10/08/2016 4:50PM

Trace of Grace scores front-running victory in Plum Pretty

Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo
The 3-year-old filly Trace of Grace, ridden by Edwin Gonzalez, gives trainer Bernie Houghton his second straight win in the Plum Pretty Stakes.

Penn National-based trainer Bernie Houghton brought two horses to run in Saturday’s $100,000 Plum Pretty Stakes at Parx Racing. The most prominent was 5-year-old Bound, who won last year’s Plum Pretty and captured the $121,000 Northern Fling at Presque Isle Downs this summer.

Bound beat just one horse as the 5-2 second choice on Saturday, but Houghton still went home happy after his 3-year-old filly Trace of Grace scored an easy, front-running victory in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares.

Trace of Grace ($10.40), coming off daylight victories in a second-level optional $25,000 claimer and a $25,000 starter allowance, controlled the Plum Pretty from the start. After setting modest fractions of 48.76 seconds and 1:13.14 under jockey Edwin Gonzalez, she led by 1 1/2 lengths. Trace of Grace opened up an eight-length advantage with a furlong remaining and reached the wire 4 1/2 lengths in front of 10-1 longshot Addibel Lightning. The winning time was 1:46.78.

Maybe Tonight, the 2-1 favorite, finished third, a length behind the runner-up. Joshua Navarro, the rider of fourth-place Keystone Kelly, claimed foul against Wilmer Garcia, who rode Maybe Tonight, after having to check turning for home, but the stewards disallowed the objection.

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A daughter of Petitionville owned by WMT Stable, Trace of Grace has now won 5 of 13 starts and $178,678.

Favorite Tale scratched from $90,000 allowance

Favorite Tale, looking to get in a prep before a possible return trip to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, didn’t get to run in Saturday’s $90,000 allowance after he was an early scratch by the track veterinarian.

The 5-year-old Favorite Tale, third in last year’s BC Sprint, has not raced since he had his right knee cleaned out in the spring. He was also scratched from the five-furlong Hall of Fame Stakes at Parx on Sept. 17.

New York shipper Chief Lion ($5.60)  defeated 6-5 favorite Always Sunshine by a head in the six-furlong allowance.