were fine for Renown ($20.80), who had won three of five previous starts on turf courses rated less than firm, and also three of five at the distance. He had worked his way to fourth, and in the clear on the outside, leaving the far turn, and was stubborn through a long drive. He got up by a nose over a stubborn Bigger Picture on the rail, with Bullards Alley, between horses, beaten a half-length in third.

“I had a perfect trip,” said jockey Angel Cruz, who won his second stakes of the Keeneland fall meet after taking the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes on opening day. “The horse broke all on his own [and settled] … On the far turn, I had so much horse.”

The final time was 2:35.37.

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Renown, a British-bred gelding by Champs Elysees, has now won three stakes in his last four outings for trainer Elizabeth Voss. After winning the Cape Henlopen Stakes on yielding turf in July at Delaware Park, he finished third in the John’s Call – a race named for a popular Grade 1 winner conditioned by Voss’s late father – in August at Saratoga, and then won the Laurel Turf Cup last month in Maryland. The lightly raced 5-year-old Renown has now won 6 of 11 starts overall, and pushed his earnings to $161,500 with the win.

Renown’s win came before an announced crowd of 8,594 on Thursday, with some no doubt braving the weather to chase a hefty pick six carryover of $329,321; more than $1.1 million in new money was added to the pool for the sequence, which included the Sycamore.