After being beaten 50 3/4 lengths in the 1 11/16-mile American St. Leger, trainer Mikhail Yanakov shortened Applicator — who who he also bred and owns — up to a five-furlong allowance race before returning the gelding to stakes company in the Tourist Mile on opening day at Kentucky Downs.
The move worked, as Applicator responded with a snappy victory in the one-turn mile Tourist Mile on Wednesday, September 6.
“We shortened him up to sharpen him, and it worked,” said Yanakov of his Henrythenavigator gelding out of the Strodes Creek mare River Flower. “Distance doesn’t matter to him; he can go a mile or he can go two miles. He was feeling very good coming into the race.”
Applicator has been ambitiously spotted during his now-30-race career with several deep finishes, but he did appear to be moving in the right direction before the St. Leger bust—second beaten a length in the Miami Mile, eighth beaten less than four lengths in the Grade 1 Manhattan, and third beaten 1 1/2 lengths in the Stars And Stripes.
“We just didn’t have any luck in the St. Leger,” Yanakov said. “He got bumped and it scared him and he was just done after that.
“We’ll take him to Keeneland next and decide on a race from there. He can go any distance,” the trainer said referring to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at a two-turn mile or the Turf at 1 1/2 miles around three turns at Del Mar.