April 21, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Peter Miller of Altamira Racing Stable started thinking big in the moments after his 70-1 longshot, All Squared Away, won the Lexington Stakes.

"(I'll) think about something like the Preakness," Miller said of his sudden 3-year-old star.

But the horse Miller picked up for $1,000 at a yearling sale isn't Triple Crown nominated, meaning he'd have to shell out $100,000 of the $120,000 purse he just won to give the dark bay gelding the chance.

"Never mind," Miller said with a laugh. "We'll find some other race. I'm not giving up the $100,000 I just (won) to run the Preakness."

They won with record-breaking odds in the 31-year-old Lexington Stakes.

All Squared Away fell from 50-1 to 70-1 on Saturday, but rallied to win the $200,000 Grade 3 race at Keeneland. He spoiled the Kentucky Derby chances of Castaway and other horses looking for earnings to make the 20-horse field.

"He's always trained like a good horse, like a quality horse," said Miller, who had trained the horse and holds ownership with Wire to Wire Racing Inc. "We are thrilled. Over the moon."

It was a major move for a horse that looked bad in its two previous stakes races - finishing seventh in the El Camino Real Derby in Albany, Calif., in February and sixth in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway in nearby Florence, Ky., last month.

After the second race, Miller decided to leave his horse behind for trainer Wesley Ward.

It wound up being a wise move.

"The horse had a tough trip in the race at Turfway, and after the race he just asked me if I would take him to train and he gave him to me. And I'll tell you what, the horse has just been doing fantastic ever since," Ward said. "Every day that goes by the horse just keeps getting better here. As most horses do when they come to Keeneland, it's such a tranquil, peaceful setting. Horses just thrive and this guy's one of them."

Ward said he believed the horse had a good shot to win, then kept looking at the odds falling out of their favor.

"You look at the odds and you think, well, jeez, we'd be a lot better if we ran for $40,000 claiming (race)," Ward said.

Instead, All Squared Away, sired by Bellamy Road, looked right at home on the Polytrack, running 1 1/16th miles in 1:42.55 under Julio Garcia. He stayed near the front and kept pace four wide before taking control in the final furlong and winning by 1 1/2 lengths.

"I just took a shot. I said, you know, I'll take a chance. We only bought him for a $1,000 and he's just turned out to be a neat, neat horse," Miller said. "That's a nice return on investment."

Did the owner bet on his horse?

"Not enough," Miller said.

All Squared Away paid $143.20, $45.80 and $17. Summer Front returned $5.20 and $4, while Hammers Terror paid $9.40 to show.

Castaway, trained by Bob Baffert and needing the $120,000 first-prize purse to have enough earnings to make the Derby field, finished ninth. Another horse with Derby aspirations and an outside shot to make the field, Morgan's Guerrilla, finished last in the 11-horse field.

"He didn't get into a good rhythm and was never comfortable," said jockey Julien Leparoux of Morgan's Guerrilla. "He just never got into the race."

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