Updated on 09/17/2011 6:07PM

Wire Bound takes tight Axthelm

Jim Lisa
Wire Bound ($25.20) wins the $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes at Calder on Saturday.

MIAMI - Wire Bound rebounded from a pair of disappointing efforts to defeat Caballero Negro in a very evenly matched field of 3-year-olds in Saturday's $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes at Calder.

Only one length separated the top four finishers in the 7 1/2-furlong Axthelm, with Wire Bound rallying down the middle of the track to outfinish Caballero Negro by a half-length. More Bourb overcame a slow start to finish a wide-running third, another neck back, while Gin Rummy Champ weakened to be fourth after drawing clear near midstretch.

Wire Bound, who had moved to the top of the local 3-year-old turf division with an easy win in the Sir Omni Stakes, finished a troubled fifth in the Grade 3 Calder Derby and seventh against older horses in the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup in his last two starts. A son of Hesabull, Wire Bound was ridden to victory by Eduardo Nunez and paid $25.20 on Saturday.

"He had trouble in each of his last two starts and didn't get the pace up front that he got today," said Manuel Criollo, who trains Wire Bound for Silver Diamond Thoroughbreds Inc.

The winner's final time of 1:27.90 was just two-fifths of a second off the stakes record set last year by Magic Mecke.

Caballero Negro was one of three horses in the Axthelm to go to post at 3-1, along with Fort Prado and Grand Heritage. Fort Prado finished fifth after encountering trouble at the start and lacking racing room into the stretch. Grand Heritage saved ground and was never a factor, finishing eighth in the full field of 12 3-year-old colts and geldings.

The Axthelm is named for the Eclipse Award-winning writer, broadcaster, and racing enthusiast who resided locally until his death in 1991.