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Digital Age wins the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) in front of the empty grandstand.
Kentucky Derby Day is the biggest card of racing at Churchill Downs, however due to the pandemic it was moved from its traditional May date to Labor Day weekend. Before the main event, there were six graded stakes contested over the main track and turf course before the mostly empty grandstand and apron, as attendance was restricted to essential officials, horsemen, owners, and very limited media. Conditions were excellent at the historic Louisville track with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80's.
Beau Recall wins the Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2)
Newspaperofrecord was quickest away through fractions of 23.99, 47.93, and 1:11.82 while presssed by Juliet Foxtrot and stalked by 16-1 Belle Laura. Newspaperofrecord opened a 2 length lead midstretch through 7f in 1:23.38 but last year's winner, 8-1 Beau Recall, 5th early under Manny Franco, came out 5 wide and rallied to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:35.39. It was another length back to 15-1 La Signare third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Beau Recall runs out after the race. Winning trainer Brad Cox said, "I thought she had a big shot midway down the lane. She did exactly what Manny (Franco) was instructed to do. He actually did exactly what Irad (Ortiz Jr.) did in the race last year when she won it. The race in California (Yellow Ribbon Handicap) she never had a shot. I want to thank those owners for allowing her to run here at Churchill. She loves it here. We sort of knew coming into this week that it could be a big week for our stable. This is our home and to have this sort of weekend on the biggest stage in the sport is really special."
Right: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Newspaperofrecord leads around the clubhouse turn. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "I didn't have any excuse today. I really am shocked because she did everything the right way. She broke well, she wasn't rank, she did everything the right way. And you can see the pace, :23 and change, :47 and change. The only excuse I can see is if maybe she doesn't like this grass (course). I don't know. She did everything right, good pace, good set up. Unfortunately she just got beat."
Bell's the One wins the Derby City Distaff Stakes (G1)
Bellafina was quickest out of the chute through an opening quarter of 21.95 before Serengeti Empress took over on the far turn through a half in 43.77 and 3/4 in 1:08.15. 9-2 fourth choice Bell's the One, 6th early under Corey Lanerie, came out 4 wide, catching Serengeti Empress inside the 1/16 pole and outfinishing the favorite to win by a nose in 1:21.07. It was another 3 lengths back to 9-1 Sally's Curlin third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Bell's the One gets a kiss from trainer Neil Pessin in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Neil Pessin, celebrating his first Grade 1 said, "That was an unbelievable horse race. Tom Amoss and I actually joked before the photo came out that we would take a dead heat. I thought I'd gone by her, and then I thought she came back. I was happy whether we'd won or lost. Maybe now she'll get a little respect, because she's never gotten it any time she's run. She tries hard every time. The only times she's ever gotten beat, it was my fault. Not hers. I think you have to (run in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint), I think that's your only choice. That will be her next race. We gave her two months between her last race and this one and it's another two months to the Breeders' Cup. She does well with the spacing. It sets up good for her and she's won before at seven-eighths at Keeneland in the Raven Run."
Right: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Serengeti Empress leads at the head of the stretch. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "That was a tough one. I'm so sorry guys. It was a great effort. I feel terrible. I really wish I could have gotten it done for you guys. She kept fighting. It was tight (at the finish). When you're battling down the lane like that, head bob, head bob, you don't really know. You just hope for the best. It just wasn't our day. She goes out there and she does her thing and just keeps fighting. She's a tremendous filly. I'm so happy I got to ride her. They got her today, hopefully we can get them next time."
Fancy Liquor wins the American Turf (G2)
9-1 American Butterfly and 19-1 Sugoi dueled first time by and around the clubhouse turn through fractions of 23.04 and 46.48 while stalked by Smooth Like Strait. On the far turn Smooth Like Strait gained the lead through 3/4 in 1:11.23 but tired in the lane as Field Pass moved up to lead through 1 mile in 1:36.53. Fancy Liquor, 5th early under Florent Geroux, came out 3 wide and rallied to win by 1/2 a length over 11-1 Taishan in 1:42.83. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Field Pass third, and 2 1/4 more to favorite Smooth Like Strait fourth.
Full results chart
Left: Fancy Liquor heads to the winner's circle. Winning jockey Florent Geroux said, "This horse seems to be still learning. He broke really well but the horses in front of me were going really fast. He's shown in the past he's run well on the lead but he doesn't necessarily have to have the lead. The race I rode aboard him at Keeneland (Transylvania) he came from just off the pace and we got beat by Field Pass that day but I know (Fancy Liquor) was still learning and getting better."
Right: Beaten favorite and 4th place finisher Smooth Like Strait leads around the final turn. The Mike McCarthy trainee has a record of 4 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 9 starts, earning $277,823 for owner-breeder Cannon Thoroughbreds.
Rushie wins the Pat Day Mile (G3)
5-1 Vertical Threat was quickest out of the chute through fractions of 23.14, 46.22, and 1:09.77 while pressed by Tap It to Win and stalked by Echo Town and Rushie. Inthe stretch, Vertical Threat tired as Rushie inherited the lead through 7f in 1:21.65. Kept to task by Javier Castellano, Rushie drew off late to win by 1 3/4 lengths over 26-1 Sonneman in 1:34.41. It was another 1/2 length back to Tap It to Win third, while Echo Town faded to finish 5th.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Rushie in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mike McCarthy said, "Part of me wanted to go with the Derby. The horse was training well all along but I can't thank the owners enough for supporting me. We ended up in the Pat Day Mile and were rewarded with a great effort. Hopefully this race sets us up for a solid fall campaign. I'm not sure which way we go from here. It's been a long day and a tough day yesterday in the Oaks (with Speech) so we're just going to savor this one and see what happens down the road."
Right: 5th place finisher and beaten favorite Echo Town breaks from the gate. Trainer Steve Asmussen said, "Echo Town was kind of boxed in there, and then going too slow and then held up. Not ideal for him."
Digital Age wins the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1)
Factor This set the pace of 23.24, 47.17, and 1:11.16 while pressed by 30-1 True Valour and stalked by 12-1 Spectacular Gem. Factor This opened up a 1 1/2 length lead midstretch through 1 mile in 1:35.48 but 17-2 Digital Age, 9th early under Javier Castellano, rallied 5 wide to win by 3/4 length in 1:47.79. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Rockemperor third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Head on of the finish with Digital Age followed by Rock Emperor (inside) and Factor This Whit Beckman, assistant to winning trainer Chad Brown said, "He had a beautiful trip. This horse loves this course. I think Chad discussed race tactics with the jockeys and they all know what they're doing going into this spot. It's always good to win races like this at home here on Derby Day. Turning for home he had a good position, got a nice trip and this horse likes this turf course. He shipped down from New York but just watching him train here the last few days, he looked super relaxed. He looked like he was doing better than I had ever seen him do.
Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "That's what makes this game fun, you never know what is going to happen with the horses. Thank God, I got lucky. I had a beautiful, beautiful trip. I saved all the ground and cut the corner turning for home and it paid off. My horse he liked the ground, he handled it so well. I'm very satisfied with the way he did it. I felt that they went pretty quick (up front) and I took my time. I didn't want to rush it and be close to the pace. I wanted to ride with a lot of patience and finally it paid off."
Shaun Bridgmohan aboard second place finisher Factor This said, "You can't ask him to do much more than what he did. He put his heart out there again. Unfortunately we didn't get the win today, but he's a trier. I mean, he was giving me everything. It was nothing on his part. He waited a little bit turning for home and I kicked on with him. He was very determined today."
Sittin On Go wins the Iroquois Stakes)
Therideofalifetime set the pace of 23.04, 45.64, and 1:10.00 while pressed by 28-1 Notary and stalked by Midnight Bourbon. Into the lane Therideofa lifetime tired as Midnight Bourbon inherited the lead through 7f in 1:22.37. 24-1 Sittin On Go, 9th early under Corey Lanerie, came out 5 wide for room and rallied to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Midnight Bourbon in 1:35.00. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to 8-1 Super Stock third, and 5 1/4 more to favorite Therideofalifetime fourth.
Results chart from DRF
Winning owner Dennis Albaugh said, "Man, to pick up the Pocahontas (with Girl Daddy on Thursday) and then follow it up with the Iroquois two days later is unreal. We couldn't be happier. That's why we're in the racing business. That horse was unbelievable coming around the turn. I was like, ‘Man, he's moving.' "
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