WinStar Farm’s Super Saver romped to a five-length victory over William’s Kitten in stakes-record time to win the $191,250 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs Nov. 28.
Ridden by Calvin Borel for trainer Todd Pletcher, Super Saver ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:42.83 to eclipse the stakes record of 1:43.14 set by Captain Steve in 1999. Borel sent Super Saver to the lead out of the gate and never looked back, posting early fractions of :23.33, :46.75, and 1:11.43.
Approaching the top of the stretch, Worldly and Activity Report challenged to the outside of the leader but Borel and Super Saver.Super Saver widened his margin in the stretch to give Borel his third victory in the race and fourth victory of the afternoon. Super Saver, a Kentucky homebred son of Maria's Mon out of the A.P. Indymare Supercharger now has two victories from four starts and earnings of $171,232.
Super Saver returned $6.80, $4.20, and $3.40. William’s Kitten, ridden by Miguel Mena, returned $6 and $4.40 with Worldly finishing another 4 ½ lengths back in third under Francisco Torres and paying $6 to show.
Borel’s third victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club was his fourth win on the closing-day card and enabled him to tie Julien Leparoux for the leading rider title with 27 victories each. It was the third title for Borel and the sixth for Leparoux. The impressive victory left the connections thinking of Churchill Downs in the spring.
“He’s (Super Saver) an awesome colt,” said Borel, who won this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) aboard Mine That Bird. “I talked to Todd (Pletcher) and he told me the main thing was to try and get this one to change leads a little earlier. I made him switch leads in the turn and he really turned it on again. He ran really fast. I think he is just a good racehorse. When I picked him up at about the sixteenth pole he just broke away again.”
“It was a big effort from him,” said Pletcher. “You know, he’s a colt that’s shown a lot of promise early on and he’s starting to put things together. Obviously, it was his first time two turns and first grade II performance. I was little concerned that the fractions were fast but (jockey) Calvin (Borel) is riding so well right now you’ve got to trust a guy’s judgment when he’s in the zone like he is.
“It’s very exciting to have a well-bred colt that’s good-looking with all the tools and obviously getting better as the year goes along. It’s very, very exciting to have one like that. He’ll go to Palm Meadows on Tuesday and we’ll get him settled in there. I’ll talk to (WinStar racing manager) Elliott (Walden) and come up with a game plan on what we’ll do. We’ll freshen him up and point for something in the spring.”
“Oh was that exciting,” exclaimed WinStar co-owner Kenny Troutt. “This is what horse racing is all about. Just to be a part of it is exciting. Breaking the stakes record, now that’s big. We were worried about the first two fractions (:23.33 for the first quarter mile and :46.75 for the half) and thought we were in a whole lot of trouble. But Calvin (Borel) had a lot of horse left. He knew it and went on with it. This is a great time of year to have a good 2-year-old and getting ready to be back here next year.”
“I wish he’d gotten a little help on the front end,” said Mike Maker of William’s Kitten. “Lone speed is tough to handle and the winner ran a big race. But we were happy with the way he handled the dirt and finished up.”
Steve Asmussen, who sent out 17 winners during the meet, won his fourth fall meet leading trainer title and sixth overall. Asmussen has saddled 354 winners at Churchill Downs, fifth-best all time. Romans, who saddled two winners Saturday, was second with 16 victories.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey took the leading owner title with nine winners at the meet. The title was the fourth consecutive meet title for the Ramseys, who own eight spring meet and eight fall meet titles, both seasonal records.