Notes & Quotes From KY Downs’ Ladies Sprint: Morticia

(Morticia, trained by Rusty Arnold, wins the KY Downs’ Ladies Sprint / Coady Photography & Courtesy of KY Downs)

From the KY Downs Media Team:

What will likely go down as one of the best starts of Morticia’s race career is also a leading candidate to stand as the most impressive outing the 5-year-old mare has ever uncorked.

Always consistent and never off the board on the turf in her home state of Kentucky, Morticia earned her second career graded stakes victory in decisive fashion Saturday when she headed every point of call to take the Grade 3, $500,000 Spendthrift Farm Ladies Sprint Stakes by 1 ¾-lengths over A Little Bit Me as part of Kentucky Downs’ blockbuster card featuring five stakes.

Trainer Rusty Arnold — Morticia (1st):

“It was great to see her come back. There was a question of maybe if she had lost her edge,” said Arnold, who also saddled Totally Boss to victory in the Grade 3 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint. “Her last race at Saratoga wasn’t very good. We hope we found the reasons for it. Everyone was concerned about 6 ½ furlongs, but she had won at seven furlongs (in the 2017 Soaring Softly Stakes). I think this may even be better for her, the way she did it. I’m not sure this wasn’t her best race.”

“She was real agitated at Saratoga in the paddock, she didn’t handle it good. She’s that type of horse…. some days when she loses it, she doesn’t get it back,” Arnold said. “Down here, she was very good in the paddock, probably the best I’ve ever seen her. I liked being in front by a couple, but she’s been caught a few times in the last few strides. I didn’t feel good until about the sixteenth pole. We love Kentucky Downs and it was a really good day.”

“She’ll run at Keeneland, that’s her place,” Arnold grinned.

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione — Morticia:

“The track has been playing speed-favoring all day. I didn’t want to take away anything that came easy,” Gaffalione said. “She broke so fast. So I just tried to settle her. She got in a nice rhythm around the turn. And when I asked her in the stretch, she really kicked home.”

Jockey Joe Bravo — A Little Bit Me (2nd):

“I was so proud of her, first time sitting on her,” said Joe Bravo, jockey for A Little Bit Me.
“The turf course has been really fast and really speedy. She was probably one of the very few horses all day that closed as well as she did. I take my hat off to the winner. She’s a very nice horse that beat us.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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