01/08/2011 6:20PM

Wildrally takes Dixie Poker Ace for first stakes win in more than two years

Lou Hodges Jr.
The 7-year-old Wildrally scores in the Dixie Poker Ace.

Trainer Eddie Johnston is preparing the good Louisiana-bred turf horse Snakebite Kit for a start against open stakes competition in the Jan. 22 Colonel Bradley Handicap, but in Wildrally, Johnston had an able back-up for the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace on Saturday at Fair Grounds. Under Anna Rose Napravnik, Wildrally came between horses at about the eighth pole and won the Dixie Poker Ace by one length over 4-5 favorite Kissimmee Kyle.

The 7-year-old Wildrally, a son of Wild Event bred in Louisiana by Fred Jordan, won the 11th grass race of his career, but captured his first stakes since the 2008 Louisiana Champions Day Turf more than two years ago. More claimer than stakes horse since then, Wildrally was claimed by Johnston for himself and co-owner Charles Zacney for $20,000 in June.

Saturday, racing over a turf course labeled soft, Wildrally ($10.80) raced fifth of six as Classy Deelites set fractions of 25.04 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 50.60 for the half, and 1:15.70 for six furlongs. In behind the leaders and down toward the inside, Wildrally briefly was steered out for room at the top of the stretch, but Napravnik quickly thought better of the move, keeping Wildrally closer to the fence. When Desert Wheat drifted out, there was plenty of space to go between him and Classy Deelites; Wildrally accelerated and somewhat easily outfinished Kissimmee Kyle to the outside. Hallway, still farther out, was another neck back in third.

Wildrally ran about one mile in 1:40.05.