McKinzie Bounces Back To Take G2 Alysheba On Oaks Undercard

At various points in the Grade 2 Alysheba, it looked like morning line favorite McKinzie was beaten, but the Bob Baffert trainee bounced back in the stretch to win the race by daylight.

Jockey Mike Smith hustled the 4-year-old out of the gate early and initially took the early lead, then dropped back behindTom’s D’Etat halfway down the backstretch. Tom’s D’Etat kicked clear and Bourbon Resolution passed rail-riding McKinzie before the latter found a new gear in the turn, weaving between horses drawing away through the stretch. The final margin was 4 3/4 lengths.

The son of Street Sense came to the Alysheba off two close seconds in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap and G2 San Pasqual after finishing his 2018 season with a win in the G1 Malibu.

Baffert trains McKinzie for Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. He was bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Farm and was a $160,000 yearling at the 2016 Keeneland September Sale, where he was consigned by Lane’s End and signed for by Three Amigos. McKinzie is out of Petitionville mare Runway Model.

Tom’s D’Etat finished second, while late-closing Seeking The Soul was third.

The final time for the 1 1/16 miles over a surface rated “good” was 1:41.10 — hundredths of a second off the track record for the distance. McKinzie went off at odds of 3-5 and paid $3.40 to win.

See the full chart here.

ALYSHEBA QUOTES, courtesy of the Churchill Downs press office

MIKE SMITH (rider of McKinzie, winner) – “You know that’s not something you do every day and nine times out of 10 it might not work. But he was telling me he wasn’t ready to go, he was kind of slipping around down there and I said let me give him a breather here and see what he does. And I kind of took a hold of him and he backed up nice and I said OK ‘come on, come on’ and all of the sudden he filled up with air and then I needed some room bad at that point because I was going to run over somebody. I did that on purpose. Again, nine times out of 10 it would never work and I would never do that but he was telling me to do it and I listened to him. You’d be surprised when you listen, things seem to pay off a lot more.” 

BOB BAFFERT (trainer of McKinzie, winner) – “I knew if there was one horse who can’t get beat this week it was this guy right there. He was going to set the tone for us. He’s been training well but you have to win to get it going. Especially this horse. He’s had some tough breaks, tough losses. I was a little bit worried about him down the backside. Mikey (Smith) got in a hole on him and I thought ‘not again’. But I think we’re learning more about this horse and the way he wants to run. I think he wants to run that way. They had him in a good pocket but when he made that move I knew it was going to be over.

“We’re getting to know the horse and I thought he would put him on the lead today. But he said he didn’t feel comfortable being on the lead like that and really didn’t want to be on the lead. He was like riding a helicopter today so it’s good he got the job done. I love those kind of horses.” 

SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN (rider of Tom’s d’Etat, runner-up) – “I thought my horse ran as hard he could. McKinzie was just really tough.  He got the best of us today but I am super proud of his effort today.” 

AL STALL JR. (trainer of Tom’s d’Etat, runner-up) – “He missed some training in New Orleans with an abscess in the foot. Shaun said Mike Smith was smooching and scrubbing the whole time and (McKinzie) wasn’t responding, but our horse responded to him and got a little aggressive. He maybe overdid it a bit on the backside and second turn and he came up a little empty, but was obviously second-best.”

JOHN VELAZQUEZ (rider of Seeking the Soul, third) – “He broke really sharp today. I thought he ran a very respectable race. I don’t know if he was too flat but I do think this race could help move his fitness level up.”

The post McKinzie Bounces Back To Take G2 Alysheba On Oaks Undercard appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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