(Sugoi wins the G3 Louisville Stakes on Saturday night / All Photos by Coady Media)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:


 The recent $50,000 claim of Sugoi for owners Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher paid immediate dividends when he took a field of nine turf marathoners gate-to-wire in Saturday night’s 87th running of the $241,250 Louisville Stakes (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

          Trained by Mike Maker, Sugoi covered 1 ½ miles over the Matt Winn Turf Course in 2:30.37 under jockey Julien Leparoux.

          It was a brief scramble out of the gate to make the front in the Louisville Stakes but following an initial quarter-mile of :25.63, Sugoi was able to make an uncontested lead. Leparoux carefully rationed Sugoi’s speed through a moderate half-mile time of :50.25 and six-furlong clocking of 1:15.81. While Sugoi comfortably rated on the front end, heavy 2-5 favorite Bold Act (IRE) was forced four-wide on the first turn and three-wide on the second turn. As the field in the Louisville turned for home, Sugoi was able to dig in on the lead while opening a half-length margin over Strong Tide and Bold Act who raced second and third, respectively. In deep stretch, Sugoi kept finding more on the lead and was able to hold off the charge of Strong Tide and late-closing kick of The Grey Wizard (IRE) for a 1 ¼-length victory.

          “I’ve wanted to claim (Sugoi) this winter at Turfway but I was out-shook on him,” Maker said. “I knew he was a talented horse and I was looking forward to having him do what he did tonight – rate on the front end of a turf marathon. This race opens the door to several options including the July 20 United Nations (GII) (at Monmouth) and he’s still eligible for the Claiming Crown.”

          Sugoi rewarded his backers by paying $2 mutuel returns of $41.50, $13.76 and $9.26. Strong Tide, sent off at odds of 40-1 under jockey Manny Esquivel, returned $26.46 and $14.90. The Grey Wizard, ridden byJames Graham, paid $6.54.

          Bold Act finished a half-length behind The Grey Wizard and was followed by Utah Beach, King Curlin, Reckoning Force, Quadra Island and Guntown.

          The Louisville Stakes was Sugoi’s 10th-lifetime victory from 27 starts. The 7-year-old son of Karakontie (JPN) has now banked purse earnings of $577,433.

          Racing will continue Sunday beneath the Twin Spires with a nine-race card and first post of 12:45 p.m.

          For more information about live racing from Churchill Downs, visit www.churchilldowns.com.