12/05/2015 4:57PM

Stallwalkin' Dude prevails in stretch duel to win Claiming Crown Rapid Transit

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Lauren King/Coglianese Photos
Stallwalkin' Dude wins the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit by a neck Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Eleven horses went to post, but in the end, the $110,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit turned out to be a two-horse race with Stallwalkin’ Dude out-finishing the co-favorite Trouble Kid by a neck, the top two separating themselves from the rest of the field in the seven-furlong dash decided over a sloppy track Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

With Javier Castellano aboard, Stallwalkin’ Dude forced the early pace of Newfound Gold, held gamely when joined by Trouble Kid on the turn, and reasserted himself after being briefly headed at midstretch to prove narrowly best at the end. Stallwalkin’ Dude, who finished third before ultimately being placed fourth in the 2014 Rapid Transit, is owned by trainer David Jacobson.

Trouble Kid broke alertly, was taken back off the early leaders by Jose Lezcano, joined the winner on the turn, appeared to stick his head in front inside the eighth pole, but was not quite good enough while racing beyond 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time in his 10-race career. Rockinn On Bye finished another 3 3/4 lengths farther back in third while never threatening the top pair.

Stallwalkin’ Dude completed the distance over a sloppy track in 1:22.34 and paid $6.40.

“I thought Trouble Kid would dictate the pace, and I don’t know for what reason – maybe he didn’t break – I didn’t see him so I ended up with the lead,” said Castellano. “My horse broke well, he put me in good position, and I rode with a lot of confidence because I see he had run six times on a sloppy track and won four races. David Jacobson did a great job with the horse. He told me something I needed to do today, and it worked out great. I don’t know if the other horse [Trouble Kid] likes to go that far, but my horse is a game horse. When he saw the other horse, he drove back to the lead. He never gave up.”