Plum Ali, Barrister Tom ($90!), Dalika win opening-day stakes

Kentucky Downs publicity

(Grace Clark photo: Plum Ali winning The Mint Juvenile Fillies under Tyler Gaffalione)

Clement wins The Mint Juvenile Fillies for third time

In the ninth running of the $462,400 The Mint Juvenile Fillies, Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ Plum Ali took command at midstretch and drew off for a 2 3/4-length victory over Flown to give trainer Christophe Clement his third victory in the race.

A Kentucky-bred daughter of First Samurai out of the Stroll mare Skipping, Plum Ali covered the mile in 1:35.74 under Tyler Gaffalione, who posted his third victory of the afternoon.

The victory was worth $291,400 and increased Plum Ali’s earnings to $331,000 with a perfect two-for-two mark.

Plum Ali rewarded her backers with mutuels of $4.40, $3 and $2.80. Flown, ridden by John Velazquez, returned $7 and $5.80 and finished a neck in front of Oliviaofthedesert who paid $6.20 to show under Brian Hernandez Jr.

It was another neck back to Cecile’s Chapter in fourth with Beautiful Star, Dream Quist, Yogurt, Sunshine City, Stephanies Jewel, Long Monday and Maci’s Jamming following in order.

Roger Horgan assistant to Christophe Clement (winning trainer Plum Ali): “She has been special since Day One. We never cranked on her before her first start because she was going to run long. This was actually an audible. She was going to run in the With Anticipation at Saratoga but it got rained off the turf. So we came here for five times the money.”

Tyler Gaffalione (winning jockey, Plum Ali): “Christophe gave me a call this morning and said he put me on one of his best ones. She was supposed to run at Saratoga, but with all the rain, he figured this was an easier spot for her. Great job by them. She came over ready to run today. Boy, what an incredible filly.”

John Velazquez (runner-up jockey on Flown): “She ran really well, put in a really good run. Obviously the best horse beat her today.”

Barrister Tom pays $90 to win in Look For The Star Juvenile

Bantry Farms’ Barrister Tom scored a 44-1 upset in the $498,000 Look For The Star Juvenile for 2-year-olds by posting a half-length victory over Pivotal Mission to give jockey Tyler Baze his first victory at Kentucky Downs.

Getting a ground-saving trip from Baze, Barrister Tom sat just off a speed duel by Gypsy King and Dreamer’s Disease. In the stretch, Barrister Tom stayed on the inside and held off Pivotal Mission, completing the mile in 1:35.71.

Barrister Tom is a Kentucky-bred son of Artie Schiller out of the Parading mare Taylor Lane and is now a perfect two-for-two on the turf. The victory was worth $300,700 and increased his earnings to $316,900.

Barrister Tom returned $90, $28.20 and $11. Pivotal Mission, ridden by John Velazquez, returned $5 and $3.60 and finished a neck in front of Indy Tourist who paid $3.80 to show under Florent Geroux.

It was another neck back to Shawdyshawdyshawdy who was followed in order by Gypsy King, Really Slow, Citadel and Dreamer’s Disease. Snake Doctor suffered catastrophic injuries to his right front leg on the turn and had to be euthanized. Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. was cleared by medical personnel to ride the next race.

Michael Ann Ewing (winning owner-trainer Barrister Tom) — “Tyler (Baze) rode him perfectly. Saved ground laying third. I am thrilled. If you adjust his last race for pace his figure came back with a good number. He has trained awesomely since that race (Aug. 7) and I was hopeful. Maybe (he will go to the Bourbon (G2) on Oct. 4 at Keeneland) but hopefully we can go to the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Turf).”

Tyler Baze (winning jockey Barrister Tom): “I had a beautiful trip. Michael pretty much just left it up to me. She said, ‘You do what you think is right.’ I had a perfect trip, got to the rail. What a nice little horse. He’s got a lot of heart. It was nice for them to let me ride the horse. I don’t know what he paid. I know he was about 50-1. I’m just excited. It’s my first win at Kentucky Downs, and I look forward to some more next week.”

Graham Motion (runner-up trainer Pivotal Mission) — “He ran very well. It’s just a little frustrating but it was a good effort.”

Dalika puts it all together in One Dreamer Stakes

In the sixth running of the $182,610 One Dreamer for fillies and mares, Bal Mar Equine’s Dalika (GER) rated just off the pace before surging to the front in midstretch and held off a bid from Madita (GER) to post a one-length victory.

Trained by Al Stall Jr. and ridden by Miguel Mena, Dalika covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:37.45

Dalika is a 4-year-old daughter of Pastorius (GER) out of the Hurricane Run (IRE) mare Drawn To Run (IRE). She picked up $86,490 for the victory to boost her earnings to $272,495 with a record of 14-4-4-0.

Dalika returned $14.40, $6.40 and $5.20. Madita, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $19.20 and $12 and finished a neck in front of Our Bay B Ruth, who paid $6.20 to show under Tyler Gaffalione.

It was another three-quarters of a length back to Xanthique, who was followed in order by Varenka, Passing Out, Curlin’s Journey, Speedy Solution, Queen Medb (IRE), Harmless, Strike My Fancy and Rushingirl.

Winning trainer Al Stall Jr. (Dalika) — “This race had conditions and the competition helped. She always has been talented; she’s Grade 2 placed, but she has been aggressive (in the past) and we like to get her to settle like she did today. (Owner) Paul (Varga) and I will look at the First Lady (G1 at Keeneland on Oct. 3).”

Winning jockey Miguel Mena (Dalika) - “Nice filly for Al. He was hitting the board with her in Saratoga with Joel Rosario. She’s always been right there. She was set up for this win. She’s been training very well coming into the race. She was on it today. She broke very good, she was loving her position, loving the course, too. She was the best horse today.”

Brian Hernandez Jr. (second on Madita) — “She ran good. She settled in great. Turning for home I thought I was on the winner. But the winner just dug in and kicked on.”

The fifth race was declared a no contest after an apparent gate malfunction resulted in the stall doors opening while #6 Mechanicville and #12 Catman remained behind the gate. Track management said the owners of each horse involved in the race would receive $5,000 and each jockey $500 out of the purse account. The racing office will work on an opportunity for the horses to run back at the meet if their connections choose.

Frank Smothers, the oldest racing official in Kentucky and quite possibly in the country, turned 94 years old Monday. Smothers, who lives in Bowling Green, is a former jockey who served in the Army during World War II and the Korean War.