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Utley springs upset Dixie Stakes

DIXIE S. | PURSE: $400,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 2 | 1 1/16-MILES (TURF)

Augustin Stable's Utley, winless since last April, got back on track with an off-the-pace upset score in the $400,000 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico Race Course May 17.

Utley, a 6-year-old homebred horse by Smart Strike , broke from post 9 in a 10-horse field, settled in mid-pack through most of the 1 1/16-mile Dixie, rallied in the lane and swept by the top three runners to win by a length over Hey Leroy. Chamois finished third, a head in front of Charming Kitten fourth.

Utley is trained by Jonathan Sheppard and was ridden by Edgar Prado, who rode him to a fifth-place finish in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January.

Fractions for the Dixie on a course rated good were :23.87 for the opening quarter-mile, :47.90 for the half-mile, 1:12.54 for six furlongs, and 1:37.74 for one mile. The final time was 1:43.88.

Utley paid $17, $7.40, and $5 across the board. Hey Leroy, who was coming off of a victory at Gulfstream in allowance/optional claiming company, returned $4.60 and $3.40. Chamois paid $5.60. The $2 exacta returned $69.20 and the $1 trifecta paid $125.20.

Utley, bred in Kentucky, is out of the Nureyev mare No Matter What. He entered the Dixie off of a solid second-place finish in a strong allowance/optional claiming test at Churchill Downs May 1. His previous victory came in a similar spot on the turf at Keeneland in April 2013.

Utley now has six wins, two seconds, and four thirds in 24 starts. The first-place check in the Dixie more than doubled his earnings to about $450,000.