The son of Kitten's Joy rallied from ninth in the 1 1/16-mile race, notching his first stakes win. Tom Proctor trains Banned, who was making his second start of 2011. He finished second, beaten a neck in an allowance race at Keeneland last month to begin his year.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey bred the winner, who is out of the Capote mare Cardinalli.
Banned finished fifth in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) last November at Churchill. He was in contention for most of the way in that try before coming up empty in the late going.
“He's always had talent and he ran big today," Proctor said. "The speed in there went quick and kind of set it up for us. I kind of enjoyed that one."
Proctor said he was unsure of what was next for Banned. "We don't have any plans but we'll see. There are a lot of good 3-year-old races. He's got some talent and we'll just see. The future will tell us. I'm no genius; I just get them ready to run and run."
In the American Turf, a race for 3-year-olds on the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) undercard, Banned was really ready to run. He raced near the back of the 12-horse field for most of the way. Great Mills set a solid pace under Julien Leparoux, clicking off splits of :22.53, :47.56, and 1:12.35. Private Prize, Jakesam, and Kippers N' Eggs were close to the leader, but Great Mills still had the lead coming off the final turn.
Banned, who advanced on the turn while angling out six paths wide, burst home to gobble up the pacesetter past mid-stretch. He won going away. Close Ally rallied for second under Corey Lanerie, while Air Support and Rajiv Maragh was a fast-closing third, a head behind the runner-up.
The final time on the firm turf course was 1:42.95.
"I had a good feeling in the post parade," Gomez said. "He was really quiet in the post parade. He’s usually keyed up. Out of the gate, he settled in really nice into the first turn.
"On the backside, I made him move up a little bit and once I got him moving forward a bit, I felt like I was in striking distance of all of them. I felt if he came home the way he’s supposed to, he’d be right there contending for the win at the end. I didn’t think he’d make the lead so easily. I made the lead so fast, it took him by surprise."
Banned's third win in six starts was worth $136,886 and boosted the bay colt's career earnings to $231,186.
Banned paid $8.60, $5.40, and $3.80. The exacta (3-1) returned $118.20 and the trifecta (3-1-13) was worth $624.60.