The gutsy gray/roan colt answered emphatically, as he shot through the hedge in the stretch under Cornelio Velasquez and pulled away to win by a length on a yielding turf at Keeneland in his 5-year-old debut, in the process winning the event for the second consecutive year. His final time over the yielding course was 1:36.78.
Bettors also believed in the son of Kipling --Klondike Kaytie, sending him off as the 2-1 favorite. Brazilian-bred Einstein, who entered off a victory in the Feb. 23 Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT), rallied to get up for second, just ahead of Thorn Song. Cosmonaut finished fourth followed, in order, by Out of Control, Shakis, Parading, Ruff and Ready, Zann, and War Monger.
Trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., Kip Deville won for the 10th time in 22 lifetime starts, and earned his fifth graded stakes victory. He is owned by IEAH Stables and Pegasus Holding Group Stables.
“This was all by design. We gave him a couple months off just to walk the barn,” said Dutrow, who also trians probable Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Big Brown. “We targeted this race ever since he won the Breeders’ Cup and sometimes things don’t work out like you plan them, but 'Kip' made sure it worked this time.”
Dutrow said he plans on pointing Kip Deville to the Woodbine Mile (Can-I) in September, a race in which he finished second to Shakespeare in 2007. It would be on to Santa Anita to defend his Breeders' Cup title after that.
Zayat Stables’ Thorn Song set the early pace in the Maker’s Mark, breaking quickly from post 11 to record fractions of :24.02 and :48.30. Einstein, Ruff and Ready, and War Monger were close up, while Kip Deville also tracked the pace from the inside and was fourth with four furlongs remaining.
War Monger, under Kent Desormeaux, made a bold move to the front as they hit the turn, but was taken six-wide approaching the stretch. Thorn Song still carried a narrow advantage through three-quarters (1:12.90), but there was plenty of room for Velasquez to move Kip Deville through on the fence, and they made the lead at the three-sixteenth pole.
Kip Deville continued his clear advantage in the stretch and was never seriously threatened. Einstein, under Robby Albarado, out-finished Thorn Song in the final strides.
The winner paid $6.20, $4.20, and $3.20. The exacta (1-2) was worth $36.40, while the trifecta (1-2-11) returned $195.40.
Kip Deville was bred by Center Hill Farms.