Benefiting from a gutsy move by jockey Kent Desormeaux, Touch of the Blues charged through a wall of horse to post an upset victory in Friday's $200,000, grade II Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.
Running down inside as the field rounded the second turn in the mile turf test, Touch of the Blues moved to the middle of the track and charged to the lead. Longshot closer Pisces finished second, followed by Boastful.
"Well, I'll tell you what, he really poured it on when we found some room," said Desormeaux. "Again, it was some tight quarters turning for home. (Trainer) Neil (Drysdale) was real confident when I talked to him at the barn yesterday morning."
Quiet Resolve finished a neck behind Boastful in fourth, with 17-10 favorite Thady Quill a half-length farther back in fifth. Where's Taylor, Even the Score, Baptize, pacesetter Honorable Pic, and One Eyed Joker completed the order of finish on the firm turf.
Sent off at odds of nearly 13-1, Touch of the Blues paid $27.60, $11.40, and $7.40. Ken McPeek-trained Pisces made a strong move along the inside in deep stretch to pay $16.20 and $10.20, while Boastful was worth $6.40. The final time was 1:35.02, just 1 2/5 seconds slower than the course record.
A homebred racing for Gainsborough Farm, Touch of the Blues is a 5-year-old Irish-bred son of Cadeaux Generous. He has won six of 23 career starts and was posting his first victory since September of 2000, when he took the listed Prix du Pin in France. In four U.S. starts last year, the horse had seconds and a third while racing in stakes company in Southern California. Previously this year, Touch of the Blues finished sixth, beaten only 3 1/2 lengths in the Reb's Policy Handicap but had his number moved down a notch to seventh for drifting out. He followed with a fifth place effort in allowance company in a race which produced the fastest turf mile of the current Santa Anita meet. (Chart, Equibase