08/06/2016 4:19PM

W.B. Smudge bounces back to triumph in Senator Byrd Stakes

Coady Photography
W.B. Smudge, with Corey Lanerie aboard, wins the Senator Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes on Saturday.

W.B. Smudge ran so well winning a Churchill Downs allowance race May 29 some of the start might have been taken out of him when he returned to action July 2 in the Iowa Sprint, where W.B. Smudge could finish only fourth.

But if W.B. Smudge bounced in Iowa, he bounced right back on Saturday at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort, turning away a stern challenge from Wilbo to win the $100,000 Senator Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes by a head.

W. B. Smudge, Corey Lanerie riding for trainer Matt Kordenbrock, contested an opening quarter-mile in 22.24 seconds with Jasizzle, but Jasizzle couldn’t keep up into the far turn, and W.B. Smudge had the lead to himself through a half in 45.08. But he was racing, at most, a couple paths from what appeared to be a very dead rail Saturday when Wilbo ranged up on the outside with all the momentum.

Wilbo, who had finished just ahead of W.B. Smudge in Iowa, edged closer and closer through the final furlong-and-a-half, but W. B. Smudge kept giving and narrowly held on to score.

Rockin On Bye made a late run from the back of the pack to finish third, but was more than three lengths behind Wilbo. Candip, who won the Iowa Sprint, faded to sixth.

W. B. Smudge ran a fast six furlongs in 1:09.86 and was well backed Saturday, paying $7.60 to win.

The 7-year-old gelding, once a claimer, won for the 14th time in 52 starts, and now has earned more than a half-million dollars.

W.B. Smudge is by Grand Reward and out of the Personal Flag mare Beauty Is. He’s owned by Robert O’Hara Jr. and Gwyneth Gower.

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