LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 28, 2017) – Trainer Buff Bradley and Carl Hurst’s The Player wore down Neolithic in the stretch and pulled away to a three-length victory in the 60thrunning of $200,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2) before 14,310 fans on closing day of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet.
Ridden by Calvin Borel, The Player covered the 1 1/8 miles on a sloppy sealed track in 1:48.16 to record the first stakes win of his career. The performance gave Borel his third victory in the race following Midway Road in 2004 and Alumni Hall in 2005 and his first stakes win at Keeneland since he rode Daisy Devine to win the 2011 Pin Oak Valley View (G3).
Neolithic took command of the lead soon after the start of the Hagyard Fayette and led the field of six through early fractions of :24.22, :47.47 and 1:11.27 while The Player raced in second.
Rounding the final turn, The Player began to challenge for the lead. He caught Neolithic with three-sixteenths of a mile to run, shook off his rival and drew away for the win. Finishing 10 lengths behind in third was McCraken, making his first start against older horses. Giuseppe the Great was fourth and was followed by Malibu Pro and favored Honorable Duty. Fear the Cowboy was scratched.
The Player, a 4-year-old son of Street Hero out of the Gilded Time mare Hour Queen, was bred in Kentucky by Bradley and Hurst along with Bradley’s late father, Fred Bradley. The colt earned $120,000 for the victory to improve his record to four wins in 10 starts and earnings of $345,085.
Sent off at odds of 8-1, The Player returned $19.60, $6.80 and $3.40. Neolithic, ridden by Robby Albarado, paid $3.80 and $2.60. McCraken, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $3.