John Gunther’s Stage Raider made a bold late rally to score in the $100,000 R.A. “Cowboy” Jones Stakes on the Stakes-laden Sunday card at Ellis Park.
Stage Raider is now a four-time winner for trainer Cherie DeVaux. He was ridden to victory by Brian Hernandez Jr., closing the one-mile test in 1:35.95.
Stage Raider, a Pioneerof the Nile half brother to Triple Crown winner Justify, is among the 25 winners and 10 black type runners to emerge from the famed Hidden Brook Florida training center in 2023.
In the early stages of the Jones Stakes, Wind of Change inherited the lead, but was soon pressured by Best Actor. After a quarter-mile in :23.68, Best Actor took command over the field as Kupuna moved past Wind of Change for second. Stage Raider settled in fourth and stayed glued to the rail. Around the far turn, local hero Here Mi Song made a bold three-wide rally while Hernandez kept Stage Raider on the inside. At the top of the lane, Stage Raider shot through an opening and never looked back, recording a two-length winning margin.