July 18, 2024

Kimari, Flagstaff among winners on Keeneland Saturday undercard

Kimari wins the Madison Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Along with Kentucky Derby and Oaks prep races, Keeneland featured four graded stakes on Saturday’s big program. Joel Rosario won three of them, and he finished with a staggering six-pack of stakes victories from the first two days at Keeneland.

Madison S. (G1)

After tracking the pacesetter in second, Kimari advanced to the lead entering the stretch of the $300,000 Madison S. (G1), and the four-year-old filly was never seriously threatened scoring by three-quarters of a length.

Under confident handling from Rosario, the four-year-old filly finished the seven-furlong distance in 1:21.53. It marked the first graded win, and fifth overall stakes tally, for the daughter of Munnings, and Kimari left the starting gate as the 7-10 favorite among seven rivals.

Wesley Ward trains the bay for Ten Broeck Farm, and Kimari was exiting a 4 1/4-length tally in the Feb. 27 Spring Fever S. at Oaklawn in her 2021 opener. She’s traveled to Royal Ascot the last two years, finishing a close second in the Commonwealth Cup (G1) and Queen Mary S. (G2), and has finished out of the money only once in her 10-race career (6-2-1).

Bred in Kentucky by China Horse Club, Kimari increased her earnings to $758,794.

Estilo Talentoso, the longest shot in the field at 50-1, offered a bid between foes to be second, 2 1/4 lengths better than Grade 1 winner Bell’s the One in third. Sanenus, Mundaye Call, Fair Maiden, and Sconsin rounded out the finish.

Commonwealth S. (G3)

After maneuvering outside for clear sailing in the stretch, Flagstaff drove to a decisive 1 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Commonwealth S. (G3). Rosario delivered the heady ride aboard the seven-year-old gelding, who left the starting gate as the 19-10 favorite, and Flagstaff completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:21.84.

Owned by Lane’s End Racing and Hronis Racing, the John Sadler-trained veteran snapped a six-race losing streak, earning his first triumph since taking the San Carlos S. (G2) last March. The three-time stakes victor was exiting a third in the March 13 Hot Springs S. at Oaklawn Park.

Flagstaff also recorded runner-up finishes in the Count Fleet S. (G3), Pat O’Brien S. (G2), and Santa Anita Sprint Championship S. (G2) in-between wins. The Kentucky-bred son of Speightstown has now bankrolled $703,285 from an 18-6-6-3 record.

Pacesetter Special Reserve held second, a nose better than late runner Attachment Rate, who was followed by Bango, Mucho, Hog Creek Hustle, and Hidden Scroll.

Shakertown S. (G2)

Bound for Nowhere nailed Imprimis in the final strides of the $200,000 Shakertown S. (G2), winning the 5 1/2-furlong turf event for the second time.

Hero of the 2018 Shakertown, the seven-year-old horse finished a neck second and a neck third in the last two editions, setting the pace each time, but Bound for Nowhere switched tactics after breaking poorly this time around, rallying from ninth in the early stages to gamely score with Rosario.

Ward owns and trains the Kentucky-bred. By The Factor, Bound for Nowhere inched closer to millionaire status ($999,933 in earnings), improving his career mark to 15-7-2-2, and he was timed in 1:02.19.

Off as the 2.30-1 favorite, Bound for Nowhere edged 5-2 second choice Imprimis, who overcame breaking through the starting gate early to just miss. Critical Way, Johnny Unleashed, American Butterfly, Kanthaka, Readyforprimetime, High Crime, Turned Aside, Just Might, Chess Master, and Hollis came next under the wire.

Appalachian S. (G2)

Jouster proved too much for rivals on the front end of the $200,000 Appalachian S. (G2), recording a 1 1/2-length decision. Luis Saez dictated terms throughout on the front-running daughter of Noble Mission, and Todd Pletcher trains the three-year-old miss for Starlight Racing.

Favored at 17-10 odds in the mile turf affair, Jouster stopped the teletimer in 1:36.83. The bay lass had a two-race win streak snapped when getting caught late in the March 6 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, finishing a nose second as the favorite, but she was able to easily notch her first stakes tally on Saturday.

Bred in Kentucky by St. Elias Stables, Jouster was purchased for $360,000 as a 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling. Her scorecard reads 6-3-2-0.

Gift List wound up second, a half-length better than Grade 2 winner Plum Ali, who was off at 2-1 in her 2021 opener. Saranya, Flown, and Spanish Loveaffair completed the order.