Overlooked Thiskyhasnolimit drove four wide through the homestretch under Shaun Bridgmohan to register his first stakes win by one length in the $120,800 Iroquois (gr. III) (VIDEO) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs Nov. 1.
The Sky Mesa colt, owned by Cathy and Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner and trained by Steve Asmussen, popped at 13-1 in the one-turn mile test, coming home in 1:37.36 over a fast track on the "Stars of Tomororrow" program, the opening card of the 21-day meet.
In hand while racing eighth of 10 for the first half-mile, Thiskyhasnolimit closed impressively to gain a short lead over Uh Oh Bango at the eighth pole, and inched away to the wire. Uh Oh Bango, with Glenn Corbett aboard, was clear by three lengths from the show horse, Soaring Empire , ridden by Eddie Castro.
"I was just very patient and waited for a hole to open up and turning for home it did, Bridgmohan said. "He gave me the acceleration that I needed to get home. He is a pretty nice horse. He was a very professional racehorse today.”
Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Dublin was the even-money choice with high weight of 123 pounds. He was hard-ridden by Rajiv Maragh on the turn and failed to respond in the lane, finishing seventh while racing with blinkers for the first time.
“He never got into the race like he normally does," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "He usually just pulls himself into the race, but he didn’t today. I just don’t know. He’s been training wonderful. We’ll just step back and analyze him and see.”
Raging Wit set a solid pace for the opening mile -- :22.81 and :46.26 -- before fading. Three Day Rush, stalking in third, took over while three wide on the turn, completing six furlongs in 1:11.80 before tiring himself in the stretch run when challenged by the five-wide Uh Oh Bango.
A seven-length maiden winner over a sloppy Churchill strip in his second start July 4, Thiskyhasnolimit had been well-beaten in his last two starts by leading juvenile D' Funnybone in New York. He ran last of eight in the Saratoga Special (gr. II) Aug. 20, and then returned with a third-place effort in Belmont's Futurity Stakes (gr. II) Sept. 19, losing by 12 3/4 lengths. Thiskyhasnolimit returned to Churchill, where he posted three works for the Iroquois, in early October.
“He trained extremely well here coming into this race and he put forth the kind of race we were expecting," Asmussen said. "Obviously, we were extremely disappointed with his previous two starts because we always had high hopes for him. He looks to appreciate the added distance."
Asmussen said the colt's next target will be the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on closing day of the Churchill meet Nov. 28.
Thiskyhasnolimit's second win in five starts was worth $71,151 and more than doubled his bankroll to $136,236. Bred in Kentucky by TNT Stud, the dark bay colt is out of the Deputy Minister mare Lovely Regina and went for $120,000 at the Keeneland September 2008 yearling sale.
The winner carried 117 pounds and paid $28.20, $13, and $6.60, topping a $2 exacta of $282.60. Uh Oh Bango, an Arizona-bred ridgling from the Kory Owens barn, returned $8.60 and $6.20. Soaring Empire, a son of Empire Maker who scored at first asking in his only prior start for trainer Cam Gambolati at Monmouth Park, paid $5 to show.
“I really don’t think I had him tight enough for the mile," Owens said of the runner-up. "Especially it being the one-turn mile, I think that’s a lot harder. It’s definitely the toughest sprint race I think you can find.”
Gleam of Hope finished fourth, followed by Three Day Rush, Call Shot, Dublin, Brassy Boy, Oh Charlie Boy, and Raging Wit. Comedero and Fist of Rage were scratched.