Bound For Nowhere Among Stakes Winners On Big Opening Day At Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs had its second-highest betting day in track history on Saturday’s opening card of the five-day meet offering among the highest average daily purses in the world, with a total of $6,205,873 bet on the 10-race card that featured four stakes.

The day is topped only by the $8,487,323 wagered on what would have been the second Saturday of last year’s meet, when the opening day was delayed until Wednesday by torrential rain. It tops the $6,044,717 bet on the Sunday of last year’s meet to rank No. 2 all-time.

“I thought it was a great day all the way around,” said Ted Nicholson, senior vice president and general manager of Kentucky Downs. “We saw a lot of great racing. We had a huge crowd. It seemed like everybody had fun, from kids and families all the way to the hard-core players. We bet really well on-track and mostly off-track obviously.

“It was a great opening day. There are always things for us to improve on, and we plan to do just that.”

Bound for Nowhere bounds into Tourist Mile winner’s circle
Bound for Nowhere had never been beyond six furlongs, but owner-trainer Wesley Ward was more than willing to take a shot. And now he’s bound for the bank after Bound For Nowhere and jockey Julio Garcia defeated Great Wide Open by a length in Saturday’s featured $681,400 Tourist Mile, presented by WinStar Farm, on opening day Kentucky Downs.

Ward has won a more lucrative race as an owner, when Judy the Beauty captured the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint in 2014.

“But we’ll take this one for sure,” he said. “My son called me from the University of Miami. He’s on a full-ride scholarship from the Bank of Dad. So I said he’s good again for next year.”

The 4-year-old Bound for Nowhere’s most recent start yielded an admirable third-place finish at Royal Ascot in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee, beaten less than a length running a straight six furlongs. However, he entered the Tourist Mile undefeated here at home, and the Tourist Mile was his fifth win in as many starts on domestic soil.

“I’ve always wanted to stretch him out, always thought he was a miler,” Ward said. “He’s a big colt, rangy guy, got big airway, has no issues, no problems. It’s just he’s so good at sprinting. When he ran at Ascot and ran so well, this was the race we were pointing for all along. But the closer we got to it, the more I was second-guessing where I would go. But thanks to Julio and the team I have, we all got together and made a decision and it turned out right.”

The race played out in a straightforward way. Great Wide Open, considered an outsider by bettors at 18-1 in the seven-horse field, went straight to the lead under James Graham while Bound for Nowhere and Julio Garcia stalked as the 9-5 second choice. Mr. Misunderstood, the 6-5 favorite, bided his time on the rail in fourth around the turn behind the top two as Bandar made a short-lived run at the leaders heading into the stretch.

Well out on the track running in the lane, Bound for Nowhere and jockey Julio Garcia drew clear in mid-stretch and defeated a stubborn Great Wide Open by a length while completing matters in 1:40.97 over turf rated firm. Bound for Nowhere paid $5.60 to win, $3.40 to place and $2.40 to show.

“Conor said he was doing good,” Graham said of Great Wide Open trainer Conor Murphy. “He ran his race. I love him. he’s one of those good kind because he tries hard every time. The couple of times he hasn’t run good, the ground had been too hard, they ran quick in front of him. He ran quick today, and he didn’t slow down. The best horse won.”

“That was a lovely run,” Murphy said. “I was a big worried coming down here that the ground would be too firm, but there’s a nice little bit of give in there, which his horse needs. I didn’t expect him to beat Wesley’s horse or Mr. Misunderstood. But we know he handles this track because he ran over similar tracks in Ireland, so we thought we’d take a shot. We’re delighted. We gave him a break after Canterbury (when eighth in the Mystic Lake Mile) because I ran him eight times in three months, which I never do with my horses. But he’s that type of horse that needs to run. I’m elated. Lovely run off the layoff.”

Mr. Misunderstood stayed on to finish third, another 1 1/4 lengths back, edging Krampus by a neck. Those four were followed by Bandar, Mr Cub and Camelot Kitten. Master Merion was scratched.

Mr. Misunderstood lost for only the fourth time in 14 turf starts.

“He was never on the bit, completely off the bridle,” said jockey Florent Geroux. “He never traveled well. I was kind of pushing on him the whole way.”

Bound for Nowhere’s biggest problem was loading, as he balked several times before going in.

“He’s always a very relaxed horse,” Ward said. “It’s just when he gets to the gate that’s the issue. He had problems at Ascot, had problems at Keeneland in the spring. He gets there and kind of throws his head up and doesn’t want to load, kind of gets a little hot and anxious. He’s like a pony (otherwise). My daughter could gallop the horse with two hands; he’s a sweet heart. That’s one of the reasons we thought he’d go a mile.”

Bound for Nowhere swung his head around going into the gate, but Ward gave Kentucky Downs starter Spec Alexander, also the starter at Keeneland, credit.

“Spec has been working on him at Keeneland,” said Ward, whose main base is Keeneland. “He knows him very well. We’ve schooled him multiple times at Keeneland and he was ready for him today.”

After impressively breaking his maiden in his debut on Turfway Park’s synthetic surface in January of last year, Bound for Nowhere won a turf allowance going 5 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland by more than four lengths. He finished a solid fourth in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next, followed by a sound beating in the LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest in August. Bound for Nowhere returned seven months later to win a Turfway allowance, and he won the Grade 2 Shakertown at Keeneland a month after that before heading to Ascot.

Overall, Bound for Nowhere has five wins from eight starts with a third, and counting the Tourist Mile purse of $455,700 has total earnings of $755,683. Ward purchased Bound for Nowhere for $310,000.

The winner was bred in Kentucky by Wayne Lyster, Gray Lyster and Bryan Lyster. He’s out of the Alydeed mare Fancy Deed.

Henley’s Joy gives Bloom Racing repeat in KY Downs Juvenile
The $390,600 Kentucky Downs Juvenile was won by Bloom Racing Stable’s Henley’s Joy, extending a year of success for the owner of prominent 3-year-old filly Midnight Bisou. Bloom Racing captured last year’s Juvenile with the Steve Asmussen-trained Snapper Sinclair, while Henley’s Joy is trained by Mike Maker, Kentucky Downs’ all-time winningest trainer and three-time defending meet champion.

“I was anxious the whole way down the stretch, but Mike had this horse just primed and ready and he showed what he’s made of,” Bloom said after Henley’s Joy won by a head over Tracksmith, trained by Maker’s former assistant Joe Sharp. “It doesn’t get old, I’ll tell you that much. I love this race.”

When it was suggested he seemed calmer than last year, Bloom joked, “That’s the Maker’s Mark, I think, tempering everything. I was smart and made sure I had calmed the nervous a little bit. So relatively calm? I don’t think so. And I think I actually ran a little bit farther down the stretch this year than I did last year. So I think I should get some credit for that, I think.

“We’ve been really high on this horse from the get-go, and Mike has always maintained that this is a nice horse. Obviously for this horse to do what he did first time out, then to come back off just this one start, Mike has done just a remarkable job with him and we have high expectations for him.”

Sitting comfortably for Tyler Gaffalione near the rail in fifth place on the run up the backstretch and about four lengths back around the sweeping turn, Henley’s Joy cut the corner into the stretch to get into contention. He appeared to get the lead between calls, but an eighth of a mile from home he was inside on the rail behind Tracksmith and jockey Adam Beschizza. Henley’s Joy re-broke and in a gritty performance prevailed by a head.

“What a professional race he put in today,” Gaffalione said. “All the credit goes to Mike and his team having him ready for this race. He broke alertly. I think it was the addition of blinkers that put him more forwardly placed. When I asked him for run, he moved up a tight spot on the rail and fought on hard. He could be anything. He’s really special. I’m looking forward to getting on him again.”

The win sent Henley’s Joy’s record to two wins from two starts. He broke his maiden at Ellis Park on July 21 going today’s distance of one mile. He was timed in 1:43.33 on firm turf in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile while sporting blinkers for the first time.

“We tried them on one morning and he was very professional and into the bridle,” Maker said. “We thought it was a no brainer. I don’t think he’d have liked being in that tight without the blinkers on. I don’t think he likes it that tight with blinkers on. But he’s such a nice horse he overcame it.”

The win was the second of the day for Maker and Gaffalione, who also teamed up to take the third race on the card. Henley’s Joy was sent off as the 9-5 favorite and returned backers $5.60 to win, $3.60 to place and $2.60 to show.

A son of Kitten’s Joy bred by Kenneth L. Ramsey and Sarah K. Ramsey, Henley’s Joy is out of Blue Grass Music, by Bluegrass Cat. Jeff Bloom bought the colt at the April 2018 OBS 2-year-olds in training sale for $50,000.

Maker said Henley’s Joy could run once more at Keeneland and then in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs.

The filly Drajic finished four lengths back of Tracksmith in third, followed by Jia’s Solitude, Best You Ever Seen, Pole Setter, Mr Zydeco, All American Hero, Good Good, Pradar and Coral Legacy.

It was an Ellis Park exacta (which paid $59.60 for $2) featuring horses making their second start after winning their debuts at the Henderson track. Tracksmith won at Ellis on Aug. 3.

“He ran big,” Beschizza said. “He got a little tired there the last 50 yards. They are two very nice 2-year-olds. You take those two any day of the week and they’ll run to a good standard. I said to Joe after he won at Ellis, that I think he’s smart and maybe to have this race in mind. He did and it nearly paid off. He just got a little bit tired here. It’s a little bit of the unknown coming here. You have to have all boxes checked. But he’s pretty smart, and there will be some nice races for him.”

No technicality here as Miss Technicality romps in Juvenile Fillies
Miss Technicality recorded the largest winning margin of Kentucky Downs’ opening day while taking the Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Stakes by six lengths over Lightscameraaction.

She was a strong favorite, too, so the crowd got it right. At even money, the Christophe Clement-trained Miss Technicality paid bettors $4.00 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, the lowest parimutuel prices of the day.

“It’s not easy to just ship in an run on this track,” said jockey Julien Leparoux, the defending Kentucky Downs riding champion who capped a three-win day. “She showed a lot of ability, and she’s a pro. She won at Belmont but I’ve been breezing her the last several times at Saratoga. She was working very well. The goal with Christophe was to come here. He loved her, and she showed a lot of ability. She won very easy. She traveled very good. It was just whenever I wanted to ask her, and she kicked on very nicely. Which is a good feeling to have on this track.”

Miss Technicality was content to lay back in eighth in the early going while City Diva, Lightscameraaction and Two Shakes contended for the lead. The latter one, second choice at 4-1, faded in the turn, but City Diva and apprentice jockey Edgar Morales led into the stretch, closely followed by Lightscameraaction ridden by Robby Albarado. But Miss Technicality, confidently ridden by Leparoux, made a sustained run to easily clear the field.

Lightscameraaction bested City Diva by a length for the place, with Noble Love less than a length further back in fourth. They were followed by My Wynter Rose, Lucky Girasol, Two Shakes, Zabava, Sexyama, Rogue Too, My Jilly and War Ballad. British Invader (GB), No Mo Temper and Road Tiger were scratched.

With the victory, her second in as many starts, Miss Technicality earned $230,640 from the $398,000 purse. She debuted at Belmont Park on July 6 and won despite hitting the gate at the start.

Clement also trained the winner’s sire, Gio Ponti, a winner of $6,169,800. Miss Technicality is owned by Terry Murray’s Namcook Stables LLC and John J. McCormack. Bred in Kentucky by McCormack, the striking chestnut filly is out of Double Jackpot, by Broken Vow.

“From Christophe’s point of view, he said, ‘John, I think I like this filly more than the way you talk about her. I like this filly; she’s been training well, and she’s improved in her training from her maiden win at Belmont,’” McCormack said. “And we were confident in the way she’s bred that she’s get farther. She’s a relaxed filly by nature and a kind filly to be around. She has lovely breeding with 40 years of engineering by the Phipps family. We’ve tapped into that, and grateful to have that opportunity.”

McCormack said Clement loves Kentucky Downs. “He really does. Like all trainers when they have one that has won first-time out, you have a little bit of the blue sky there and you look at different options. But Kentucky Downs is always in Christophe’s plan. Up at Saratoga he told me that. Christophe is such a great trainer, such a great guy, and we’re lucky to be part of his team.”

Said Murray: “Christophe was very optimistic about her. We knew this was a step up. He was very confident, and we of course as owners are always a little apprehensive. As it turned out he was right, and it was a great performance.”

On Leave gets back to work, wins One Dreamer
The 5-year-old mare On Leave hadn’t won a stakes race this year, but trainer Shug McGaughey took care of that issue in the $250,000 One Dreamer Stakes.

The One Dreamer is for fillies and mares 3 years old and up that haven’t won a stakes race this year, a condition that hit On Leave right between the eyes, as she won by a half-length over I Remember Mama.

It was the second straight win in the One Dream for McGaughey and owner Stuart Janney III, following My Impression a year ago.

“It looked like she was about the winner the whole way around there,” said Reeve McGaughey, the son of and assistant to the trainer. “I think the horse on the lead stopped pretty quick, so he probably made the lead a little earlier than he wanted. He said she kind of wanted to wait on other horses, which is not anything new for her. But she finished up well. I think she won pretty comfortably.

“She hasn’t won a race since December, so hopefully this gets her confidence going again. Now we can maybe take a shot against the big girls again.”

On Leave competed in multiple graded stakes from Gulfstream Park to Belmont Park this year, but came up just a bit short each time. With blinkers added for this race and sent off at 3-2 odds from near the far outside post under Florent Geroux, On Leave bided her time well off the rail and 2 1/2 lengths off the pace behind longshots Youngest Daughter and Burma Road as well as Gianna’s Dream and 62-1 shot Arraign up the backstretch Heading into the sweeping, downhill far turn of the European-style turf course.

Leaving the turn, Youngest Daughter, Burma Road and Arraign still led, but Geroux was asking a responsive On Leave. She soon took command and at the furlong marker led by 1 1/2 lengths under urging.

“I was laying about fourth,” Geroux said. “There were about three horses going for the lead and I was on the outside. I sat there and saw those horses were getting tired maybe before the quarter pole, so I took my filly out. Actually I felt I was maybe making the lead a little bit soon because she’s had the tendency of not winning lately. But when those horses started stopping in front, I didn’t want to take the risk of the heavy favorite being stuck behind horses. So I decided to move from there. She ran all the way to the wire. She got to wandering around the last eighth of a mile. But she was able to hold off those horses.”

I Remember Mama and jockey Corey Lanerie made a serious run at On Leave mid-stretch, but she turned them back to win by a half-length, timed in 1:45.79 for a mile and 70 yards.

“She broke and she was just so relaxed back there,” Lanerie said. “I was maybe a little farther back than I would have wanted but I let her run her race. Then at the quarter pole, just finding which lane where I wouldn’t get stopped. Kind of got lucky and got right through but the wire came up just a little too soon. I don’t know if I was going to get by her (On Leave), but I felt like I was going to. But she ran awesome.”

Said Tommy Drury, trainer of I Remember Mama: “We knew we were stepping up and taking a shot. I’m just glad we ran well and she’s back safe. I think we can get the call on Lanerie at Churchill now. I’m just really proud of her. She just ran her race, and that’s all we can ever ask of them. Glad to be a part of it.”

Last Promise Kept, ridden by Feargal Lynch, was a head back of I Remember Mama in third, followed a neck by Dubara.

The remaining order of finish was Arraign in fifth followed by Burma Road, Red Dane, English Affair, Gianna’s Dream and Youngest Daughter. Prado’s Sweet Ride was pulled up after the start. Celestial Insight and Con Te Partiro were scratched.

Of the $239,875 purse, $147,250 goes to the winning owner Stuart S. Janney III. On Leave returned her backers $5.00 to win, $3.60 to place and $2.80 to show.

A 5-year-old gray or roan mare, On Leave is by War Front out of Meghan’s Joy, by A.P. Indy. She was bred in Kentucky by Janney.

On Leave had been winless since taking the Grade 3 My Charmer Stakes at Gulfstream Park last December. In March, she was beaten a half-length in the Grade III Honey Fox at the same track, and she followed that with a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes on Kentucky Derby day; a close fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Just A Game at Belmont Park in June; and a fourth-place run in the listed Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga last time out.

The post Bound For Nowhere Among Stakes Winners On Big Opening Day At Kentucky Downs appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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