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Sahara' heats up a chilly day at Keeneland


Darley Stable's Sahara Heat narrowly defeated his entry mate on Saturday in an allowance event over Keeneland's polytrack going 1 1/16 miles with Edgar Prado in the irons. The 3-year-old dark bay broke from the inside post and saved ground behind the pacesetter. He went four wide on the far turn and took the lead at the top of the stretch. He held on by a head under a strong hand ride while Darley Stable's No Reply fought to catch him, but was unable to get by at the wire. The entry went off as the 6/5 favorite in a field of seven.

The A.P. Indy colt came out of a Maiden victory on March 3rd at Gulfstream Park in which he also fought off a challenge in a tenacious stretch duel with the Pletcher-trained Vamanos and the pair were four lengths in front of the show horse True Competitor, who was a next-out winner. Sahara Heat began his career late last year in a pair of sprints on dirt before stretching out to 1 1/8 miles on turf on January 31st, missing the victory by just 3/4 length while coming from far off the pace. The colt appears to be very versatile with racing surfaces, running well on turf, dirt and polytrack.

Darley connections Jimmy Bell and Dan Pride were on hand to witness their colt's victory and were very pleased. Eoin Harty described his trainee as "a gutty competitor who seems to thrive on tough competition."

Sahara Heat was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable and was purchased at the 2005 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $3.4 million. He is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Sahara Gold.

"Hopefully he will improve off this and have a productive summer campaign," said Harty.

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