Inti scored an upset win over nine other steeplechase horses in Saturday’s $50,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial Stakes (Gr. III) as Colonial Downs opened its 17th season of racing.
The 8 year old Dubai Dust gelding, sent off at odds of 24-1, was eighth at the mile mark but made up enough ground in the second lap to enter the stretch just 2 ½ lengths behind Complete Zen. Rider Roddy Mackenzie urged Inti to a strong finish as he passed the previous leader in mid-stretch and won by 3 ¼ lengths in a final time of 4:25 1/5 in the stake’s sixteenth running.
The Uruguan-bred Inti, who is trained by Cyril Murphy for Meritage Racing, LLC, returned $49.80. Long shots completed the top three as Complete Zen (14-1) was second and Cat Feathers (11-1) finished third. The 50 cent 11-3-9 trifecta combination paid $6,872.10.
Upsets were a norm on Saturday. The average win payout over the nine races was $27.80, topped by Radnor Road’s $85.00 payout in the fourth.
The New Kent, Virginia area received nearly five inches of rain Friday and early Saturday, but was able to conduct all of Saturday evening’s races over the Secretariat turf course. The grass was listed as soft on Saturday but was upgraded to good on Sunday despite the pre-opening deluge.
Ashland, Virginia trainers made themselves quite known during Sunday’s matinee card. Karen Dennehy Godsey scored in the fourth with Emily’s Cabochon and again in the sixth with Sally Oh Sally. Stephanie Nixon connected in the seventh with Boltin’ Out. In keeping with the upset theme that started on Saturday, the three local winners returned respective win payouts of $12.40, $56.60 and $39.80.
Colonial Downs resumes racing on Wednesday with eight races starting at 6 PM.