Kentucky Downs offered six graded turf stakes on Saturday, including a pair of lucrative mile events which featured wire-to-wire winners.
Mint Million (G3)
Somelikeithotbrown appears back in top form, comfortably winning the $1 million Mint Million (G3) to notch his second consecutive stakes victory. A convincing scorer in the off-the-turf West Point S. at Saratoga on Aug. 26, the six-year-old horse took advantage of the postponement of the Mint Million, which was rescheduled after last Saturday’s card was washed out, and Jose Ortiz was up for Mike Maker.
The 2.30-1 favorite sprinted to the fore at the start, leading by 1 1/2 lengths after an opening quarter-mile in :23.48, and Somelikeithotbrown continued to show the way while clear through splits in :46.93 and 1:10.58.
Atoned stalked in second throughout, and tried to reel in the pacesetter in deep stretch, but Somelikeithotbrown had plenty in reserve to withstand the runner-up, winning by a 1 1/2-length margin. He stopped the teletimer in 1:33.88.
Owned by Skychai Racing and David Koenig, Somelikeithotbrown earned his eighth stakes win, including four graded tallies, and he’s now bankrolled $1,647,018 from a 28-10-6-4 record. Somelikeithotbrown finished second in last year’s Mint Million, and he counts a pair of Grade 1s among his 10 stakes placings.
Atoned, off as the 3.38-1 third choice among eight runners, held second by a nose over Mr Dumas. Field Pass came next in fourth, and Gray’s Fable, 2021 Mint Million winner Pixelate, Kentucky Ghost, and Cavalry Charge completed the order of finish.
Bred in New York by Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar Stables, Somelikeithotbrown is by Big Brown, and the bay speedster hails from the Tapit mare Marilyn Monroan, who is also the dam of New York-bred stakes winner Jolting Joe. This is the immediate female family of 2005 champion two-year-old male Stevie Wonderboy.
Kentucky Ladies Turf (G3)
After gamely turning back Princess Grace in the Aug. 13 Beverly D. (G1) at Churchill Downs, Dalika kept her rival safe by a neck in the $750,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3). Brian Hernandez Jr. had the mount for owner Bal Mar Equine and trainer Al Stall Jr., and Dalika pushed her earnings past the $1 million mark ($1,289,009) with her sixth career stakes triumph.
The classy six-year-old mare sped to an unopposed early advantage from her innermost post, leading by about a couple of lengths through splits in :23.06 and :46.17, and the gray German-bred remained clear into deep stretch. Princess Grace, the even-money favorite, raced in second throughout and determinedly tried to catch her foe in the final sixteenth of a mile, but Dalika had too much of a cushion.
Dalika prevailed as the 2.54-1 second choice, and the final margin wasn’t as close as it would appear on paper. She was timed in 1:33.53, slightly faster than male rivals three races earlier.
Princess Grace was 1 1/2 lengths better than Market Rumor, who got up by a nose in a blanket finish for third. Henrietta Topham, Sunny One, Hendy Woods, and Country Chick came next under the wire.
The first stakes winner from the Hurricane Run mare Drawn to Run, Dalika was bred by Gestut Ammerland. Her career line now reads 29-9-7-0, and Dalika has never been better, recording a pair of wins and a second from four starts since opening her 2022 season in June.