03/03/2012 4:26PM

Tampa Bay: Fort Larned turns tables winning Challenger Stakes

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Tom Cooley
Fort Larned, with Ronnie Allen Jr. riding, wins the Challenger.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Racing close up from the outset under Ronnie Allen Jr., Fort Larned took over the lead in the second turn and then held favored 3-5 shot Wiki at bay through the stretch to post a solid 1 1/4-length victory in the $60,000 Challenger Stakes over 1 1/16 miles.

After running third to Wiki in his last outing in his first start since November, Fort Larned turned the tables Saturday, racing just off the early pacesetter I'm Steppin' It Up, then moving to the fore after six furlongs.

Wiki moved with the winner to challenge into the stretch but couldn't get to Fort Larned through the drive and had to settle for being easily second, nine lengths to the good of Imperial Czar. Watch Me Go was squeezed back at bit early but was not in contention and wound up fourth in the field of five.

Fort Larned covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.93 and returned $14.80. Ian Wilkes trains Fort Larned for owner Janis R. Whitam