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Pool Play takes Stephen Foster

Long shot Pool Play won the Grade I $561,300 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs yesterday, beating Mission Impazible by a neck.

Pool Play, the longest shot in the field at odds of 36-1, ran 11/8 miles in 1:50.82 and paid $75.20 to win. Ridden by Miguel Mena and trained by Mark Casse, Pool Play was making his first career start on dirt after winning five times in 27 starts on turf and synthetic surfaces.

Casse said he plans to keep the 6-year-old Pool Play on dirt in preparation for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.

'Maria' wins with 'Belle' out. Awesome Maria ($3.30) took advantage of the absence of Unrivaled Belle to easily win the $245,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

Unrivaled Belle, winner of the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic in November, reared and flipped over in the paddock prior to the race. She suffered a career-ending injury and was retired.

With a key rival unexpectedly removed, Awesome Maria pulled away to a three-length win over Payton d'Oro. John Velazquez was aboard as the 4-year-old captured a fourth straight stakes, improving to 7-for-12. Besides training the winner, Todd Pletcher also sent out Super Espresso and Life At Ten, the third and fourth-place finishers, respectively.

Pants On Fire rolls. Pants On Fire held off Concealed Identity by two lengths in the $200,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Trained by Kelly Breen and ridden by Rosie Napravnik, the 3-year-old colt ran 11/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.89 and returned $3.20 to win. The win in the Grade III race was the third in 10 career starts for Pants On Fire.

-- AP

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