02/28/2015 7:40PM

Tuba scores huge longshot victory in Black Gold

Alexander Barkoff/Hodges Photography
The 63-1 longshot Tuba wins the Black Gold Stakes by a half-length Saturday at Fair Grounds.

When strategizing during the running of a race, jockeys do take into account exactly whom it is they are accounting for. Keep the favorite in your sites. Don’t worry too much about the massive longshots. And maybe that is why the eight jockeys not aboard a 3-year-old named Tuba did not think too much of the horse stealing out to an easy lead in the Black Gold Stakes.

They should have.

Jockey Jose Riquelme urged Tuba to open up as he hit the long Fair Grounds homestretch, and Tuba had enough of a cushion to hold the fast-finishing favorite Another Lemon Drop by a half-length and post a major upset in the $60,000 Black Gold on Saturday at Fair Grounds. The 63-1 shot Tuba paid $129.40 to win for trainer Anne Smith and owner Windy Hill Farm.

Tuba’s odds probably should have been half that. Soundly beaten on dirt last out, he had gone wire to wire in a $30,000 maiden claimer on turf earlier this meet and finished a decent fifth stepping up into allowance competition on turf in his next start. Off splits of 24.31 seconds and 48.65, Tuba ran 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:30.66. It was another 1 1/2 lengths from Another Lemon Drop back to Fly Friendly Sky in third.

By Magna Graduate and out of Sousaphone (thus the name Tuba), Tuba won for just the second time in seven starts while earning nearly three times his career earnings entering Saturday’s race.

Former claimer McGehee’s Mercy wins Dixie Poker Ace

When trainer Corale “Bunky” Richards said Saturday afternoon that McGehee’s Mercy “was improving all the time,” it hardly was an exaggeration.

Claimed by Richards and owner Steve Stumpf two summers ago out of a mere $12,500 maiden claimer, McGehee’s Mercy cleared the maiden ranks, became a solid allowance horse, and on Saturday, won his first stakes, the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace, a turf mile for Louisiana-breds.

Getting a perfect ride from Florent Geroux, McGehee’s Mercy rallied from near the back of the pack to beat Heavy on Themister by 2 1/2 lengths. He paid $20.40 to win and was timed in 1:36.84 on firm turf.  Benwill, the mild 3-1 favorite, finished third.