Luckarack and jockey Alonso Quinonez upset a good field in the $75,000 Governor’s Cup Handicap, wearing down Basmati in deep stretch and pulling away to win the sprint by 1 1/4 lengths. Grade 1 winner Drill finished 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third. Final time for 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:18.72.
The $16.60 upset by Luckarack was one of several on the twilight card, and no one hit the pick six. The two-day carryover into Thursday is $80,303.47.
Mike Pender trains Luckarack, who was making his first start since Aug. 3 when he was claimed from a third-place finish at Del Mar for $40,000.
“We definitely pointed for this race,” Pender said. “The horse is 3 for 4 here; we had to take a shot.”
Luckarack won the 2011 Jim Kostoff Stakes at the fair. In 2012 at the fair, he won a $12,500 claimer and followed six days later with a $20,000 claiming win. Although he had won only one race in 2013 prior to the Governor’s Cup, Luckarack was racing in sharp form and had finished in the money in five straight prior to Wednesday.
But he does his best running at Barretts at Fairplex, where he is now 4 for 5. It was his 12th career win, unusual for a horse with as many bad habits as the 5-year-old gelding.
“He’s as quirky as they get,” Pender said. “He weaves, but he’s also a consummate pro.”
The principal owners of Luckarack include Jason Wood, David Medina, Bob Fetkin and Mike White.
Drill, the 1.30-1 favorite, was bumped at the break, failed to produce speed, and was never a threat. “He was running at the end, but too late,” jockey Martin Garcia said.