11/28/2009 1:00AM

Youth is served in Clark Handicap


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Three-year-olds got the best of their elders in dramatic fashion Friday when Blame, ridden by Jamie Theriot, beat Misremembered by a neck in the 135th running of the at Churchill Downs.

Blame, bred and owned by Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm, returned $10.80 as second choice after finishing the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:49.39. Misremembered and fourth-place finisher Giant Oak were the only other 3-year-olds in the field.

Einstein, the 123-pound highweighted who broke from the outside post under Rajiv Maragh, was just another neck behind Misremembered. Giant Oak was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.

Trainer Al Stall Jr. had approached the Clark with quiet confidence, saying he hoped Blame would prove he belonged among the top echelon of handicap runners for next year. Having won the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland in his previous start, Blame might be a nice fit for the $10 million Dubai World Cup, to be run over synthetics in March, Stall thought.

After what happened Friday, the invitation should be in the mail. Blame, carrying 118 pounds, settled nicely in eighth through the early stages, then allowed Misremembered, Anak Nakal, and Einstein to make their moves toward the lead as a swarm of horses turned for home. At the eighth pole, Blame pushed ahead from the outside and maintained that slim advantage in a well-fought stretch run.

"He took me to the lead well within himself," said Theriot. "We could have went around again and the outcome wouldn't have changed."

On a crisp, sunny day, and over a fast track, the 112-1 shot Anarko set the pace to the far turn, but the onslaught was inevitable. Etched, the 9-2 third choice, pounced first, but then came a wall of horses, with Misremembered, then Anak Nakal, and finally Blame surging squarely into the mix.

"My horse was training so good coming into this that I really didn't think he could lose," said Bob Baffert, trainer of Misremembered.

Blame, by Arch, now has won 5 of 8 starts, with the $259,872 winner's share lifting his bankroll to $616,747. Besides the Oct. 31 Fayette win, his prior starts also included a runner-up finish to Regal Ransom in the Super Derby.

Misremembered, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was 9-1, while Einstein was fourth choice at a surprisingly high 5.80-1.

Macho Again, the 7-2 favorite, never reached contention when finishing ninth. The gray 4-year-old won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster here in June.