07/22/2017 4:56PM

Wilbo catches Manhattan Mischief in Don Bernhardt

Coady Photography
Wilbo returned $4.40 as the favorite in the Don Bernhardt at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Corey Lanerie worked out another good trip on Wilbo, helping the 5-year-old gelding to edge a stubborn Manhattan Mischief for a half-length victory Saturday in the 40th running of the $50,000 Don Bernhardt at Ellis Park in western Kentucky.

Trained by Chris Hartman for owner Chris Wilkins, Wilbo returned $4.40 as favorite in a field of nine older horses after completing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.96 over a fast track.

Manhattan Mischief took sole command leaving the quarter-pole, but just could not hold off Wilbo, who now has won 7 of 20 starts and more than $330,000.

“It took us a while to get past the 10-horse (Manhattan Mischief), but in the end he proved the best horse,” said Lanerie, who won a May 12 allowance at Churchill Downs with Wilbo in similar ground-saving fashion.

Breaking from the inside post, Wilbo was kept just a couple of lengths behind the leaders as Lanerie subtly moved him off the rail for running room leaving the half-mile pole. Lanerie then found a seam between horses at a critical juncture and put his mount to a steady drive to prevail.

“He’s a fun horse to ride,” Lanerie said. “He’s got tactical speed and he’s so handy. Turning for home, I was just looking for running room.”

“He always puts an ‘A’ game in, and that’s all you can hope for,” Hartman said.

Etruscan, a 74-1 shot, helped blow up the vertical payoffs by rallying to finish third, another 2 3/4 lengths behind Manhattan Mischief. The $2 exacta (1-10) paid $33, the $1 trifecta (1-10-4) returned $597, and the 10-cent superfecta (1-10-4-3) was worth $325.36.

The next stakes day at Ellis is Aug. 13, when the showcase event of the 31-day meet, the Grade 3 Groupie Doll, will be run.