By Tommy Raymond
Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable’s Fancy Liquor was well out of it for much of Saturday’s $500,000 American Turf (G2) beneath the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. Using what was a quick pace to his advantage, the chestnut Mike Maker-trained sophomore colt closed ground in earnest on his tiring rivals in the upper stretch and then held off runner-up Taishan by a half-length.
American Butterfly, Sugoi, and Smooth Like Strait each fought for supremacy for the bulk of it, posting brisk fractions of :23.04, :46.48, and 1:11.23 over the firm ground. That pace eventually would prove to be their undoing, and resulted in Fancy Liquor and Taishan being the beneficiaries. Fancy Liquor, with Florent Geroux in the irons, and Taishan under Julien Leparoux, fought it out until the end. When Fancy Liquor switched back to his right lead late, that helped make the difference as he completed the 1 1/16-mile test in 1:42.83.
Following the top two past the line were Field Pass, a stablemate of the winner, then Smooth Like Strait, King Theo, Sugoi, and American Butterfly. Sunsation was withdrawn.
A Kentucky homebred by Lookin At Lucky, Fancy Liquor is the second registered foal out of the stakes-placed Secret Romeo mare Brandys Secret and is the mare’s first stakes-winning offspring. Fancy Liquor has now amassed earnings of $465,050 and possesses a record of 6-3-1-2.
Maker didn’t say when or where Fancy Liquor would make his next start.