- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY. (AP) - Lee Einsidler knew he had an eventual stakes-winning horse with Mr. Sidney, but it took a successful surgery, a switch to turf and a whole lot of patience to prove him right.

The 4-year-old colt added a Grade I victory to his resume by navigating a yielding turf in a driving rain to win the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile, the feature race Friday at Keeneland.

“Not only did he handle it, but he re-engaged within the last 200 yards,” jockey Kent Desormeaux said. “I enjoyed that most of all.”

Mr. Sidney took the lead before the stretch and held off Passage to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

“I thought I could win it,” Passage’s jockey Edgar Prado said. “He ran hard. I had a beautiful trip, but unfortunately when we started running, the horse in front of us didn’t slow down.”

Mr. Sidney, who went off at 3-1, paid $8.40, $4.60 and $3.60. Passager returned $5.20 and $5. Just as Well was $3.80 to show.

Einsidler, CEO of Sidney Frank Importing Co., wasn’t worried about the track or the conditions considering the horse had won three of five previous starts on turf. After all Mr. Sidney had been through in his short career, Einsidler figured the horse was due.

Shortly after breaking his maiden on March 3, 2007, at Gulfstream, a hairline fracture was discovered in Mr. Sidney’s front left cannon bone. He would be forced to undergo surgery that required screws in the bone, which sidelined him for 15 months.

“He just wasn’t traveling well,” trainer William Mott said. “We X-rayed and X-rayed and finally we discovered it. It wasn’t one of those deals that was a no-brainer. It took awhile, and then we got it sorted out.”

Mott and Einsidler, who bought the colt for $3.9 million at Keeneland’s 2005 September Yearling Sale, eventually agreed that switching to turf, despite some encouraging races on dirt, would be the best course.

“We thought we’d just ease him back into things,” Einsidler said. “We thought grass would be a little easier for him.”

Favorite Thorn Song, winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile last fall at Keeneland, finished last in the six-horse field.

“It’s tough to come off a layoff with this kind of turf we have today,” said Robby Albarado, Thorn Song’s rider. “He got a lot thrown at him. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say it was the turf course today.”

It was the third race of the year for Mr. Sidney, who last won in an allowance race Jan. 24 at Gulfstream Park and was edged out for third place in a stakes race Feb. 21 at the same track.

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