08/02/2015 4:05PM

Wildcat Red first in three-horse Teddy Drone photo

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Michael Amoruso
Wildcat Red, between horses with Paco Lopez, noses out Stallwalkin' Dude and Delta Bluesman in the Teddy Drone.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – It took more than a year, but Wildcat Red finally found his way back to the winner’s circle on Sunday when he prevailed narrowly in a three-horse photo to take the $111,000 Teddy Drone Stakes for older sprinters at Monmouth Park.

 Wildcat Red won the Fountain of Youth Stakes and just missed in the Florida Derby in 2014, but attempts to make him a two-turn horse on tracks that didn’t carry his speed as effectively as Gulfstream Park proved difficult. His connections returned him to a sprint last time following a layoff of nearly six months. He ran well that day in what is proving to be a key race, and was set for his best on Sunday.

 Wildcat Red, third after a quarter-mile in the six-furlong race, bravely split horses in deep stretch to beat Stallwalkin’ Dude by a nose, with Delta Bluesman another nose farther back in third. Brothersofthetime was three-quarters of a length away in fourth.

 Uptown Boy finished fifth, but was disqualified back to sixth for severely impeding the rallying Loverbil in deep stretch. Catron, the 9-5 favorite, finished seventh of eight in a dull effort.

 Wildcat Red covered six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:09.01.

 Normally one to make the top, Wildcat Red ($9.40) was outrun early as Delta Bluesman rocketed out of the gate and sped through an opening quarter in 21.44 seconds, with Uptown Boy the closest pursuer.

 Jockey Paco Lopez after the race said he “wanted to break good,” and expected to be forwardly placed, but had to be patient when the early pace proved so scalding.

“Too fast,” he said.

 Stallwalkin Dude ranged up four paths wide entering the lane and moved as a team with Wildcat Red as they tried to run down Delta Bluesman after Uptown Boy began to tire.

 Wildcat Red, trained by Jose Garoffalo for Honors Stable Corp., was winning for the sixth time in 16 starts, and the $60,000 he earned put him over the $1 million mark. He was coming off a second-place finish in the Smile Sprint at Gulfstream on July 5, a race from which runner-up Work All Week returned to win the Sen. Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes at Mountaineer on Saturday.