04/29/2017 4:06PM

Rivers Run Deep wins Babst/Palacios Memorial Handicap for third time

Coady Photography
Rivers Run Deep provides jockey Albin Jimenez with his third win of the card after winning the six-furlong Edward Babst/Alberto Palacios Memorial Handicap in a quick 1:08.75.

Mo Dont No is the reigning Ohio-bred Horse of the Year, but Rivers Run Deep is the best Ohio-bred sprinter.

There’s no question about that fact after Rivers Run Deep easily defeated Mo Dont No in their rematch Saturday at Beterra Park in Cincinnati in the $75,000 Edward Babst/Alberto Palacios Memorial Handicap.

Despite spotting his younger rival nine pounds while carrying a career-high 129 pounds, the 6-year-old Rivers Run Deep ($3.80) was much the best in winning the six-furlong Babst/Palacios for the third straight year. He completed the distance over a muddy, sealed track in 1:08.75, slightly slower than his winning of time of 1:08.44 a year ago. It was also the third win on the card for jockey Albin Jimenez.

Mo Dont No’s uncoupled stablemate, Dubacious, was quickest out of the gate in Saturday’s feature, setting fractions of 22.45 seconds for the first quarter-mile. Rivers Run Deep, making his second start of the season following a third-place finish in an allowance at Oaklawn Park three weeks ago, spurted clear at the quarter pole, with the half-mile in 45.17. At the top of the stretch, and Jimenez looked back, anticipating a challenge from Mo Dont No, the only horse with a realistic chance at catching the leader.

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Mo Dont No, making his 4-year-old debut and first start since November, surged from third to draw into contention turning for home, but couldn’t sustain his momentum in the stretch as Rivers Run Deep widened his advantage in the final furlong to win by six lengths. Mo Dont No, runner-up to Rivers Run Deep when they met over a sloppy track last August at Thistledown, had to settle for second again. La Nina Bronca, a 6-year-old mare facing males for just the second time in her 14-race career, checked in third at 38-1, two lengths behind the runner-up and a neck in front of Lime and Tequila.

A son of Ready’s Image trained by Chris Hartman for James and Ywachetta Driver, Rivers Run Deep is now 17 for 33 with a bankroll of $959,940.