FRANKLIN, KY (Monday, Sept. 7, 2020) — Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Flavius surged to the lead at midstretch and held off a late charge from defending champion Snapper Sinclair by three-quarters of a length to win the 23rd running of the $645,700 Tourist Mile to cap the WinStar Farm opening-day program of the six-day RUNHAPPY Meet at Kentucky Downs.
Earlier on the 11-race program, 2-year-olds Barrister Tom and Plum Ali won the Look For The Star Juvenile and Mint Juvenile Fillies, respectively and Dalika (GER) captured the One Dreamer.
In the Tourist Mile, Flavius gave trainer Chad Brown his first Kentucky Downs stakes victory. Javier Castellano was aboard the 5-year-old son of War Front out of the Dynaformer mare Starformer.
Ivar (BRZ), Blitzkrieg and Neptune’s Storm made up the pace as Flavius raced in mid pack with Snapper Sinclair at the rear of the nine-horse field.
Castellano sent Flavius after the leaders in upper stretch, opened a daylight margin and had enough to hold off Snapper Sinclair while timed in 1:32.21. Kentucky Downs is not calling them course records as the track is testing Equibase’s Gmax tracking and timing system that utilizes GPS technology. That system is establishing a more consistent starting point.
“He broke so well out of the gate today," Castellano said. "I think that was the key to winning the race. Usually he breaks slow. For whatever reason, he got better and better. He put me in a good spot early in the race. All the time before he was too far back, and he always came late. Today he put me in good position. When I asked him, he responded so well. I’m glad the way he did it today. I wasn’t disappointed in him before; he always tried hard. Maybe he liked the track today, European style, up and down, curves. I think he really liked it and enjoyed the trip.”
The Tourist Mile victory was worth $446,400 and increased his earnings to $518,651 with a record of 7-3-1-1. It is the first stakes victory in the United States for Flavius, who began his career in Ireland.
“He came to Churchill Downs last Monday," said assistant trainer Whit Beckman, the Louisviille product overseeing Brown's new Churchill Downs-based division. "I am not sure what the decision was to come down here, but he had come from Europe and maybe he would like this kind of course. It was a good decision. He broke better today than he has in his past two starts. Javier (Castellano) rode him beautifully and he kicked on. He showed a real turn of foot.”
Flavius returned $10, $5.60 and $4. Snapper Sinclair, ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned $8.20 and $6.20 and finished a length in front of Ivar who paid $7.20 to show under Joe Talamo. Snapper Sinclair was trying to become the first three-time Kentucky Downs stakes-winner, having also won the track’s 2-year-old stakes in 2017.
“He almost did it again. He ran hard," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "We have no control how other horses run with him. The winner ran a beautiful race and finished up to the wire. Julien said he handles (the course) well. I think that puts him at $780,000 in his three Kentucky Downs starts. We’re going to talk to Ron (track co-owner Ron Winchell) and see if we can get him to use his six days a year every six weeks. We’re proud of him. We’re always proud of him.”
It was another length back to Neptune’s Storm who was followed in order by Next Shares, Blitzkrieg, Parlor, Emmaus (IRE) and Ritzy A.P.
Brown, who until this meet had only one prior starter at Kentucky Downs, also won the third race with the 2-year-old filly Fluffy Socks.