Hudson Phil sprinted to the front, going a :26.3 quarter as Burning Midnight advanced wide of pocket-sitter Shadow Moon into the backstretch. Taste Of History, pacing fourth, tipped off the rail to track Burning Midnight heading to the half, soon fanning three wide and rushing to the top after a :55 half.
Taste Of History held the lead moving around the final turn. Western Passage moved first over from fifth, charging towards the leader and pacing by through a 1:23.2 third-quarter as he progressed to the line in front of Jimmy Freight, chasing in second, and Sports Legend, who rallied for third.
Western Passage, a gelding by Sportswriter from the Western Hanover mare Ever Western, competes for owners West Wins Stable, John Fielding, Mckinlay Fielding, and Calhoun Racing. He won his second race in eight starts, earning $211,880 this season. Trained by Casie Coleman and driven by Doug Mcnair, he paid $6.90 to win.
"He finished second in both his first Golds and raced great - I made the bright idea that he should've won them and I decided he was being lazy and that I needed to geld him," Coleman said. "We actually almost lost the horse. He had to go in twice and get emergency surgery; he got an infection and it got pretty bad, but everything came together well and that's why he had a gap in the schedule - we were almost going to shut him down for the season, but we decided to give him a chance and now he's bouncing back.
"With everything he went through, he's still paid to the Breeders Crown, but I think I'm going to stick to our game plan - shut him down, bring him back, and have a big three-year-old season."
"I figured if I could get first or second over he'd be tough in the stretch," Mcnair said. "When he gets on his own, sometimes he hesitates for a little bit, so I really didn't want to clear too early but it worked out that way. He wasn't tired at the wire; I pulled the plugs and he just paced away. I was a little worried down the stretch, but he raced good."