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Longshot Lyonell jumps to upset in the Temple Gwathmey

Posted: April 23, 2018 3:07 p.m.
Updated: April 24, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Robert A. Kinsley’s Lyonell, one of the lightest-weighted horses in Saturday’s $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), made a powerful run to take the lead at the last fence and prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths in the featured race of the 98th annual Middleburg (Va.) Spring Races.

Zanjabeel, second in the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup in Camden three weeks earlier, collected his second straight runner-up purse for owners Rosbrian Farm and Wendy and Ben Griswold. Another lightly weighted starter, Michael A. Smith’s Mercoeur, took third, 6 1/2 lengths farther back. Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, a 2017 Grade 1 winner, finished fourth in a field of 10.

German-bred Lyonell, trained by Elizabeth Voss, won the Far Hills Races’ Appleton ratings handicap on Oct. 21 and was third in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap two weeks later. But against a high-powered cast that included 2017 leading earner Mr. Hot Stuff and All the Way Jose, the seven-year-old Montjeu gelding was rated at 140 pounds, 18 fewer than Mr. Hot Stuff.

Jack Doyle, Voss’ tall stable jockey, could only tack 148 pounds, but the extra weight proved no handicap. Doyle allowed Lyonell to find his own pace early while All the Way Jose set the initial pace in the 2 1/2-mile Temple Gwathmey. Lyonell began picking off horses past the midway point of the race at Glenwood Park Race Course in northern Virginia.

Placed on the outside for the run to the wire, Lyonell jumped to the lead over the last hurdle and maintained his momentum to the finish line. Zanjabeel, ridden by Ross Geraghty, made a late move, as he had in the Colonial Cup, but still came up second best.

Mr. Hot Stuff, making his first start since winning last fall’s $400,000 Grand National in Far Hills, N.J., finished fifth.

Lyonell ran the Temple Gwathmey distance in 5:34.40.

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