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Yuugiri stumbles at start but goes on to win Open Mind by 3 lengths
We talk to trainer Rodolphe Brisset after graded-stakes winner Yuugiri, who had been on or right near the lead in her prior victories, stumbled badly at the start but removed to win Churchill Downs' $300,000 Open Mind by three lengths over Fire On Time, with heavy favorite Wicked Halo third.
G3 Iroquois winner West Saratoga: Jockey Rafael Bejarano, owner Harry Veruchi
We catch up with jockey Rafael Bejarano and owner Harry Veruchi after long shot West Saratoga - coming off an Ellis Park maiden victory in his fourth attempt, albeit with straight seconds -- captures Churchill Downs' $300,000, Grade 3 Iroquois, the first points race for Kentucky Derby 150.
Road to Derby 150: Larry Demeritte on G3 Iroquois winner West Saratoga
The second-longest shot on the board, Harry Veruchi's West Saratoga out-finished favored Risk It to take the $300,000, Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, the first points race for the 150th Kentucky Derby. It was the biggest win ever for veteran Lexington-based trainer Larry Demeritte, who 47 years ago came over from his native Bahamas. Don't miss this interview, where Larry discusses why he came to Kentucky and buying West Saratoga for $11,000 as last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale. West Saratoga came into the mile Iroquois off a maiden victory at Ellis Park following three straight thirds. We have jockey Rafael Bejarano and owner Harry Veruchi on another video.
Start Dreaming! Mike Mackin's V V's Dream takes G3 Pocahontas
Mike Mackin's V V's Dream exploded to the lead in midstretch to take Churchill Downs' Grade 3 Pocahontas, the first qualifying race for the 2024 Kentucky Oaks. On the agenda: Keeneland's G1 Darley Alcibiades and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. We speak with jockey Brian Hernandez and Mike Mackin. (Trainer Kenny McPeek was at the Keeneland sale, buying next year's 2-year-olds.) V V's Dream came into the Pocahontas off a narrow half-length defeat to eventual G1 winner Brightwork in the Debutante Stakes that was moved to Ellis Park July 2.
Bingo! Bango ties record for most Churchill Downs victories in LTS Stakes
The 6-year-old Bango battles Gulfstream Way through the stretch to win the $300,000 Louisville Thoroughbred Society Stakes by a head to tie Ready's Rocket as Churchill Downs' all-time win leader at 11. (Not counting his victory in the Kelly's Landing in his last start, which was moved to Ellis Park from Churchill Downs). Video starts with the "Bango Express" en route to the paddock, the horses galloping out, then interviews with jockey Tyler Gaffalione and trainer Greg Foley - and then the post victory toast with trac president Mike Anderson.
One Timer earns return trip to Kentucky Downs
One Timer captured last year's G2 Franklin-Simpson Stakes at Kentucky Downs. The now 4-year-old gelding pressed the early leader and held off the late-running Let My People Go to capture Sunday's $200,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Sprint, earning a fees-paid spot in the $1 million Ainsworth Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 9. Hear from jockey E.T. Baird afterward. Trophy presentation by Ky State Representative Suzanne Miles of Owensboro, a huge supporter of horse racing and Ellis Park.
Safeen earns spot in Dueling Grounds Oaks with G3 Pucker Up win
On an afternoon of terrific finishes, favored Safeen edged Bling for a half-length victory under Luis Saez in the first running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Pucker Up to be held at Ellis Park, with the stakes historically staged at the now-demolished Arlington Park. The victory gave the 3-year-old filly a fees-paid spot in the $1 million Dueling Grounds Oaks. We hear from Eddie Kenneally after the race. He trains Safeen for owners Fergus Galvin and Rebecca Hillen. Trophy presentation by KY State Rep. Jonathan Dixon, whose district includes Ellis Park. Rep. Dixon is a huge supporter of horse racing and Ellis Park.
KY Downs Preview Ladies Turf: A toast to New Year's Eve!
The 4-year-old filly New Year's Eve earned a fees-paid spot in Kentucky Downs' $1 million Castle Hill Gaming Ladies Turf on Sept. 9, rallying from near last to wear down the front-running For the Flag for a three-quarters of a length score in Sunday's $200,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Ladies Turf Mile at Ellis Park. New Year's Eve got a class break after coming out of a fourth-place in Belmont Park's G1 Just a Game that followed a third in Churchill Downs' G3 Modesty. We catch up with jockey Luis Saez and Paul Madden, the assistant trainer who is overseeing trainer Brendan Walsh's Churchill Downs division this summer. New Year's Eve is owned by Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Fergus Galvin. Trophy presentation by Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs' Vice President for Racing.
Keith Asmussen gets first victory since sidelined by bad finger break
Keith Asmussen, son of Hall of Fame trainer Steve and Julie Asmussen, is unique. Name another jockey who launched their career while earning two degrees from the University of Texas’ esteemed McCombs School of Business. But like his dad and granddad and namesake, Keith J. wanted to ride. The 24-year-old's riding career had picked up steam at Oaklawn Park, including going 3-for-3 on the speedy Ryvit, and he was set to try to win his first graded stakes on the Preakness undercard in the G3 Chick Lang. Then he gruesomely broke his finger in the starting gate two days before Preakness Day. Off two months, Keith J. resumed riding at Ellis Park on July 16. On Aug. 4, he earned his first victory since his return and his first at Ellis Park as Ship It won by seven lengths. On Ellis Park's dark days, Asmussen is at Churchill Downs, getting on horses for his dad's division there. Racing days he's at Ellis, and he hopes to start riding at Horseshoe Indianapolis on Ellis' dark days.
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