Dogwood Stable's unbeaten Limehouse overcame a troubled trip in Sunday's $162,750 Bashford Manor (gr. III) to win by a widening 4 1/2 lengths in a roughly run closing day feature for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Robby Albarado, Limehouse won the six-furlong fixture, his third in a row, in a time of 1:10 3/5. Runner-up First Money, 42-1, was two lengths clear of 1-2 favorite Cuvee, who nosed out Bustin' out for third.
Winning trainer Todd Pletcher won the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park 15 minutes prior to the 102nd running of the Bashford Manor.
Limehouse was bumped coming out of the gate by the early leader Bustin' Out and was forced into Cuvee, who was on his inside. Limehouse was in tight between horses at the half-mile point as Cuvee and jockey Lonnie Meche had to take up on the inside while trying to make the lead. Albarado was able to ease Limehouse to the outside at the top of the stretch and the son of Grand Slam took over inside the final furlong and drove for home with a strong finish.
After taking up and grazing the rail in the mishap, Cuvee lost several lengths heading into the turn, attempted to rally behind Limehouse and managed to touch out the tiring Bustin' Out late.
"He bounced him off the fence and lost all of his spot," said Cuvee's trainer, Steve Asmussen. "Damn the luck."
Bustin' Out went :21 1/5 and :44 3/5 before giving way to First Money and jockey Dean Butler in the stretch.
With his first grades stakes win, Limehouse earned $100,905 for Cot Campbell's Dogwood partnership, more than doubling his career total to $197,935. The chestnut won the Three Chimneys at Churchill in similar ground-saving fashion in his last start on Kentucky Derby Day May 3.
"It seemed a lot like Derby Day – he sat off the pace," said Albarado, who enjoyed a tremendous weekend by also winning the Suburban (gr. I) at Belmont on Saturday. "Cuvee might have stumbled a bit leaving there, might have got off a little slow. I don't know what happened with him. My horse broke sharp really aggressive. I was in a good spot going to the turn. I was in the third spot where I needed to be. I figured he would finish and he's a really good stick horse."
Limehouse has provided Dogwood with its first stakes victories at Churchill Downs since 1994.
"We'll run him next in the Saratoga Special (August 13 )," Campbell said. "That was always the plan to keep him and Heckle (also owned by Dogwood) racing on alternating days. That was impressive today. He's done everything right.
"This horse has a nice pedigree and has the ingredients to be a nice horse."
Cheryl A. Curtin bred Limehouse, who is out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixieland Blues, in Florida. He was purchased as a yearling for $140,000 at Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga sale.
The 3-1 second choice among six who started, the winner paid $8, $4.20 and $2.10. First Money returned $14 and $2.10. Cuvee showed for $2.10. The $2 exacta was worth $190.40.