05/21/2016 6:41PM

Takeover Target up in time in Dixie Stakes

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Michael Amoruso
Takeover Target, under Joel Rosario, rallies to win the Dixie Stakes by a neck Saturday.

BALTIMORE – Takeover Target was last for much of the 1 1/16-mile Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on Saturday, but when set down by jockey Joel Rosario in upper stretch, he delivered a furious closing charge to overtake Ring Weekend by a neck at the wire of the Grade 2 turf race.

Takeover Target, trained by Chad Brown, was making his fourth career start over a grass course listed as less than firm. He had won his career debut over a yielding course at Belmont Park in the fall of 2014, won the Grade 3 Hill Prince over a soft Belmont course last fall, and finished second over yielding turf in his most recent start, the Danger's Hour Stakes at Aqueduct in April.

Takeover Target did not have the smoothest of trips in the $250,000 Dixie. He raced wide into the clubhouse turn, then bumped with Prince Gagarin while beginning to advance at the quarter pole. His late run down the center of the course was timed just right.

Takeover Target, the 7-2 third choice, paid $9 to win. He was timed over the "good" course in 1:44.76. The Dixie was run in light rain.

Runner-up Ring Weekend ran a remarkable race while making his first start since winning the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March 2015. He was carried wide into the first turn by 2-1 favorite Grand Arch. He settled just off the pace, came four wide into the stretch, then dug in with determination to outfinish Grand Arch by a half-length. Ring Weekend held the lead until the closing yards before being overtaken by the winner.

Trainer Graham Motion was pleased with his performance.

"He had a foot abscess; he's had a very tough time of it," Motion said. "I'm thrilled by how he ran. He's a very good horse."

It was a head back from third-place Grand Arch to Captain Dixie.

The pacesetting El Kabeir tired to finish seventh in the eight-horse field. Za Approval, who raced close to the pace to the stretch, tired to finish last.