Updated on 09/17/2011 10:14PM

Royal Saint wins Prelude Stakes

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Heavily favored Royal Saint outfinished stubborn pacesetter Key Issues to win Sunday's Prelude Stakes at Harrah's Louisiana Downs. Silver Haze finished third followed by Kilates Kiss.

With an all-fees-paid birth in the Grade 2 Super Derby at stake, Key Issues set pedestrian fractions of :24.39 and :49.13 while under restraint as were the other six 3-year-olds in the mile and a sixteenth test. Royal Saint relaxed nicely for Guy Smith while in the three path and moved to challenge in the second turn. A long stretch drive ensued with Royal Saint ($3.00) proving three quarter lengths the best at the wire in a time of 1:44.17 over a fast track.

Royal Saint is owned by Gary and Mary West Stables and is trained by Cole Norman. The victory was his fourth straight and his first in stakes company. In addition to his free pass to next month?s Super Derby, the Saint Ballado colt picked up $30,000 to increase his career bankroll to just over $75,000.

"He broke decent and he has some natural speed," said Smith following the race. "I just tried to get him to relax off that slow pace. Whenever you push the button on him he gives you what he has got and today he ran a huge race."