(Imprimis wins Turf Sprint Stakes / Coady Photography & Courtesy of KY Downs)

From the KY Downs Media Team / Jennie Rees:

One year after getting beat as the favorite in the Grade 3, $700,000 Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes, Imprimis rewarded those who retained the faith in him on Saturday as the Broken Vow gelding got up by a neck over Front Run the Fed to capture the 2020 edition of the race at Kentucky Downs.
The six-furlong Turf Sprint offered the winner a fees-paid spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1) on Nov. 7 at Keeneland as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series’ “Win and You’re In” program.
The trip to Kentucky Downs for Imprimis represented just the second start of the year for the 6-year-old and his first win since taking the 2019 Grade 2 Shakertown Stakes. Though the record shows the dark bay gelding coming in off a loss in the Grade 3 Troy Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8, he actually crossed the wire first by 2 ¼ lengths that day but was disqualified for interference and placed third.
“None of us were happy about it. I’d say 90 percent of the people, because they’re my friends or trying to make me feel better, they all thought we got a bad deal,” trainer Joe Orseno said. “But it is what it is. You can’t take the win away from the horse. He ran his heart out off a 10-month layoff. Went up there and won that. We’re going to get to our goal, that’s the Breeders’ Cup. He loves Keeneland. So we’re pretty excited.”
That big run Imprimis put in at Saratoga was his first start since running sixth in the last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and it served a warning for the kind of form he would bring to Franklin, Ky.
Sent off as the 3-1 favorite in the 11-horse field, Imprimis rated in fifth in an outside path as Bombard covered the opening quarter mile in :22.39 but found himself shuffled back with a wall of horses in front of him as the field reached the top of the stretch.
With three-sixteenths of a mile to go, Imprimis began making his big on the far outside under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and ended up in a three-way battle to the wire that saw him surge past Front Run the Fed and third-place finisher Bombard.
“A year ago (when fourth as the favorite), it was his first race since Royal Ascot,” Orseno said. “He wasn’t quite back to himself. We tried to rush him along for the Breeders’ Cup. We probably made a couple of bad moves.
“I had him where I wanted him (this year),” Orseno added. “I did everything we could do as far as the training and everything he’s doing, his weight. We were very happy with him coming here. I expected this effort. But this was a tough race. There were some quality horses in there. I mean, the Breeders’ Cup won’t be any tougher. We’re very happy where we have him right now.”
Said Ortiz: “He ran big. I rode him before on the soft turf at Pimlico, and I knew he handled it pretty good. So I wasn’t afraid. I rode him with confidence. They moved outside of me, and I didn’t want to see that, but they moved so I said let me just wait because it was a little early. When I tipped him out, he responded really well. He was coming.”
When Imprimis hit the wire in 1:09.93 over a course rated soft, it capped a huge day for owner Mike Hall of Breeze Easy, LLC, who also won the $500,000 Bal a Bali Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes with Outadore.
“It feels wonderful. What a wonderful horse,” Hall said of Imprimis. “We’ve had so much fun with him. Since the day we bought him, he’s just been an awesome horse. Joe Orseno has done a great job keeping him going.”
Hall was just sorry that his Breeze Easy partner Sam Ross was home in Parkersburg, W.V. and not at the track. “I know he’s jumping up and down,” Hall said. “I love him like my dad, and if it wasn’t for him, we probably wouldn’t be here. He makes this whole game for us much more exciting than what I could do by myself.”
Totally Boss, winner of the Turf Sprint Stakes last year, finished seventh on Saturday.
“He didn’t seem to like the track today,” said Florent Geroux, jockey for Totally Boss. “He was stumbling a lot and never got his footing right. He ran even, but hated the track from the beginning. He was never in a good spot.”
Bred in Florida by Craig Wheeler, Imprimis now boasts eight wins from 15 career starts with $759,948 in earnings.
Quotes
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Imprimis: “He ran big. I rode him before on the soft turf at Pimlico, and I knew he handled it pretty good. So I wasn’t afraid. I rode him with confidence. They moved outside of me, and I didn’t want to see that, but they moved so I said let me just wait because it was a little early. When I tipped him out, he responded really well. He was coming.”
Jockey, Flavien Prat, 2nd on Bombard: “We had a good trip. He was comfortable on the lead and he made a good run.”
Dell Hancock, co-owner of Bombard: “We’re thrilled with him. I love that horse, and I thought he was going to win it.”
Florent Geroux, jockey for Totally Boss, beaten contender in the Runhappy Turf Sprint: “He didn’t seem to like the track today. He was stumbling a lot and never got his footing right. He ran even, but hated the track from the beginning. He was never in a good spot.”
Trainer Joe Orseno, Imprimis: “A year ago (when fourth as the favorite), it was his first race since Royal Ascot. He wasn’t quite back to himself. We tried to rush him along for the Breeders’ Cup. We probably made a couple of bad moves. But you know what? The horse responded. He ran his heart out (last year), and he had a bad trip. And this year he had a good trip.
“(On all time off this year) “I’d say three-quarters of it was by design. We did a throat surgery on him (procedure known as a “tie-back”). We weren’t quite happy with it, so we went ahead and just touched it up again. Instead of rushing him back, we talked about it with the racing manager and we said if he has two races before the Breeders’ Cup, we’d be happy with that. We picked out the Troy like 10 months ago when he was on the table. We made the Troy and we liked the timing for this race.”
(What about DQ in the Troy?) “None of us were happy about it. I’d say 90 percent of the people, because they’re my friends or trying to make me feel better, they all thought we got a bad deal. But it is what it is. You can’t take the win away from the horse. He ran his heart out off a 10-month layoff. Went up there and won that. We’re going to get to our goal, that’s the Breeders’ Cup. He loves Keeneland. So we’re pretty excited.”
(And now second start off layoff getting free roll into Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint) “It’s huge. We’re not happy, we’re ecstatic, the whole team.”
“I had him where I wanted him. I did everything we could do as far as the training and everything he’s doing, his weight. We were very happy with him coming here. I expected this effort. But this was a tough race. It’s a $700,000, even though (as a Florida-bred) we were running for $500,000. There were some quality horses in there. I mean, the Breeders’ Cup won’t be any tougher. We’re very happy where we have him right now.”
Mike Hall (Breeze Easy, LLC), owner of Imprimis: (On how it feels to have two winners on today’s card at KY Downs): “It feels wonderful. What a wonderful horse. We’ve had so much fun with him. Since the day we bought him, he’s just been an awesome horse. (Trainer) Joe Orseno has done a great job keeping him going.”
“We bought the horse from Craig Wheeler and his wife Liz Wheeler. They’re are awesome people . They told me they were selling me a good horse. Some people you can believe and I have a lot of respect for them. They sold us a good horse. We’ve had a lot of success with him, the most fun horse I’ve ever owned. It’s really great and now we’re off to the Breeders’ Cup.”
(Arklow wins the Calumet Farm KY Turf Cup / Coady Photography & Courtesy of KY Downs)
Arklow turns tables on Zulu Alpha in Calumet Farm KY Turf Cup
They have been two of the more durable members of the turf male ranks for the last five seasons and on Saturday, the latest chapter in the rivalry between Grade 1 winner Arklow and Zulu Alpha geared up for yet another run – this time at the venue where each had previously enjoyed success.
Where Zulu Alpha had gotten the best of his rival in last year’s edition of the Grade 3, $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes, trading blows had been the name of the game for the two warriors in their nine meetings prior to Saturday. So after losing Kentucky Downs bragging rights with a second in 2019, Arklow fittingly turned the tables on his old foe when he captured the 1 ½-miles Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths over Red Knight, with Zulu Alpha a late-running third.
Trained by Brad Cox for Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, and Peter Coneway, Arklow previously annexed the Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes in 2018 and has been a stalwart in his division – placing in the top three eight times since that triumph, including a runner-up effort in this race last year. Things haven’t been as smooth for the 6-year-old son of Arch since winning the 2019 Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes, however, as he had lost his last five starts coming into Saturday’s test.
Zulu Alpha, by contrast, had won three of four starts in 2020 including a victory in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on January 25. That momentum would be blunted over the soft ground on Saturday though as Arklow — wearing blinkers for the first time in a race — got a perfect trip sitting in the first flight just off the leaders before making his winning bid down the lane under jockey Florent Geroux.
“He was pretty sharp coming into this race,” Cox said of Arklow. “It’s easy to say it now, but we had a lot of confidence that he would move forward with the blinkers. He likes it down here and obviously when it started raining it gave us even more confidence. He definitely likes a little juice in the ground, and he responded well.
“Florent did a good job getting him involved. That has a lot to do with this horse, how he runs, his involvement early on in a race.”
While Arklow was rated fifth, then fourth, as Changi took the field through the opening half mile in :50.27, Zulu Alpha was well back and had just one foe beat in 10-horse field. Longshot Eons grabbed the lead heading down the hill but Arklow was perched three wide at that point, waiting for the signal from Geroux to do more.
“It was a great trip for him. He was closer to the lead than he’s used too,” Geroux said. “First time with blinkers, at 6-years-old, helped him and the ground also helped. From there I just nursed him around and he waited for my signal down the stretch. He was able to hold off those horses pretty easily.”
Arklow paid $13.60 as the third choice in the field of 10 older horses. He became only the third two-time winner of the stakes, joining back-to-back winners Rochester (2002-2003) and Da Big Hoss (2015-16).
“Donegal Racing is very appreciative of Mr. (Brad) Kelley and Calumet Farm for sponsoring this race,” said Donegal president Jerry Crawford. “Donegal has won it two of the last three years and finished second the third time. We’re grateful for Kentucky Downs and for the Calumet folks. Obviously, Arklow loves it there. He loves going that far. I think the addition of blinkers made a huge difference. He was able to lay closer to the pace and nobody is going to get past him once he has the lead in the stretch. We’re very excited.”
At the top the stretch, Arklow took command for himself and turned back a threat from eventual runner-up Red Knight. Beaten favorite Zulu Alpha could only get up for show money, a length behind Red Knight.
“Everything worked out. We had a nice clean trip,” said Tyler Gaffalione, jockey Zulu Alpha. “The only thing I would say is that maybe the ground was getting away from him down the stretch. He was really digging in, trying to go get that horse, but it was just breaking away from him. Might be a little soft out there for him. It was a great performance. He tried hard the whole way. He’s all class and hopefully we’ll rebound in the Breeders’ Cup (Turf).”
The final time for the distance over a course rated soft was 2:28.66.
In addition to improving his record to seven wins from 29 starts with earnings of $2,466,116, Arklow continued a hot streak for Cox and Geroux as the two paired up to capture the Kentucky Oaks on September 4 with Shedaresthedevil at Churchill Downs after winning the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes on the undercard with champion Monomoy Girl.
“Honestly I really trained on him pretty strong for this race, zeroed in on this race,” Cox said of Arklow. “He had a fantastic work a couple of weeks back at Churchill on the turf. He had a huge gallop out that day. He’d been touting himself a lot going into this.
“It’s great. It’s been a busy week and a half,” Cox added. “Just trying to build off it, get bigger and better horses all the time. Looking to pick off races like this is what it’s all about.”
Quotes
Trainer Brad Cox, 1st, Arklow (also the 2018 winner and 2019 runner-up): “He was pretty sharp coming into this race. It’s easy to say it now, but we had a lot of confidence that he would move forward with the blinkers. He likes it down here and obviously when it started raining it gave us even more confidence. He definitely likes a little juice in the ground, and he responded well. He’s tough in the gate. He schools in the morning but in the afternoon he can be a little tough in the gate. But Florent did a good job getting him and getting him involved. That has a lot to do with this horse, how he runs, his involvement early on in a race.
“This is something every year. We give him a little break at the end of every year and this is something we circle on the calendar, this race.”
(On seeing a Grade 1 winner back on form) “Oh, it’s huge. Because this summer, he was doing really well. I thought he was doing fantastic going into the Louisville Handicap, and then obviously the Elkhorn. The Elkhorn, he just really didn’t get rolling at all. I think out of a frustration move and the race being there, the U.N. was six days later and there was a plane out of Lexington to New Jersey. So I tried to do something a little unorthodox. He didn’t run bad. It wasn’t the result we were looking for; he was the favorite in the race. It wasn’t the craziest idea. After that we regrouped with him. Honestly I really trained on him pretty strong for this race, zeroed in on this race. He had a fantastic work a couple of weeks back at Churchill on the turf. He had a huge gallop out that day. He’d been touting himself a lot going into this.”
(Was the plan to get him involved earlier and let everybody try to catch him?) “Yeah for sure, that had a lot to do with the blinkers. We’ve been training him in blinkers, galloping him and breezing him in them. It seemed to light a fire under him and in him a little bit. That’s obviously what you’re trying to do with the ‘blinks.’ We definitely won’t be taking them off for a while.”
(On his hot run the past eight, nine days, including winning the Kentucky Oaks with Shedaresthedevil): “It’s great. it’s been a busy week and a half. I was telling someone I can’t believe the Derby was a week ago. I’ve been running up the road between training and going to Fasig-Tipton (sales) and now I turn my attention to Keeneland. It’s a busy time of the year for horsemen in this region. It’s been great. Just trying to build off it, get bigger and better horses all the time. Looking to pick off races like this is what it’s all about.”
“Very, very pleased with the outcome today.”
On Breeders’ Cup Turf: “It’s an option. He’s run in it the last two years. It’s back at Keeneland and he’s had some success there.”
Florent Geroux, jockey for Arklow: “It was a great trip for him. He was closer to the lead than he’s used too. First time with blinkers, at 6 years old, helped him and the ground also helped. From there I just nursed him around and he waited for my signal down the stretch. He was able to hold off those horses pretty easily.”
Tyler Gaffalione, jockey for Zulu Alpha, beaten favorite: “Everything worked out. We had a nice clean trip. The only thing I would say is that maybe the ground was getting away from him down the stretch. He was really digging in, trying to go get that horse, but it was just breaking away from him. Might be a little soft out there for him. It was a great performance. He tried hard the whole way. He’s all class and hopefully we’ll rebound in the Breeders’ Cup.”
(Got Stormy / Coady Photography & Courtesy of KY Downs)
Ground no problem for Got Stormy in Real Solution Ladies Sprint
One thing trainer Mark Casse has had on wish list for his charge Got Stormy in 2020 was for the 5-year-old mare to finally get the foot-rattling ground she has done her best running over. So when rain began soaking the Franklin, Ky track over the course of Saturday afternoon, turning its course conditions to soft in the process, one could forgive the Hall of Fame conditioner if he started to get a twist of dread in his stomach heading into the Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes.
Class can overcome a lot of would-be setbacks and for Got Stormy, her superiority would not be dulled this day even if the ground beneath her was. The multiple Grade 1-winning daughter of Get Stormy exploded down the lane to take the $500,000 Ladies Sprint Stakes by 3 ¼ lengths, ending a five-race losing skid and earning her first victory of 2020.
Prior to the 6 ½ furlong Ladies Sprint, the only time Got Stormy had raced at shorter than a mile was her debut as 2-year-old in a 7 1/2-furlong race, which at Gulfstream Park is staged around two turns. Since capturing the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes last December to close out a 2019 campaign that also saw her best males in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap, the chestnut mare hadn’t been able to find the form that made her an Eclipse Award finalist for champion turf female last season.
“For her to get a mile, she needs it extremely, extremely hard. And she hasn’t gotten that once this year,” Casse said. “We always felt that way (that she’d sprint) but there’s never been an opportunity. For $500,000, we figured this would be a good time to do it. I’ve always said she’d handle soft going; it just limits how far she can run.
“The bit of the give in the ground (today) was a little worrisome, but it kind of played to her favor.”
With her regular pilot Tyler Gaffalione in the irons on Saturday, Got Stormy indeed looked at home as the 9-5 favorite rated between horses in fourth through the opening quarter mile in :22.54 in the Ladies Sprint. After pacesetter Surrender Now took the field 12-horse field through a half mile in :46.27 and into the stretch, Got Stormy was angled to the outside around rivals by Gaffalione, striking the front near the eighth pole and continuing to draw clear en route to covering the distance in 1:15.41.
“The filly broke great today. We were worried about the soft ground, but she handled it beautifully,” Gaffalione said. “She felt like a winner every step and when I got her out she finished the job. She’s got so much class and is a tremendous filly. Great job by Mark and his team having her ready.”
“She’s hard not to love,” Casse added. “I’ve felt bad for her this year because she’s gotten some bad ‘rap,’ that she isn’t what she was. And it’s not true. Like when she won the Fourstardave last year the track was so hard and so fast. And she just hasn’t gotten that. That’s what she likes. The softer it is, the shorter she needs to run.”
Winning Envelope ran on from well back to get second in the Ladies Sprint with Into Mystic third.
Owned by Gary Barber, Got Stormy improves her record to nine wins from 24 starts with $1,901,378 in earnings.
“I’ll talk to Gary (owner Gary Barber) but we’ll probably come back and run her 5 1/2 (furlongs) in the Breeders’ Cup” (Turf Sprint at Keeneland),” Casse said “I think she’ll like that 5 1/2. (Gaffalione) said he could have been on the lead, no problem. I know she cannot go a mile at Keeneland in the fall. We know that.”
Quotes
Trainer Mark Casse, Got Stormy: “We always felt that way (that she’d sprint) but there’s never been an opportunity. For $500,000, we figured this would be a good time to do it. I’ve always said she’d handle soft going; it just limits how far she can run. So for her to get a mile, she needs it extremely, extremely hard. And she hasn’t gotten that once this year.
“So the bit of the give in the ground was a little worrisome, but it kind of played to her favor. I’ll talk to Gary (owner Gary Barber) but we’ll probably come back and run her 5 1/2 (furlongs) in the Breeders’ Cup” (Turf Sprint at Keeneland). I think she’ll like that 5 1/2. He (Tyler Gaffalione) said he could have been on the lead, no problem.”
(So now that you know she’ll go short, you’re going to see if she’ll go shorter …) “Well, I know she cannot go a mile at Keeneland in the fall. We know that.”
“She’s hard not to love. I’ve felt bad for her this year because she’s gotten some bad ‘rap,’ that she isn’t what she was. And it’s not true. Like when she won the Fourstardave last year the track was so hard and so fast. And she just hasn’t gotten that. That’s what she likes. The softer it is, the shorter she needs to run.”
Tyler Gaffalione, jockey for Got Stormy: “The filly broke great today. We were worried about the soft ground, but she handled it beautifully. She felt like a winner every step and when I got her out she finished the job. She’s got so much class and is a tremendous filly. Great job by Mark and his team having her ready.”
Regal Glory shows her mettle in English Channel Ladies Turf
For the first time in his future Hall of Fame career, trainer Chad Brown has made it a point to have a significant presence at the boutique Kentucky Downs meet. As is often the case when the Mechanicville, NY native shows up on the scene, he sent out one of his turf distaffers to claim some lucrative spoils as Regal Glory reeled in pacesetter Mitchell Road in deep stretch to take the Grade 3, $500,000 English Channel Ladies Turf Stakes by a neck on Saturday.
In giving her trainer his first graded-stakes triumph at the all-turf meet, Regal Glory also snapped a three-race losing and notched her third career graded victory. Owned and bred by Paul Pompa Jr. , the 4-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom had been beaten by Grade 1-winning stablemates in each of her last three races heading into her trip to Kentucky Downs having run sixth behind Cambier Parc in the 2019 Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, second to Newspaperofrecord in the Grade 3 Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont Park on June 6, and fourth behind that same barn mate in the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes on June 27.
Without a wildly-accomplished, friendly rival in the gate with her this time around, Regal Glory was able to get herself back on the winning side of the equation. Under handling from jockey Jose Ortiz, the 7-5 race favorite tracked Mitchell Road in second around the European style turf course through fractions of :23.42 and :47.19 over yielding going.
“She handled the course really well. I knew she could handle the soft turf, since she’s already won on it twice, so I was very confident going into the race,” Ortiz said of his mount. “Chad is doing fantastic here in his first year and his horses are doing fantastic too. I’m glad he came here. He’s one of the best trainers in the nation, so why not be here. He’s doing a tremendous job with (assistant) Whit (Beckman) and the team. She was much the best today and the only that could screw that up was me. I put her into a winning position and she responded well.”
Mitchell Road was still stubbornly holding onto her lead as she came off the turn into the lane, but Regal Glory was looming at her throat-latch in the final three-sixteenths of a mile before getting by late to hit the wire in 1:34.34 for the one-mile test over the rain-soaked course.
“That filly (Mitchell Road) on the front end gets tough. That was definitely a hard-fought stretch victory when it looked like our filly was poised to just take them easily,” said Whit Beckman, who oversees Brown’s new Kentucky division based at Churchill Downs. “But you’ve got to give it to Mitchell Road. She ran a heck of a race.
“She was definitely getting a little class relief coming down here, but it’s always an X factor with the set-up and everything. She ran a tremendous race. I mean she looked like the winner every step of the way to me.”
Mitchell Road held for second by 1 ½ lengths over another Brown-trained runner, Tapit Today.
“She came out and ran and was right there,” said Luis Saez, jockey of Mitchell Road. “When we came to the stretch, I thought we were going to beat the winner, but she was too tough and we just got beat.”
Bred in Kentucky out of the More than Ready mare Mary’s Follies, Regal Glory improved her record to six wins from 11 career starts with $773,884 in earnings. The chestnut mare previously annexed the Grade 3 Lake George and Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, both at Saratoga Race Course, last summer.
Quotes:
Whit Beckman, assistant trainer, Chad Brown, 1st (Regal Glory) and 3rd (Tapit Today): “That filly (Mitchell Road) on the front end gets tough. That was definitely a hard-fought stretch victory when it looked like our filly was poised to just take them easily. But you’ve got to give it to Mitchell Road. She ran a heck of a race.
“She was definitely getting a little class relief coming down here, but it’s always an X factor with the set-up and everything. She ran a tremendous race. I mean she looked like the winner every step of the way to me.”
(On how turf went in an hour from firm to yielding) “It’s a whole different dynamic. But this is a filly that will run on anything. It doesn’t really affect her overall ability.”
(On Tapit Today) “Javier (Castellano) didn’t really have a lot to say. He just said with the softer-type ground she had a little bit of trouble getting over it. She had a good position, but when it came time to kick she kind of spun her wheels.”
Kenny McCarthy, assistant trainer, Bill Mott, 2nd (Mitchell Road): “She ran big.” (On how she’d like yielding turf after finishing 11th over soft turf at Ellis Park) “That was the only thing we could come up with after last race. But she’d run well down here last year (also second in Ladies Turf). We’ll have to get her over the hump!”
“She ran a good race when she won the prep at Ellis and then obviously we were disappointed with her next trip back. But the ground came up pretty bottomless it seemed like that day. But good run here.”
Jose Ortiz, jockey for Regal Glory,
“She handled the course really well. I knew she could handle the soft turf, since she’s already won on it twice, so I was very confident going into the race. Chad is doing fantastic here in his first year and his horses are doing fantastic too. I’m glad he came here. He’s one of the best trainers in the nation, so why not be here. He’s doing a tremendous job with Whit and the team. She was much the best today and the only that could screw that up was me. I put her into a winning position and she responded well.”
Luis Saez, jockey for Mitchell Road
“She came out and ran and was right there. When we came to the stretch, I thought we were going to beat the winner, but she was too tough and we just got beat.”
Ward goes to 3-for-3 in Bal a Bali Juvenile Turf Sprint
Not only did trainer Wesley Ward continue his domination of the $500,000 Bal a Bali Juvenile Turf Sprint Saturday, he saddled the exacta finish, Outadore and Fauci.
Ward won the first two editions of the 6 ½-furlong race, beating males with fillies, Moonlight Romance in 2018 and Cambria last year. With Kentucky Downs now offering a sprint stake for juvenile fillies, Ward turned to his colts and they delivered for him. Breeze Easy’s Outadore stayed perfect in his second career start with a 1¾ lengths victory under Irad Ortiz, Jr. in 1:17.31. Fauci and jockey Tyler Gaffalione were 3 ¼ lengths ahead of the third-place horse, Cowan.
Ward, well-known for his success with 2-year-olds, answered a question about being unbeaten in the race with a question – “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?” – and punctuated it with a laugh.
Starting from the outside posts in the field of 10 running over the course rated as “soft,” Outadore (9) and Fauci (10) stalked from a few lengths back of the early pace set by County Final of :21.79 and :46.51. Outadore made his move first with a five-wide surge through the turn and took over the lead near the eighth pole. Fauci followed Outadore’s rally on the outside, but could not catch his stablemate.
Outadore, the 9-5 favorite, paid $5.60 to win. The first-place money pushed his career earnings to $334,100.
“He’s a nice horse, really nice horse,” said jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. “He broke good over there. He probably needed that first race when he won. He was ready today. He knew what he was doing. He broke and pulled me right there. He relaxed so nice, when I asked he just went ahead. It felt like he had a little more in the tank today.”
While pleased with their performances, Ward said he expects more from Outadore and Fauci as prospects for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, to be run at one mile at Keeneland on Nov. 6.
 “I think both will go a little farther, which is nice as well,” he said. “I think they’ll both go a mile on the grass no problem. So, we’ll probably split them up in their next start, one to the Bourbon (at Keeneland), one to the Pilgrim at Belmont. We’re going to talk it over with both owners and make a plan. The way it looks, Irad (Ortiz) said he was wanting more ground and was kind of waiting. First thing Tyler (Gaffalione) said was, ‘Wesley, please, run him farther.’ So we’re really excited about both colts.”
Outadore a gray/roan son of Outwork, was purchased for $290,000 as a yearling at 2019 Keeneland September. He won his debut at Saratoga on July 26, pressing the pace in a 5 ½-furlong race that he won by 2 ¾ lengths, setting him up for his start at Kentucky Downs.
“Very nice colt,” Ward said. “He took a little while with some minor shin issues, as most 2-year-olds do. So we gave him the time. Sam Ross, his owner with Mike Hall, is a wonderful guy, and he’s jumping up and down and screaming in West Virginia. That’s the way you want these owners to be.”
Breeze Easy already has a Breeders’ Cup victory on its resume: Four Wheel Drive, who won the 2019 Juvenile Turf Sprint for Ward at Santa Anita. Outadore could take his owners right back to racing’s championship meet next month.
“The horse is going wonderful and Wesley (Ward) is doing a good job with the horse,” Hill said. “Mike Mollica and I picked this horse out at Keeneland sale last year and we’re back shopping this year. We’re really happy with this horse and looking forward to going to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Fauci, co-owned by Lindy Farms and Ice Wine Stable, has never been worse that second in his four career starts. The son of Malibu Moon was purchased as a yearling at 2019 Keeneland September for $175,000. He is 1-3-0 from his four starts and with the $95,000 he earned in the Juvenile Turf Sprint has banked $166,800.
Gaffalione said that he and Fauci were a bit slow getting started.
 “We didn’t get away the cleanest,” he said. “I just wasn’t settled in the gate; they sprung a little quick. I just never got his feet planted. But from there on, he traveled nice. I had a great stalking position following the winner most of the way. I got him out at the quarter pole. He had every chance from there. Just second-best today. Great effort. I think he could benefit from more ground. He doesn’t have a real explosive turn of foot, but he keeps coming.”
Quotes:
Trainer Wesley Ward, 1st place Outadore and 2nd place Fauci: “I think both will go a little farther, which is nice as well. I think they’ll both go a mile on the grass no problem. So we’ll probably split them up in their next start, one to the Bourbon (at Keeneland), one to the Pilgrim at Belmont. We’re going to talk it over with both owners and make a plan. The way it looks, Irad (Ortiz) said he was wanting more ground and was kind of waiting. First thing Tyler (Gaffalione) said was, ‘Wesley, please, run him farther.’ So we’re really excited about both colts.”
What about Outadore, now 2 for 2?: “Very nice colt. He took a little while with some minor shin issues, as most 2-year-olds do. So we gave him the time. Sam Ross, his owner with Mike Hall, is a wonderful guy, and he’s jumping up and down and screaming in West Virginia. That’s the way you want these owners to be.”
(You’ve won every running of this stakes, 3 for 3): “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?” (laughs)
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, 2nd, Fauci: “We didn’t get away the cleanest. I just wasn’t settled in the gate; they sprung a little quick. I just never got his feet planted. But from there on, he traveled nice. I had a great stalking position following the winner most of the way. I got him out at the quarter pole. He had every chance from there. Just second-best today. Great effort. I think he could benefit from more ground. He doesn’t have a real explosive turn of foot, but he keeps coming.”
Mike Hall of Breeze Easy, LLC, owner of Outadore, winner of the Bal A Bali Juvenile Turf Sprint
“The horse is going wonderful and Wesley (Ward) is doing good job with the horse. Mike Mollica and I picked this horse out at Keeneland sale last year and we’re back shopping this year. We’re really happy with this horse and looking forward to going to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz, 1st Juvenile Turf, Outadore: “He’s a nice horse, really nice horse. He broke good over there. He probably needed that first race when he won. He was ready today. He knew what he was doing. He broke and pulled me right there. He relaxed so nice, when I asked he just went ahead. It felt like he had a little more in the tank today.”