Sunday's $140,000 Marine S. at Woodbine came down to a tight three-way photo and a stewards' inquiry, with Conquest Top Gun ending up the official winner following an eventful stretch battle.
Visit Pioneerof the Nile's Page
The 3-year-old Pioneerof the Nile colt is the sixth stakes horse of 2014 and put the WinStar stallion over the $1.4 million mark in progeny earnings, one of only two Second Crop sires to achieve that mark. He is also the only sophomore sire to have three stakes winner in the current year.
Conquest Top Gun shot out of the gate along the rail and was almost immediately joined by Asserting Bear for the run around down the backstretch. The duo went through six furlongs in 1:11.74, when Ami's Holiday ranged up along the rail entering the final quarter mile to try to squeeze between the top pair.
Asserting Bear seemed to close off the opening inside the final furlong, then hit the wire just in front of Conquest Top Gun, with Ami's Holiday a neck back in third. The stewards ruled Asserting Bear had interfered with the third-place finisher, lifting Conquest Top Gun to his first black-type win in just his fourth lifetime start.
"My horse was very anxious to run and the other horse (Asserting Bear) was always beside me which didn't make my job too easy," said winning rider Eurico Rosa da Silva. "I was surprised (we) went that fast and still kept going. He ran a great race."
Conquest Top Gun banked $75,000 in victory while improving his record to 2-0-1 from four starts. Bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Farms, Conquest Top Gun is out of the stakes-placed mare Early Vintage, a half-sister to Grade 3 Sorrento S. winner Tasha's Miracle.
Conquest Stables, LLC was the winning bidder, at $525,000 during the 2013 OBS Horses of Racing Age sale last June, where the colt brought the top price of the two-day auction.