(Society Man captures G3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on Sunday / All Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers & Kevin Kerstein:

BIG WEEKEND FOR GARGAN AS SOCIETY MAN ROLLS IN $395,000 MATT WINN

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, June 9, 2024) – It was a big weekend for trainer Danny Gargan. One day after scoring a 17-1 upset in the $2 million Belmont Stakes (Grade I) at Saratoga with Dornoch, his 3-year-old Society Man collected his first stakes win with a convincing 2 ½-length triumph at odds of 6-1 over 7-5 favorite Who Dey in Sunday’s 27th running of the $400,000 Matt Winn Stakes (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

Society Man, the Wood Memorial (GII) runner-up who bounced back from his 16th place finish in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI), clocked 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:42.33 under Corey Lanerie for owners Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, West Paces Racing LLC, GMP Stables LLCand Carl F. and Yurie Pascarella.

“I’m very grateful to Danny and his whole team for the opportunity to ride him,” Lanerie said. “He and his team had a big weekend. I’m glad to have played a small part in it.”

          Northern Flame broke fastest from the gate and led the field of eight 3-year-olds into the first turn through an opening quarter mile in :24.20. Unsatisfied with a modest pace, Who Dey ascended to the front as the cast entered the backstretch with Society Man relaxed and well back of the leaders in seventh position. After a half-mile in :47.37, Society Man raced along the inside and commenced his rail rally around the far turn. As Rocketeer poked his head in front of Who Dey and a tiring West Saratoga at the head of the stretch, Lanerie tipped out Society Man three-wide with three-sixteenths of a mile to the finish and the gelding drove clear in the stretch for the hard-charging victory.

“He was on the bit and looked great in the paddock,” Lanerie said. “I could tell he was ready to go. This was the first time I rode him but I was able to study his previous races on paper and the replays. Danny didn’t give me any instructions on how to ride him. I was a little bit further back than I thought we’d be but around the three-eighths pole. I lowered my hands and he took me where I needed to be. I was able to get clear at the eighth-pole and he took off. He was fun to ride.”

The victory was worth $240,525 and improved Society Man’s overall record to 2-1-1 with earnings of $437,230 in seven starts.

“He’s shown he’s been able to do a couple of things in his career and has some different dimensions,” Lanerie said. “The way he was able to relax today it showed me he doesn’t have a problem with longer distances than this. Down the backside, as far as I was out of it, I got a little bit worried. When it was time to go, though, he was ready.”

Society Man returned $14.78, $5.36 and $3.58. Who Dey, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $2.92 and $2.28 and finished a nose in front of Next Level who paid $4.48 to show at odds of 12-1 under Jareth Loveberry.

Rocketeer was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth, and was followed by West Saratoga, Mighty Message, Northern Flame and Luna Tap. Nash and Scatify were scratched.

Society Man is a gelded son of Good Magic out of the Colonel John mare You Cheated and was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock LLC.

The Matt Winn is named in honor of the famed Churchill Downs president that served as the driving force in the development of the Downs and his beloved Kentucky Derby.

Following dark days on Monday and Tuesday, racing at Churchill Downs is scheduled to resume Wednesday with a nine-race card that begins at 12:45 p.m. ET.

MATT WINN QUOTES

Corey Lanerie (jockey, Society Man, winner): “He was on the bit and looked great in the paddock. I could tell he was ready to go. This was the first time I rode him but I was able to study his previous races on paper and the replays. Danny (Gargan) didn’t give me any instructions on how to ride him. I was a little bit further back than I thought we’d be but around the three-eighths pole. I lowered my hands and he took me where I needed to be. I was able to get clear at the eighth-pole and he took off. He was fun to ride. He’s shown he’s been able to do a couple of things in his career and has some different dimensions. The way he was able to relax today it showed me he doesn’t have a problem with longer distances than this. Down the backside, as far as I was out of it, I got a little bit worried. When it was time to go, though, he was ready. I’m very grateful to Danny and his whole team for the opportunity to ride him. He and his team had a big weekend. I’m glad to have played a small part in it.”

Brian Hernandez Jr. (jockey, Who Dey, runner-up): “Down the backside he was traveling really well and within himself. He took me to the spot between horses on the lead and was doing it on his own. When Tyler (Gaffalione, aboard Rocketeer) engaged us he dug in and tried to fight back against him. He ran a good race.”