Royal Spy went undercover at 11-1 to capture the $200,000 Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IIT) at Keeneland in Friday's feature contest.
The 5-year-old son of Peteski dominated a field of nine runners, winning comfortably by 1 1/4 length over Miesque's Approval. Touch of the Blues, winner of last year's running of the Maker's Mark, was another two lengths back in third.
Forwardly placed by jockey Robby Albarado, the winner settled into second position early on behind pacesetter Angel on the Wing. Private Son and Miesque's Approval were next, with the remainder of the field a half-dozen or more lengths off the front end. By the second turn, Royal Spy took over the lead and was never seriously threatened, stopping the clock in 1:35 4/5.
"It worked out the same as his last race," said Albarado. "He likes to have a target the first quarter mile and then he takes himself to the lead. I don't discourage him. He waits and waits and then when I call on him, he sprints to the wire. I felt something coming, but he wasn't going to let them by. I think a mile is a good distance for him. When he sprints home like that, he's hard to catch. I thought this was a tough field of horses. He did it well within himself."
Royal Spy was winning for the ninth time in 21 lifetime starts. This was his first graded stakes triumph, though he has also won the Colonel Bradley at Fair Grounds, the West Virginia's Speaker's Cup at Mountaineer, and the Grand Prairie Challenge at Lone Star. The win, worth $120,000, pushed his earnings to $584,955. Royal Spy races as a homebred for Drs. K. K. Jayaraman and V. Devi Jayaraman. He was produced by the Caro mare Caro's Beauty and was bred in Florida. He is conditioned by Tom Amoss.
The winner was good for payoffs of $25.20, $11.60, and $6. Miesque's Approval returned $5.20 and $3.80, with Touch of the Blues showing at $3.60. The exacta paid $140.40.
The 9-5 favorite, Juddmonte Farm's Decarchy, finished sixth after lacking a serious kick. Political Attack was eighth.