All Squared Away played "bombs away" in Saturday's $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, scoring as the 70-1 longest shot in the Grade 3 race. A former claimer making his first start for trainer Wesley Ward, the three-year-old gelding improved significantly upon a well-beaten sixth in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes to post his initial stakes victory, completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 3/5 on Polytrack.
The son of Bellamy Road paid $143.20 for the upset and was ridden by Julio Garcia, who had won only two-of-20 starts this year entering Saturday's program.
Owned by Altamira Racing Stable and Wire to Wire Racing, All Squared Away was forwardly-placed after breaking well from the starting gate, stalking Johannesbourbon, Castaway and Hammers Terror in fourth through the first turn and down the backstretch. Johannesbourbon and Castaway dueled through opening splits in :23 1/5 and :46 2/5, with Hammers Terror always racing within a length of the leaders, and All Squared Away was three lengths back after the opening half-mile.
All Squared Away began to inch closer as Castaway backed out on the far turn and launched his rally in earnest upon the conclusion of the far turn, closing determinedly in the short stretch to easily prove best by 1 1/2 lengths. Summer Front, the 2-1 favorite, rallied belatedly to be a non-threatening second, a neck better than the 18-1 Hammers Terror in third, and it was three-quarters of a length back to the late-running Gold Megillah in fourth.
The $2 exacta paid $842, the $2 trifecta was good for $7,998.60 and the $2 superfecta (9-2-8-11) yielded a whopping $95,199l.
My idea was to go very close to the pace," Garcia said of his trip. "I rode this horse in the morning, and I knew he was going to run a good race today."
The jockey rode his mount out nearly an extra sixteenth of a mile toward the second finish line at Keeneland.
"I got confused a little bit: I didn't know which wire (finish line), the first or the second," Garcia said. "So after the wire Johnny V (Velazquez, on Gold Megillah) told me, 'Julio, the first wire!' Like, I know, it's OK. I win anyway."
Golden Ticket, Holiday Promise, Johannesbourbon, Skyring, Castaway, News Pending and Morgan's Guerrilla completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Gracefield Breeders, All Squared Away is the only registered foal out of the unraced Posse mare Squared. The broodmare counts stakes winner Plumlake Lady as a half-sister and this is the female family of Grade 1 winner Bachelor Beau and Grade 2 queen Seeking Regina.
All Squared Away did not attract much interest as a youngster, commanding $3,000 as a 2009 Keeneland November weanling before selling for only $1,000 as a yearling at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale. He made his first eight career starts for Peter Miller and after competing for a $30,000 maiden tag at Hollywood Park, captured a maiden special weight at Golden Gate Fields. All Squared Away sandwiched a runner-up finish in a March 15 starter allowance event at Santa Anita between unplaced efforts in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby and the March 24 Spiral at Turfway Park.
"Pete (Miller, co-owner and former trainer) called me right after the race (Grade 3 Vinery Racing Spiral at Turfway Park) and asked me if I'd take the horse," Ward explained when asked how he got the horse. "He said, 'Just train him however you want.' Since the horse got here -- as most (horses) do when they come to Keeneland -- the horse just flourished. He just put a lot of weight on. He's eaten the bottom out of the feed tub. When we worked him, the last couple of works have just been outstanding. He's just thriving, being here."
With Saturday's $120,000 payday, the dark bay gelding nearly tripled his lifetime earnings to $164,180 from a 9-2-2-2 record.