Maker Records Another Claiming Success With Last Judgment In Challenger

Trainer Michael Maker has a history of turning mid- to high-priced claiming acquisitions into graded stakes winners and Last Judgment is just the latest to join that roll of success stories.  The 5-year-old gelding by Congrats, claimed for $62,500 last October at Belmont Park, registered a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday’s Grade 3 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, the first of four graded stakes at the Oldsmar, Fla., track culminating with the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby.

Ridden by Daniel Centeno, Last Judgment was never headed, setting fractions of :23.29, :47.41, 1:11.37 and 1:35.62 en route to a final clocking of 1:41.98 for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track.

Last Judgment paid $4.80 as the 7-5 co-favorite in the field of five older runners. Modernist finished second, with the other 7-5 co-favorite, War Stopper, third. He was followed across the finish by Letmeno  and Jungle Fighter.

“It looked like he should be forwardly placed and that’s how the race was run,” said Maker. “He seemed to be well within himself the whole way. He got into a nice rhythm and kept it going. We tried to chase Knicks Go in the Pegasus. I’ll try to spot him more appropriately the rest of the year.”

Last Judgment won one of three starts since Maker haltered him for Michael Dubb, Steve Hornstock, Bethlehem Stables and Nice Guys Stables but was coming off a 12 3/4-length drubbing at the hands of Knicks Go as a 41-1 outsider in the Pegasus. He raced second behind the frontrunning winner that day before tiring in the stretch.

“Mike’s instructions were to take the lead and he broke really sharp and made an easy lead all the way to the wire,” said Centeno. “(Letmeno) got a little close to me past the half-mile pole, but my horse grabbed the bit again and I knew I had plenty of horse left. It looks like he can run all day. It’s nice when you get a lead like that and the horse is enjoying being out there all by himself.”

The post Maker Records Another Claiming Success With Last Judgment In Challenger appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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