(Photo: Snapper Sinclair (#1), with Julien Leparoux aboard, captured the $750,000 Tourist Mile. Coady Photography)
FRANKLIN, Ky. – Snapper Sinclair likes the track at Kentucky Downs. A lot.
Saturday in the richest race of the opening day of the RUNHAPPY meet at Kentucky Downs, the $749,000 Tourist Mile, Snapper Sinclair rallied to catch pacesetting Real Story in the shadow of the wire to score by a half-length, pushing his local record to two-for-two. In 2017 during his 2-year-old season, he won the Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile Stakes with aplomb.
Snapper Sinclair is not alone in being perfect at Kentucky Downs. So, too, is his owner, Bloom Racing, now four-for-four at the all-turf kidney-shaped oval in southern Kentucky.
“Snapper Sinclair started it all off for us at Kentucky Downs,” said Jeff Bloom of Bloom Racing. “He’s such a deserving horse. He’s had some trips where he arguably could have been the winner, but he did it today. If you look at his resume, he’s been so versatile, run against some of the best horses in the country. You like to see these kind of horses get their day in the sun, and he definitely got it today.”
The race, which seemed evenly matched on paper, was also decided in a tight, blanket finish. In addition to the narrow half-length margin between first and second, there was little separating those immediately behind the first duo across the wire. First Premio was a neck back in third, followed another neck by 5-2 favorite Hembree. Then, following those four were Majestic Eagle, Exulting, Next Shares, Mr Cub, Parlor, Bandar, Great Wide Open and Rare Form.
Races over the unique, undulating course at Kentucky Downs are hand-timed. Snapper Sinclair, who rallied from 11th nearing the top of the lane, was credited with the mile in 1:37.95 after he saw pace splits unfold in front of him in 48.47 seconds for the first half-mile and a moderate 1:13.26 after six furlongs, set by Real Story.
“We were pretty close to the pace but around the turn we got shuffled back a bit,” winning Julien Leparoux said. “He loves the track. He traveled very nice for me. When I got him outside he finished up very strong for me. This track you have to have the horse to love it, and he does.”
The Tourist Mile was only the third career turf start for the 4-year-old Snapper Sinclair. His sole turf loss came on a yielding track sprinting at Keeneland last October, though most of his experience has come on dirt.
“He’s an extremely versatile horse,” said his Hall of Fame trainer, Steve Asmussen. “It’s been a ton of fun, and it’s great to see him in such good form right now.”
While both turf and dirt are an option for Snapper Sinclair, trainer Ignacio Correas said runner-up Real Story could run in Keeneland's Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Mile.
"I'm very proud of the horse," said Real Story's jockey, Joe Bravo. "Every time he changed leads, he came back. Looking at the horse that beat us, Snapper Sinclair is a good horse and stepped up to it. But my guy didn't want to let it down."
David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said First Premio had one of his best performances in finishing third under Miguel Mena.
“Certainly one of his best races," Carroll said. "He got a terrific ride. He came into the race beautifully. It obviously was a very tough spot. We just told Miguel to ride your own race, get him comfortable. And he came running. I thought we were going to get them for a little bit, but very proud of his effort.”
Snapper Sinclair now has five wins, four seconds and two thirds from 18 starts. He likes the mile distance, having won three times in five outings, with two of those wins coming on dirt.
The Tourist Mile, which carries one of the richest turf mile purses in North America, was worth $440,640 to the winner and vaulted him to millionaire status, pushing his earnings to $1,040,404
Snapper Sinclair is a son of the now-deceased sire City Zip out of True Addiction, by Yes It's True. He was bred in Kentucky by K & G Stables and was sold at the Spring Ocala sale on April 2017 for $180,000.