Kentucky Downs horses had a huge afternoon at Pimlico and Keeneland. We have the recaps. (Photo: Joe Talamo guides Ivar to victory in Keeneland's Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile. Coady Photography)
LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 3, 2020) – Bonne Chance Farm and Stud RDI’s Ivar (BRZ) rocketed down the middle of the course to post a 1-length victory in the 35th running of the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and earn a spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup FanDuel Mile (G1) Presented by PDJF here on Nov. 7.
Ivar finished third in last month's $750,000 Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs, a race which also produced 2018 Shadwell winner Next Shares.
Trained by Paolo Lobo and ridden by Joe Talamo, Ivar covered the mile on a turf course labeled firm in 1:33.99. It is the first Keeneland stakes victory for Lobo and Talamo. It is the first Grade 1 victory for Lobo since Pico Central (BRZ) won the Vosburgh in 2004.
“You know how hard it is to win a Grade 1, especially here at Keeneland," Lobo said. "We need to celebrate.
“We were very worried about the (outside 11) post position, but his style if you see his races in Argentina, he always comes from off the pace – way off the pace. Today, it worked very well. I was very concerned because of the first turn. Joe rode him 100 percent magnificent.”
Casa Creed led the field of nine through fractions of :23.44, :47.39 and 1:11.13 with Born Great, Parlor and Without Parole (GB) in closest pursuit while Ivar raced near the back of the pack.
Casa Creed maintained the lead at the top of the stretch while Talamo was guiding Ivar to the outside 4 lengths off the lead with only two horses beat. With clear running, Ivar swooped past the field with a blazing turn of foot and coasted home a length in front of a fast-closing Raging Bull (FR).
“Down the backside, he got in such a good rhythm, was so relaxed," Talamo said. "Congratulations to Paolo. He did a great job training this horse, (changing) his tactics. When he won at Churchill (in June), he was in front. He took the blinkers off. Just an incredible training job on his part to get this horse to turn off like that. I was all smiles turning for home when I took him out there. He just exploded.”
The victory was worth $450,000 and increased Ivar’s earnings to $579,413 with a record of 7-5-0-1 that includes two Group 1 wins in Argentina in 2019.
Ivar is a 4-year-old son of Agnes Gold (JPN) out of the Smart Strike mare May Be Now.
Ivar returned $30.80, $12.40 and $8.80. Raging Bull, ridden by Joel Rosario, returned $4.40 and $3.40 and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Without Parole, who paid $5.40 to show under Julien Leparoux. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Casa Creed, who was followed in order by Flavius, Parlor, defending champion Bowies Hero, Analyze It and Born Great.
Leinster, third in 2019 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint, takes G2 Woodford
Amy Dunne, Brenda Miley, Westrock Stables and Jean Wilkinson’s Leinster took command at the eighth pole and then fended off a late bid from Extravagant Kid by a half-length to win the 24th running of the $150,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by TVG for 3-year-olds and up. Trained by Rusty Arnold and ridden by Luis Saez, Leinster covered the 5½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:01.59.
Just Might led the field of nine through an opening quarter in :21.90 with Leinster racing second. Leaving the far turn, Leinster closed the gap on the leader and by midstretch had taken charge en route to his third graded stakes victory.
“He broke pretty sharp," Saez said. "He put me on the lead, but we didn’t really want to be there. We wanted to track somebody. We had a perfect position, and I had a lot of horse. He just took off.”
The victory was worth $90,000 and improved Leinster’s bankroll to $614,211 with a 22-5-6-4 record. Leinster was third in last year's $700,000 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs and was scheduled to run in this year's edition until a minor foot problem forced his defection.
“We had a little setback – he had a foot problem," Arnold said. "We actually were going to run him at Kentucky Downs. We didn’t get to run. Maybe it’s a blessing because he stayed right here on his home track. He got to work on this turf course a couple of times – I think that’s a big edge. Worked out good.”
The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Majestic Warrior out of the Royal Academy mare Vassar was second in the Woodford last year, his only setback in four starts on the Keeneland turf course.
In his previous start, Leinster won the Shakertown (G2) and with Saturday’s victory joins Havelock (2013) and Silver Timber (2010) as the only horses to win the Shakertown and Woodford in the same year.
Sent off as the favorite, Leinster paid $7.80, $4.20 and $3. Extravagant Kid, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4.60 and $3.20 and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Just Might who paid $4.80 to show under Colby Hernandez.
It was another half-length back to Chaos Theory, who was followed in order by Fast Boat, Chaps, Real News, Citrus Burst and Win Lion Win.
Catman, 2nd in KY Downs maiden, takes Laurel Futurity by a nose
BALTIMORE – Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Catman graduated in style Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, taking the lead nearing the wire and tenaciously holding on by a nose over Wootton Asset in the $150,000 Laurel Futurity.
It was the second stakes win of the day for trainer Mike Maker, Kentucky Downs' 2020 meet and all-time win leader who previously saddled Evil Lyn to victory for the same owners in the $100,000 Hilltop. While it was Maker’s first Laurel Futurity win, jockey Daniel Centeno was previously first with Therapist in 2017.
Nautilus came from the far outside to forge an early lead ahead of Catman and Wootton Asset, who was pinched back out of the gate but recovered to take up a stalking spot in the clear on the outside. Nautilus ran a quarter in 25.33 seconds and a half in 51.23, with Pivotal Mission saving ground along the rail in fourth. Catman wrested the lead from Nautilus at the top of the stretch and set down for the wire, but Wootton Asset would not relent and raced alongside, only to come up short.
Kidnapped was 1 ¼ lengths back in third, a half-length ahead of narrow favorite Pivotal Mission in fourth. It was the third runner-up finish of the day for trainer Graham Motion, who also finished second in the $100,000 Selima for 2-year-old fillies with Invincible Gal and the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) for females 3 and up on the grass with Varenka.
Catman, a bay son of champion runner and sire Kitten’s Joy, debuted running last of 10 July 18 at Saratoga. He was one of two horses left behind the gate when a mechanical malfunction caused it to prematurely open on opening day of the Kentucky Downs meet Sept. 7, resulting in a no-contest. Five days later, Catman closed to be second by a head in a one-mile maiden special weight.
The Futurity has a rich history dating back to 1921 inaugural winner Morvich, who would go on to win the 1922 Kentucky Derby. The Futurity has also been won by Triple Crown champions Affirmed, Citation and Secretariat along with Barbaro, Spectacular Bid, Tapit, In Reality, Honest Pleasure and Quadrangle.
$150,000 Laurel Futurity Quotes
Winning Trainer Michael Maker (Catman) – “I was happy to see our horse get away and get into the race. He’s been a little bit on the lazy side, but after his last race the lights seemed to come on. [Jockey] Daniel [Centeno] put him in a great spot and got the job done.”
Winning Jockey Daniel Centeno (Catman) – “He ran really big today. Last time at Kentucky Downs, they went really fast early and he was far back and just got beat. Today, we got good position all the way. He was getting a little tired late but he held on. It was only his third time. He really tried hard today.”
Streaking Factor This, fourth in 2019 KY Turf Cup, rolls in G2 Dinner Party
BALTIMORE – Jockey Florent Geroux and trainer Brad Cox teamed up for their second stakes win of the afternoon when Gaining Ground Racing’s Factor This cruised to a popular front-running 2 ¾-length score in Saturday’s $250,000 Dinner Party (G2) at Pimlico Race Course.
The 119th running of the Dinner Party (formerly the Dixie) is Pimlico’s oldest stakes race and the eighth-oldest in the country. The distance has changed eight times over its history, settling at the current 1 1/16 miles in 2014.
Factor This finished a good fourth as the pacesetter in last year’s $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup at 1 1/2 miles. He is the two-time winner of Ellis Park’s Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup but this year instead advanced to Churchill Downs rescheduled Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at 1 1/8 miles, finishing a close second after again setting the pace.
Factor This is trained by Brad Cox, who this year sent out Arklow to win the Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup for the second time in three years, having also prevailed in 2018 before finishing second last year behind 2020 runner-up Zulu Alpha.
An 11-time winner with more than $1 million in purse earnings going into the race, Factor This was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in a field of seven and quickly established her presence, sent to the lead from her far outside post by Geroux. Grade 3 winner Irish Strait pressed Factor This through splits of 24.28 and 48.74 seconds, with Grade 2 winner Somelikeithotbrown – rank early in the race – taking up the chase approaching the stretch. The top two gained separation through the lane but Factor This was able to find another gear, repel Somelikeithotbrown and draw clear.
Somelikeithotbrown, trained by Kentucky Downs’ 2020 meet champion and all-time win leader Mike Maker, was 6 ½ lengths clear of stablemate Hembree in third, with Doctor Mounty another half-length back in fourth. True Valour, O Dionysus and Irish Strait completed the order of finish.
Factor This was beaten less than a length after setting the pace in the 1 1/8-mile Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs in his prior start, but was cutting back to a distance where the 5-year-old now has five wins from eight tries, including Churchill Downs’ June 20 Wise Dan (G2). That win was part of a three-race streak interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic following victories in the Muniz Memorial Classic (G3) and Fair Grounds (G3).
The Dinner Party got its name after Maryland Governor Oden Bowie and several other notable racing figures attended the Saratoga races in 1868 and agreed during a luncheon on a plan to hold a race in 1870 for 3-year-olds. The race would be called the Dinner Party Stakes, with the winner hosting the others at a banquet following the event. The first winner of the Dinner Party, which offered $6,400 to the winner, was a horse named Preakness.
$250,000 Dinner Party (G2) Quotes
Ricky Giannini, Assistant to Trainer Brad Cox (Factor This) – “As long as he gets the lead and is allowed to relax out there, I think that’s the key for his races. About 48-and-change [seconds for the half-mile] is his ballpark. Anything more than that is even better. Softer fractions helped him a lot.”
Winning Jockey Florent Geroux (Factor This) – “He’s a very nice horse. It was a big class relief for the horse. He just ran a great race in the Grade 1 [Churchill Downs’ Turf Classic] on Derby day. It was a great spot for him and a nice confidence builder for the horse.”
“If somebody really wanted to go I probably would have gone to Plan B. But it looked like he was the fastest on paper and he was pretty good.”
Trainer Michael Maker (Somelikeithotbrown, 2nd): “We were supposed to be on the lead and not be covered up, but that’s not what we got. He’s a classy horse. I expected a big effort today. I just wish it was on the front end.”
Coming out of Music City, Evil Lyn in tune to win first stakes in HIlltop
BALTIMORE – Experience paid off for Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Evil Lyn, racing fourth time off the claim and becoming a stakes winner for the first time in her 14th career start in Saturday’s $100,000 Hilltop at Pimlico Race Course.
In her last start, Evil Lyn finished eighth in Kentucky Downs’ inaugural $400,000 Music City Stakes.
A 3-year-old daughter of the Spendthrift Farm stallion Wicked Strong trained by Kentucky Downs’ all-time win leader Mike Maker and ridden by Maryland-based Horacio Karamanos, Evil Lyn ($9.40) had made more starts than anyone in the 12-horse field and had been stakes-placed, running third in the Indiana Grand Stakes Aug. 12, her second race since being claimed for $40,000.
It was 80-1 long shot Hollywood Hoopla, breaking from the far outside post, that sprinted to the lead and held it after a quarter-mile in 23.94 seconds and a half in 48.50 with Caravel, undefeated in three career starts including the Lady Erie Stakes last out, and Ontario Colleen (G3) winner Chart right behind. Evil Lyn sat off the leaders, swept to the outside on the far turn and straightened for home in command, holding off a late rush from Vigilantes Way to win by a half-length in 1:42.25 over the yielding course.
The Hilltop is a shortened version of Pimlico’s long-standing nickname, Old Hilltop, in recognition of a large infield hill prominent for viewing races. The hill was leveled in 1938.
$100,000 Hilltop Quotes
Winning trainer Michael Maker (Evil Lyn) – “The first couple of races we ran her she was pretty keen. She got a nice stalking trip on the outside today and an excellent ride.”
(On claiming Evil Lyn) “We liked her stretching out on the turf. I thought her numbers were very good. A young filly and we took a shot.”
Winning Jockey Horacio Karamanos (Evil Lyn) – “I saw that my filly has a lot of speed, but there was a lot of speed in the race, too. The track is soft today and if you go fast, the horse doesn’t finish any good. My filly broke really well out of the gate. I stayed to the outside. When the speed moved inside of me, I tried to sit behind and relax.
“After the three-eighths pole the horses stopped a little bit and the (Michael) Trombetta horse (American Giant) was moving nicely and I followed her. At the top of the stretch she took the lead. I asked her to go and give me a nice kick and she was still going to the wire, thankfully. She was stopping a little bit, but not enough to finish second. She won nice.”
FLUFFY SOCKS COMFORTABLE WINNER OF $150,000 SELIMA
BALTIMORE – Head of Plains Partners’ homebred Fluffy Socks, stepping up off her maiden win last month at Kentucky Downs, scooted through an opening along the rail and surged past favored leader Invincible Gal to win the $150,000 Selima Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.
Trevor McCarthy, Maryland’s four-time champion jockey, was unhurried on Fluffy Socks near the back of the pack as maiden Domain Expertise and 8-5 top choice Invincible Gal duked it out up front through fractions of 25.57 seconds, 51.36 and 1:17.17. While waiting for room at the top of the stretch, McCarthy found a seam and sailed through to win by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:50.74 over the yielding course.
Invincible Gal, unlucky runner-up in Monmouth Park's one-mile Sorority, finished second with 21-1 long shot Tic Tic Tic Boom getting up for third.
It was the second Selima win for McCarthy following Ruby Notion in 2015. (Ruby Notion went on to win the Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint in 2018 before finishing fourth against boys in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.) Fluffy Socks, by British-bred Slumber, debuted running fifth Aug. 9 at Saratoga prior to her maiden score going a mile Sept. 7 at Kentucky Downs -- the first career win at Kentucky Downs for future Hall of Famer Chad Brown.
First run in 1926, the Selima is named for the great English race mare who was imported to the U.S. in the 1750s by Benjamin Tasker Jr., manager of the famed Belair Farm in Prince George’s County. The daughter of the Godolphin Arabian, considered ‘Queen of the Turf,’ also gained fame as a broodmare.
$150,000 Selima Quotes
Trevor McCarthy, Winning Jockey (Fluffy Socks) – “[Trainer] Chad [Brown] just gave me instructions to get a good break with her and just get her to relax the best I could and see where she wants to be comfortable-wise. We just kind of took it from the break. Walking the course this morning, it seemed the inside was the freshest part that we haven’t run on. I saved all the ground I could. When it came to the top of the stretch, I kind of made my way up and, actually, I was trying to angle my way outside and then the rail opened up and I said, ‘This is perfect.’ It was great to stay on the fresh ground most of the way.”