Preston Madden’s homebred MISS KENTUCKY captured the $100,000 Winning Colors Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on Saturday with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard.
The bay daughter of Blame tracked the early pace before ranging up to take over through the half-mile in :44.46. Miss Kentucky bumped with Golden Mischief rounding the turn, gradually drew away from that rival in the lane, and had enough in the shadow of the wire to repel a late challenge from Treble.
Sent off the 7-2 second choice, Miss Kentucky ran six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:10.35 to pay $9.20 for earning her first stakes win. Treble was second, 1 3/4 lengths up on Golden Domer on the line. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to fourth-placer Pinch Hit, who was followed under the wire by Golden Mischief and Brave Daisey.
Miss Kentucky finished ninth and last in her only other stakes try to date, last November’s Dream Supreme Stakes at Churchill Downs, but now boasts $213,522 in career earnings to go along with a 12-5-1-0 lifetime mark.
Bred in Kentucky, the Rusty Arnold-trained four-year-old is out of the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Champagne Taste, making her a half-sister to stakes runner-up Los Borrachos. Miss Kentucky’s second dam is the Falstaff mare Go Go, who racked up more than $600,000 in career earnings along with a Grade 2 and three Grade 3 wins. In addition to Champagne Taste, Go Go also produced Grade 1-placed Miss Mittagong.
WINNING COLORS QUOTES
Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey Miss Kentucky, winner
“I wasn’t too worried about the horse on the lead early on. We just ran our type of race. I let her get in a good rhythm on the backstretch and I think she’s really starting to get good. Once I asked her at the top of the lane she really kicked away nicely.”
Rusty Arnold, trainer Miss Kentucky, winner
“I have to give a lot of credit to (assistant trainer) Jack (Bohannon). He worked with her a lot and she’s really improved. Jack worked her here Monday and told me we should keep her home to run in this race instead of shipping out of town. I’m glad it worked out well.”
Ricardo Santana Jr., jockey Treble, second
“It was sort of the same scenario as it was in her last start. She just couldn’t get by this filly.”
Brad Cox, trainer Pinch Hit (fourth) and Golden Mischief (fifth)
“It’s looked like they went a little quick early. I know the track’s fast, but that’s really not her thing. She doesn’t want to be that close to that hot of a pace, and being down on the inside probably wasn’t her thing either. She ran fifth in a sixth-horse field at 1-2, so obviously it’s disappointing. But hopefully she can regroup from it and we can pick a spot later in the summer and take another swing.”
The $70,083 Keertana Overnight Stakes took place earlier on Saturday’s card at Churchill Downs and saw CREATIVE THINKING romp by five lengths over 2-5 favorite Daring Duchess.
Making her stakes debut in this spot, the Tom Proctor-trained four-year-old angled out entering the lane and easily ran down Daring Duchess before pulling away to complete 1 1/2 miles over the firm turf in 2:31.13 under jockey Adam Beschizza.
Creative Thinking returned $11.40 for the win as the 9-2 second choice and improved her record to read 7-3-1-0, $119,260. The gray daughter of Creative Cause took three tries to break her maiden, getting the job done on December 28 at Fair Grounds over good turf, and entered the Keertana off an April 25 allowance score at Keeneland going the same 12-furlong distance on soft grass.
Adam Beschizza, jockey Creative Thinking, winner
“I have to give a lot of credit to (owner) Mr. (Brereton C.) Jones and (trainer) Tom (Proctor) for having this filly ready to go. It seemed like I was the only one not in a hurry during the early stages of the race. I saw Corey (Lanerie) go to the lead (on Daring Duchess) and thought I was in a little trouble. I ended up being back a little too far but when he got pressured most of the race that helped soften things up.”
Tom Proctor, trainer Creative Thinking, winner
“It was the second time we’ve won this race and very proud of this filly.”
Brereton Jones, owner Creative Thinking, winner
“When you see a horse as well put together as her and a trainer who is as successful as Tom, it was a good feeling going into the race. I’m glad everything worked out. She fits this distance very well and continues to improve.”
At Arlington Park on Saturday, EZMOSH lived up to his 1-2 favoritism with a 2 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Arlington Classic (G3) for trainer Brad Cox.
Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. guided the Tizway sophomore, who was rank rounding the first turn before finally settling into a stalking spot just behind the leaders while on the inside. Ezmosh took over in the stretch and pulled away to stop the clock in 1:45.52 for 1 1/16 miles over the yielding turf. He returned $3 for his first stakes triumph.
Pont du Gard followed in second, just getting his neck in front of 24-1 shot and early pacesetter Cuestion de Tiempo, who in turn had only a head to spare on Alternative Route. Kitten a Gettin came next and completing the order of finish were Wildscore, The Money Dance and Papa Rizzo.
Ezmosh took three tries to break his maiden, finally getting the job done at Churchill Downs last September. He ran sixth making his stakes bow in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and filled that same spot in the Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes next out. The bay sophomore also finished off-the-board in his only other stakes attempt, the Southwest Stakes (G3) two back on February 19, but finally earned that elusive black-type credit in this spot.
Campaigned by Madaket Stables LLC, Ten Strike Racing and Zayat Stables LLC, Ezmosh’s scorecard now shows 9-3-2-1, $154,480.
Bred in Oklahoma by Scott and Lanae Pierce, Ezmosh is the first registered stakes winner out of the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Eagle Island. His third dam is the Storm Cat mare November Snow, who captured the 1992 editions of the Alabama Stakes (G1) and Test Stakes (G1). This female family is also responsible for Grade 1-winning millionaire and sire Morning Line as well as New Zealand champion sprinter Bounding.
ARLINGTON CLASSIC QUOTES
Jose Valdivia Jr., jockey Ezmosh, winner
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity (trainer) Brad Cox gave me to ride a graded race. He just left it up to me, just said (doesn’t matter) wherever he is as long as he’s comfortable. We spoke about it with (assistant trainer) Ricky (Giannini) and whether he was on the lead, second, third – as long as he was comfortable he shut it off, and when I called on him he was there for me.”
Jose Lopez, jockey Pont du Gard, second
“I had a beautiful trip, I did just what the trainer told me. Got a good break, let the other horse go to the lead and just sit off of them and make one move. He responded very nice.”
Harry Hernandez, jockey Cuestion de Tiempo, third
“He relaxed really well for me. I just waited as much as I could. I rode into the quarter-pole and when I (asked) he started running, but I guess (Ezmosh) had a little bit more. (My horse) ran a really great race. (Trainer) Ignacio (Correas IV) has done a really great job with this horse.”