Friday’s $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland proved to be a stallion maker for WinStar Farm’s homebred American Patriot, who wore down last year’s runner-up Heart to Heart to upset the grass feature by a neck on a glorious, spring afternoon in Lexington.
Patiently ridden near the back and between rivals by Javier Castellano, the four-year-old by War Front swung out for the drive and grinded his way to the victory in a time of 1:34.70 over the firm turf. A 10-1 chance in the field of 12, American Patriot paid $23 for his first Grade 1 victory.
The Maker’s 46 Mile was a record-setting win for trainer Todd Pletcher, who was registering his 51st career stakes win at Keeneland, surpassing the previous record held by his mentor, D. Wayne Lukas.
“We always felt like he had a lot of potential. He was unlucky to not win a Grade 1 last year,” said Pletcher, referring to American Patriot’s narrow loss in the Secretariat (G1). “He’s trained exceptionally well all winter (at Palm Beach Downs in Florida). He has run well at Keeneland before so we knew he would like the turf course.”
Finishing second for the straight year was Heart to Heart, who tracked in second as What a View set a pace of :23.25, :47.18 and 1:13.98, opened up in the stretch and just failed to hold while edging 27-1 chance Conquest Panthera by a nose for the place. It was another neck back to 19-1 longshot, Ballagh Rocks.
Completing the order of finish was Blacktype, What a View, Western Reserve, Inspector Lynley, 7-2 favorite Bolo, Bondurant, and Calculator.
American Patriot broke his maiden over the Keeneland turf during the 2016 spring meet, and later won or placed in two of five stakes attempts. Hero of the Kent (G3) at Delaware Park last July, he missed by less than a length next out in the Secretariat (G1). He preceded this win with a half-length allowance win at Gulfstream on February 16. His record now stands at 11-5-0-3, $475,050.
American Patriot is out of the winning Life Well Lived, a Tiznow full sister to Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Well Armed and half-sister to Grade 3 vixen Witty. This is the family of multiple Japanese Horse of the Year Symboli Kris S.