Amended March 18, 2018: added time for Rushaway Stakes
SKY FLOWER, ALTERNATIVE ROUTE and CAMELOT KITTEN SCORE IN UNDERCARD STAKES ON JEFF RUBY STEAKS DAY
2018 (FLORENCE, Ky.) – Sky Flower was rambunctious enough in the post parade to drop her jockey but the 4-year-old filly was all business when it counted, taking the $75,000 Latonia Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday to earn her first stakes trophy. Last year’s Bourbonette Oaks (G3) winner, Purely a Dream, was 1 1/4 lengths back in second. You Cheated was third, a neck farther back.
“I knew I had to be close,” said winning jockey John McKee. “I had to make a middle move. I didn’t want Albin (Jimenez) on Julerette to get away from us. I knew the speed was on the outside of me, and I wanted her to get a good trip on the inside and relax down the back stretch.”
Final time for the mile race over Polytrack was 1:38.81.
Sky Flower sat just behind the lead set first by Miner’s Cat and then by Julerette, who led the dozen fillies and mares around the final turn before giving way to Sky Flower. The winner held off late bids by You Cheated and Apologynotaccepted to hold the advantage for trainer Gerald Brooks and owner Ronald Clark.
Off at 5-1, Sky Flower paid $12, $6 and $4.80.
Apologynotaccepted was fourth, followed by Alpine Sky, Susie Bee, Julerette, Inconclusive, Miss Nancy, Bombshell, Miner’s Cat and Proud and Fearless. Valentine Rosie and No Sweat were also-eligible and were scratched.
Jockey Mitchell Murrill paid heed to earlier races on the Jeff Ruby Steaks card and guided Alternative Route to a 1 3/4-length win in the $75,000 Rushaway Stakes. Truth Be Tolled finished second but was disqualified to fourth after bearing out in the stretch and impeding both Year of the Kitten and Road to Damascus, who were moved up to second and third, respectively.
To gain his first stakes win, Alternative Route sat just behind the moderate pace set by long shot Giant Honor and took over approaching the three-quarters mark of the 1 1/16th-mile race for 3-year-olds. Final time was 1:46.38.
“We had a great trip sitting up there near the speed,” said Murrill. “That was the place to be if you go off the earlier races. You have to push him along out of the gate, sort of nudge him a little bit, but he ran great, especially down the lane.”
After Truth Be Tolled in fourth came Violent Storm, Believe in Royalty, Honorable Treasure, Elgar, Front Door, Oskar Blues and Giant Honor.
Off at 7-1, Alternative Route paid $17.20, $8.20 and $5.80.
Alternative Route is owned by Spendthrift Farm LLC and Town and Country Racing LLC and is trained by Al Stall Jr.
Camelot Kitten added another trophy to the collection of owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey when he took the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Classic by half a length over pacesetter Chip Leader. Last year’s Spiral Stakes (now Jeff Ruby Steaks) winner Fast and Accurate was third.
The Classic was the first of back-to-back stakes wins on the day for trainer Mike Maker, who won the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) with Go Noni Go.
Camelot Kitten came from just off the pace in the closely-contested race.
“We had a great trip, with only one speed horse outside of me,” said winning jockey Rafael Hernandez. “The rest of the speed was inside. Down the backstretch I had a clear path and just waited to make the right move. I was very happy with my position throughout. He picked it up and finished well.”
Final time for the 1 1/8-mile test for horses four years old and up was 1:49.76.
Behind Fast and Accurate came Royal Son, Dac, Colonel Samsen, Senior Investment, Catinati, first-time gelding Designed for War and The Truth or Else.
A multiple graded stakes winner, he was sent off at 5-1 and paid $12.80, $6.60 and $4.40 for the win, his sixth in 17 starts. Camelot Kitten is a son of the Ramseys’ prolific stallion Kitten’s Joy.