Dimension, who finished ninth in the Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint, found his winning stride over a very nice field in the Fair Grounds' $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial at just under 40-1 odds. The British-bred gelding turns 10 in just over a week.
Dimension won by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey James Graham over fellow #KyDownsGrad Sir Dudley Digges, Ken and Sarah Ramsey's 2016 Queen's Plate winner who captured Kentucky Downs' Old Friends Stakes this fall. Also in the Buddy D was sixth-place Applicator, winner of the $400,000 Tourist Mile.
“He broke horrible,” Graham told Fair Grounds publicity. “He ran off around the first turn and still won the race with room to spare. I thought I’d be on the lead by myself. He was running off on me, but I didn’t want to choke him. So I just said, ‘Okay, whatever you’re comfortable with.’”
Owner-trainer Conor Murphy, who is based at Skylight training center in Oldham County, made Dimension his first purchase in 2012 after he invested about $75 in a parlay wager on five steeplechase races in his native England. After races spanning 12 5/16 miles and 71 hurdles and fences, Murphy swept the parlay on the Cheltenham Festival when a horse named Riverside Theatre nailed the leader at the wire, providing the then-stable lad a $1.5 million payday. Murphy, who has calculated the odds of winning at 64,000-1, used the windfall to establish his own Thoroughbred stable in Kentucky.
The Buddy D was Dimension’s fifth stakes victory for Murphy, including the 2014 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash (now known as the Turf Sprint) in a four-horse photo. That was the first of Dimension’s three races at Kentucky Downs, with the gelding sixth in the 2016 More Than Ready (now the Tourist Mile) and seventh (but by a total of only 2 1/2 lengths) in this year’s now-Grade 3 Turf Sprint.
Dimension earned his 39.90-1 odds honestly, having not hit the board in his prior six starts. He was 143-1 when last of 14 in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland his race before the 1 1/16-mile Buddy D.
“This horse has been the flag bearer,” Murphy told the Fair Grounds publicity department. “We’re only a small stable, and he’s jumped and gone the first three years and he’s turning 10 in two weeks. We said that now that he’s older he’s settling a bit better, so we said that we’d try the mile-and-a sixteenth. Two turns hasn’t been his thing before but James gave him a great ride. He loved the turf course here because there is such a long stretch, and that seems to be what he likes.
“(The Shadwell) was Grade I, and we weren’t expecting to win,” Murphy said. “He came out of Kentucky Downs in such good form, and he’s a horse that needs good ground. We were going to just turn him out, but we took a shot and it didn’t work out.”
Murphy said the Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Memorial Stakes on Jan. 13 is a possibility.
“I don’t see why not,” he said. “I know he’s turning 10. But if you watch this horse train every morning, he loves it. If you look back through his form, he’s only run five or six times every year and so we’ll have to see how he comes out of it, but we’ll look at the Colonel Bradley as a possibility.”
Among other #KyDownsGrads:
Shining Copper, third in the $400,000 Tourist Mile, won Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 River City for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker.
Stuart Janney’s My Impression, winner of Kentucky Downs’ restricted One Dreamer Stakes, was third by a total of a nose in in Aqueduct’s $150,000 Forever Together.
The Maker-trained Galton, fourth in a Kentucky Downs’ allowance optional claiming race while in for the $62,500 tag for owner Michael Hui, finished second in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Tropical Turf.
Normandy Farm’s Kenny McPeek-trained Dueling Grounds Oaks winner Daddys Lil Darling, narrow loser of Keeneland’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, finished third in Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Mrs. Revere.
The Rick Hiles-trained and owned Sugar Cube, a narrow second in starter-allowance race at Kentucky Downs, finished second in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper at Gulfstream Dec. 2 for fillies and mares that had started for a claiming price of $12,500 or less since Jan. 1, 2016.
The Mike Stidham-trained Rapid Rhythm, second in the 2016 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, won a division of the Fair Grounds’ $50,000 Richard Scherer Memorial on Dec. 2.