ESPN.com - Horse Racing - License Fee captures Sixty Sails

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Monday, April 30
License Fee captures Sixty Sails




With jockey Larry Melancon turning in a masterful front-end ride, License Fee easily won the Grade 3 $300,000 Sixty Sails Handicap on Sunday at Sportsman's Park. License Fee beat Lady Melesi by five lengths and Megans Bluff by almost seven lengths as the trio ran around the racetrack in the order they finished.

License Fee, who paid $9.20 as the third choice in a field of eight, broke sharply from the gate and took command of the Sixty Sails from the outset. The veteran journeyman Melancon put the brakes on without anyone noticing. Racing on a clear lead, License Fee got away with an opening quarter-mile in 24.17 seconds and an opening half in 49.11, and the race essentially was over. Melancon had a lot of horse turning for home and License Fee finished like a bullet, running her last three furlongs in 36 seconds. She was timed in 1:49.11 for the 1 1/8 miles.

"She broke sharp and relaxed right away," Melancon said. "It was an easy win."

A 6-year-old Black Tie Affair mare owned by Winstar Farm, License Fee won for the first time this season and pushed her career bankroll past $1 million. She had raced exclusively on grass last season and hadn't won a dirt race since June 1999.

"She has been racing well on the turf, so I suppose I set myself up for some criticism if she hadn't raced well today," trainer Elliott Walden said.

The favored Lady Melesi, who probably prefers to run from farther off the pace, ran a solid race to be second while facing the best horses she's met in her abbreviated career. Trainer Rusty Arnold said last week that he was considering the Delaware Handicap for Lady Melesi's next start.

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