Finallygotabentley found himself on the lead after a relatively slow quarter-mile, then dug in deep when the pace really quickened and the closers took aim in the 6-1/2-furlong race.

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AUBURN — Trainer Tom Wenzel said last week that he didn’t think his 3-year-old colt, Finallygotabentley, had run as well as he could, saying “he’s never really run a bad race, but he’s never really laid his body down for me either.”

That changed Sunday at Emerald Downs in the $50,000 Auburn Handicap.

Finallygotabentley found himself on the lead after a relatively slow quarter-mile, then dug in deep when the pace really quickened and the closers took aim in the 6 ½-furlong race.

Finallygotabentley wouldn’t let them pass, holding off Disruption by 1 length. Carving, the 3-5 favorite, was another nose behind in the eight-horse field.

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“The biggest difference today was that he finally got a clean trip,” said Juan Gutierrez, who rode the winner. “I didn’t want to go to the lead too early, but I was on the inside and I didn’t want to get cut off at the three-eighths pole. I was a little worried that he might get tired and the other horses might catch us, but he really tried hard today. This is a great horse and he has a lot of class.”

Finallygotabentley was regally bred and has always been highly regarded. But he entered Sunday with one win in eight starts, finishing in second place six times and third in his other race.

He was coming off three straight second-place finishes as the odds-on favorite.

Finallygotabentley paid $13.40 to win and his time was 1 minute, 15.28 seconds.

Music of My Soul, the top 2-year-old last year at Emerald Downs, was scratched just before the race. He had been the second choice in the wagering.