Matthew Brown, N R S Stable and Tim L. Keefe’s Lunar Rock battled Who Dat Boy into defeat and held off late-charging No Brakes to win the $40,000 Deputed Testamony Starter Handicap for registered Maryland-breds on Preakness Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.
Sheldon Russell rode the son of Cherokee’s Boy, who covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.51 over the fast main track. He won by a neck over No Brakes, with Regal Warrior taking third.
Tim Keefe trains Lunar Rock, who was claimed by his owners for $12,500 at Laurel Park four starts back. Lunar Rock paid $7.80.
“Sheldon (Russell) did a great job judging the pace down the backside when the 9 (Who Dat Boy) came on and took the lead. Sheldon took my horse back until the stretch. He had just enough," Keefe said. "He’s a pretty consistent horse. He gives his all; he’s sound and has a wonderful personality. It’s been a pleasure claiming him three months ago and pointing him to this race. It’s very satisfying.”
“I know Tim was very excited when he claimed this horse. This was always the plan for him and the owners to run in this type of handicap on Preakness Day, so I was really happy to win this race for them. He broke nice and sharp," Russell said. "I don’t know if the jock (Victor Carrasco) on the 9 was having some problems. He was getting out when he went by me. My horse loves to have a target. I knew they were coming but he was just lucky to hold on.”