December 11, 2023

Flavius prevails in blistering Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs

Flavius wins the 2020 Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs (Coady Photography)

Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Flavius flew in 1:32.21 in Monday’s $645,700 Tourist Mile, giving trainer Chad Brown his first Kentucky Downs stakes victory.

Although that is listed as a course record on the chart, Kentucky Downs is refraining from that designation because of the timing mechanism. According to the track’s press release, it is “testing Equibase’s Gmax tracking and timing system that utilizes GPS technology.”

As the time suggests, the pace was furious. Blitzkrieg dashed through an opening quarter in :22.51, and Brazilian import Ivar joined battle through fractions of :44.77 and 1:07.86 on the firm course. Flavius, the 4-1 second choice, was reserved off the pace by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.

Straightening into the stretch, Ivar got the better of Blitzkrieg, but Flavius was making stylish progress out wide to strike the front. Defending champion Snapper Sinclair then played his hand, but Flavius remained in command by three-quarters of a length.

“He broke so well out of the gate today,” Castellano said of Flavius. “I think that was the key to winning the race. Usually he breaks slow. For whatever reason, he got better and better. He put me in a good spot early in the race. All the time before he was too far back, and he always came late. Today he put me in good position. When I asked him, he responded so well. I’m glad the way he did it today. I wasn’t disappointed in him before; he always tried hard. Maybe he liked the track today, European style, up and down, curves. I think he really liked it and enjoyed the trip.”

Ivar stayed on in a brave third. Neptune’s Storm staved off his late-running Richard Baltas stablemate, Next Shares, for fourth. Blitzkrieg tired to sixth, followed by the 2.90-1 favorite Parlor, Emmaus, and Ritzy A. P. Hembree, Ramsey Solution, and Spectacular Gem were all scratched.

A 5-year-old son of War Front and Grade 2 queen Starformer, Flavius had just six career starts coming into the Labor Day feature. He began his career with Dermot Weld in Ireland, where he was a photo away from being unbeaten. After winning his lone juvenile start at Leopardstown, Flavius didn’t resurface for 11 months, until late summer of 2018, and missed by a short head in his Tipperary return. He made a successful stakes debut that fall in the Trigo back at Leopardstown.

Flavius was not seen again for more than a year, when a reappearing fourth for Brown at Aqueduct Nov. 9. He was a much closer fourth to stablemate Instilled Regard in the Dec. 14 Ft. Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream, and in his only interim start, he was third in the June 7 First Defence at Belmont. His scorecard now stands at 7-3-1-1, $518,673.

Dalika earned her first stakes win in the One Dreamer (Coady Photography)

Fans of German imports were rewarded in the $182,610 One Dreamer Stakes as the 6-1 Dalika and 21-1 compatriot Madita furnished a $142 exacta ($1).

Trained by Al Stall for Bal Mar Equine, Dalika was coming out of a trio of sprints, most recently closing for fifth in the Aug. 1 Caress at Saratoga. She flashed speed on this stretch-out, forced the fast pace set by Harmless, and put her pace foe away in the lane. A length up at the wire with Miguel Mena, Dalika clocked the mile and 70 yards in 1:37.45. That too would rate as a course record.

Madita, who advanced into second, held that spot by a neck from the rallying Our Bay B Ruth. Xanthique got up for fourth, and 3-1 favorite Varenka showed belated interest for fifth. Passing Out had a spot of trouble en route to finishing sixth. Curlin’s Journey, Speedy Solution, Queen Medb, Harmless, Strike My Fancy, and 149-1 chance Rushingirl rounded out the order of finish. Amazima was scratched, as were also-eligibles Aunt Hattie, Frond, and Tapit Today.

Dalika’s first stakes victory improved her resume to 14-4-4-0, $272,478. Runner-up in the 2018 Prix Herod as a juvenile, the gray missed narrowly in last year’s Riskaverse and Mrs. Revere (G2). She opened her 4-year-old campaign with a sharp second-level allowance score sprinting on the Churchill Downs turf May 21, followed by a second in the July 3 License Fee at Belmont.

By Pastorius and out of Drawn to Run, by Hurricane Run, the Gestut Ammerland-bred hails from the same female line as Group 1 winners Corre Caminos and Recital.

Plum Ali was much the best in the Juvenile Fillies (Coady Photography)

The $462,400 Juvenile Fillies Stakes was all about Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Bethlehem Stables’ Plum Ali, the 6-5 favorite who readily prevailed by 2 3/4 lengths.

Shipping in from Saratoga after last Thursday’s P.G. Johnson was rained off the turf, the Christophe Clement trainee hit the gate in a messy start. But jockey Tyler Gaffalione was able to maneuver her into a midpack, ground-saving trip, and angled her out down the stretch for his third win on the card. Plum Ali bounded clear, ears pricked, in 1:35.74 for the mile.

“Christophe gave me a call this morning and said he put me on one of his best ones,” Gaffalione said. “She was supposed to run at Saratoga, but with all the rain, he figured this was an easier spot for her. Great job by them. She came over ready to run today. Boy, what an incredible filly.”

Also-eligible Flown rallied for second by a neck, with third-placer Oliviaofthedesert the same margin up on Cecile’s Chapter. Next came Beautiful Star, Dream Quist, Yogurt, early leader Sunshine City, Stephanies Jewel, Long Monday, and the tailed-off 216-1 longshot Maci’s Jamming. Withdrawn were Ava’s Grace, Blissful Change, and the second also-eligible, Royal Approval.

Plum Ali is now 2-for-2 with $331,000 in earnings. The $65,000 Keeneland September yearling rolled from off the pace in her unveiling at the Spa July 23.

“She has been special since day one,” assistant trainer Roger Horgan said. “We never cranked on her before her first start because she was going to run long. This was actually an audible. She was going to run in the (P. G. Johnson) at Saratoga but it got rained off the turf. So we came here for five times the money.”

Bred by Stone Farm in Kentucky, the First Samurai filly is out of the Stroll mare Skipping, who is a half-sister to Grade 3 turfiste Meribel as well as stakes scorer Knox. This is the further family of champion female sprinter Informed Decision.

Barrister Tom sprang a 44-1 upset in the Juvenile (Coady Photography)

The Saratoga 2-year-old form was expected to hold up in the $498,000 Juvenile Stakes, but instead it was Barrister Tom, an Arlington maiden winner for owner/trainer Michael Ann Ewing’s Bantry Farms, who came through at 44-1 to pay $90.

With Tyler Baze aboard, Barrister Tom tracked in third as Gypsy King and Dreamer’s Disease duked it out, and he had room on the inside to launch the winning move. Although Pivotal Mission, Indy Tourist, and 3-2 favorite Shawdyshawdyshawdy arrived on the scene in a blanket finish, Barrister Tom was still a half-length on top at the end of a mile in 1:35.71.

“I had a beautiful trip,” Baze recapped. “Michael pretty much just left it up to me. She said, ‘You do what you think is right.’ I had a perfect trip, got to the rail. What a nice little horse. He’s got a lot of heart.

“I’m just excited. It’s my first win at Kentucky Downs, and I look forward to some more next week.”

Gypsy King wound up fifth, trailed by Really Slow, Citadel, and Dreamer’s Disease. The ninth contender, Snake Doctor, tragically broke down on the far turn and had to be euthanized. His rider, Ricardo Santana, also went down but thankfully escaped without apparent injury and rode Neptune’s Storm in the Tourist Mile nightcap.

Barrister Tom has now bankrolled $317,055. The Artie Schiller gelding showed little in his premiere sprinting on the Indiana Grand main, but enjoyed the switch to turf, and step up to a mile, at Arlington Aug. 7.

Barrister Tom was bred in Kentucky by Thomas Girardi. His dam, the Parading mare Taylor Lane, descends from Silken Doll who is the ancestress of several major winners including noted sire Speightstown.