Trainer Orseno Hoping For ‘Another Miracle’ In Wednesday’s Franklin-Simpson Stakes

Four days after winning the $700,000 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint with Imprimis, trainer Joe Orseno will try to win another Grade 3 sprint stakes with 15-1 shot Another Miracle in Wednesday’s closing-day $500,000 Franklin-Simpson for 3-year-olds.

This will be Another Miracle’s third start for Orseno, who received the colt from longtime clients Leonard and Jon Green upon the retirement of Gary Contessa. Another Miracle won a stakes at Saratoga as a 2-year-old and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

“Believe it or not, I got Another Miracle because of Imprimis,” Orseno said. “They were talking about where the horses should go. Jon said to his dad, ‘Listen, Joe knows what to do. He campaigned Imprimis flawlessly. He knows horses like this.’ I think I can campaign any horse, but that was nice and I got him because of that, and I’m OK with that.”

Orseno only had Another Miracle 12 days when he ran in Gulfstream Park’s March 21 Texas Glitter Stakes, when Another Miracle missed the break, then hit the gate and generally had a bad trip the rest of the way in finishing seventh.

“It was just a throwout race,” he said. “I told Jon, ‘I think I just need to regroup with this horse and get to know him.’ We dropped back and gelded the horse, which he needed tremendously.”

Back in July 12 at Monmouth Park, Another Miracle won the $80,000 My Frenchman Stakes.

“He’s a different horse,” Orseno said of the son of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. “He’s very happy now. Listen, he was third in the Breeders’ Cup last year so he doesn’t have to get too much better to have a good campaign. I’m expecting a big race from him. He loves where he’s at at Kentucky Downs. He’s a horse who is really thriving.

“He’s 15-1 for a reason. There are some quality horses in there. But they’re all 3-year-olds. This is the time of the year where some get better. I like to think my horse will get better off one race for me.”

With jockey Paco Lopez serving a suspension, Gerardo Corrales has picked up the mount on Another Miracle. Corrales, in his first year riding at Kentucky Downs, has won four of 13 starts.

Meanwhile, Orseno said he’s delighted with how Imprimis came out of his victory. The 6-year-old gelding earned a fees-paid spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland with his neck victory over Bombard and Front Run the Fed, who dead-heated for second. Imprimis won last year’s Grade 2 Shakertown and was third in last fall’s Grade 2 Woodford at Keeneland. He came in sixth in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

Imprimis had surgery for correct a breathing obstruction and didn’t start his 2020 season until Saratoga’s Grade 3 Troy Stakes, in which he was disqualified from first to third. The RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint was his second start of the year.

“He looks fantastic,” Orseno said. “Everything says we’re leaning and pushing toward the Breeders’ Cup. So we’ll start to get him ready. He likes Keeneland, and if it’s a little soft, it doesn’t bother him. And it could be soft on Nov. 7.

“Last year his first race in the Silks Run (at Gulfstream) was just phenomenal, and he came back and won the Shakertown at Keeneland,” Orseno said. “It looked like he was on his way. We got a little sidetracked, took him to Royal Ascot. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best thing for the horse, but we wanted to try it. It just didn’t work. Getting him back off of that was the tough part. So it’s really gratifying, especially knowing some of the work we did to him and bringing him back. You never know when you do all that with a horse. You hope and pray he’s the same horse. But a lot of them come back and they’re not.”

Orseno thinks Imprimis is a better horse this year “all the way around.

“His coat and his weight he’s carrying, he’s very happy,” he said. “I think it all goes with the time off, what we did and the horse was not getting all his air — and now he’s getting all his air and he’s very happy.”

Orseno said he’ll go into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with a good measure of confidence.

“I knew I won the race, but I didn’t realize the trip he got until I watched the replay a bunch of times,” he said of the RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint. “For him at the top of the stretch to be where he was and to swing out seven-wide — I know it’s a long stretch and you still have a quarter-mile to go — but I think he overcame a lot in that race in running them down. I was really pleased with that.”

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