09/05/2016 8:04PM

Royal Warrior closes fast to win Speed to Spare


Royal Warrior trailed the field early before finishing with a rush to win the $75,000 Speed to Spare on Monday at Northlands Park. He paid $8.30 for his 3 3/4-length win over heavily favored Blue Dancer in the 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up.

Leading rider Rico Walcott let Royal Warrior bide his time at the back of the pack while Blue Dancer was being pressured by Royal Grand and Aces Again through a half-mile in 48.21 seconds. Royal Warrior was still last when Blue Dancer opened up a two-length lead at the six-furlong mark, but Royal Warrior started an eye-catching move just past the three-eighths pole. It looked like he was going to blow past Blue Dancer on the stretch turn, but Blue Dancer fought back gamely before tiring in the last sixteenth of a mile. Royal Grand finished 10 1/2 lengths back in third.

The final time was 2:20.16.

Royal Warrior is trained by David Nicholson and is owned by Frank Bodell.

It was the first stakes win for the son of Majestic Warrior.

Walcott also rode Xtreme Lyra who paid $81.40 for his win over the 1-9 favorite Fall At Last in the $48,000 Birdcatcher Stakes for 2-year-old males.

Extreme Lyra was the second choice in the wagering in the 6 1/2-furlong dash, and it looked like Fall At Last was home and cooled out when he opened up a six-length lead after a half-mile in 46.21. Fall At Last was 4 1/2 lengths clear at the top of the stretch but started to noticeably tire. Extreme Lyra made a determined move on the second turn and continued it in the stretch to run down the leader late. The final margin was a neck. Gru looked like a threat midstretch but hung late to finish third.

The final time was 1:21.15.

Xtreme Lyra is trained by Twylla Bensmiller. The Kentucky-bred son of Eskendereya is owned by Ted Graling.

Ruffenuff paid $2.40 for her easy 12 1/4-length win over Tidal Mist in the $48,700 Bird of Pay Stakes for 2-year-olds fillies. Surging Star stumbled badly just after the start and finished last in the three-horse field.

Ruffenuff dueled with Tidal Mist through a half-mile in 46.42 before drawing away to win the 6 1/2-furlong race decisively.

The final time was 1:20.53.

The daughter of Dialed In is trained by Greg Tracy and is owned by Curtis Landry and Red Diamond Stable. In her only other start, she won the $55,000 Princess Margaret by 6 3/4 lengths.