Admission Office, who has been on the losing end of close finishes in major stakes races, experienced a change of fortune June 13 in the $100,000 Louisville Stakes (G3T) at Churchill Downs when he outbattled favored Arklow by a head.
The victory did not come easily. Breaking from the outside post in the field of 12 older horses in the three-turn, 1 1/2-mile turf race, the son of Point of Entry settled in seventh, six lengths off the pace, as longshot Lombo went to the lead with fractions of :24.51, :49.59, and 1:14.03.
Content with this position for the first half of the race, Julien Leparoux kept Admission Office two wide around the race's opening two turns. Then when 2019 Louisville Stakes winner Tiz a Slam went to the lead shortly after Lombo clocked a mile 1:39.21, the field began to compact, forcing Leparoux and other jockeys to made decisions.
Leparoux opted to take the overland route on Amerman Racing's Admission Office, and though it cost him ground, it allowed Admission Office to make an earlier bid than inside-rallying Arklow under Florent Geroux, who had no alternative but to await an opening.
So Admission Office swooped to the lead and had enough left to hold off a rallying Arklow.
"We settled into a really nice spot early and he really liked the extra distance today," said Leparoux, who won the Louisville Stakes in 2018 aboard Vettori Kin. "He kept fighting the entire stretch."
Racing on a firm turf course, 5-year-old Admission Office completed the distance in 2:27.25, the second-fastest in the stakes' history behind only Simmard's 2:27.16 in 2012, according to track publicity. He paid $9.20.
Arklow, a 6-5 choice, seemed a bit intimidated in tight quarters along the hedge in early stretch but closed to finish 1 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place He's No Lemon.
It was the first stakes victory for Admission Office after six stakes placings, the most recent of which was a second in the Feb. 29 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2T) behind Zulu Alpha. He was fourth last out in the 1 1/16-mile Sunshine Forever Stakes at Gulfstream Park May 9.
"He's been crying out for some more ground, and a lot of his previous races he just seemed to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time," trainer Brian Lynch said. "He's run some big races to get beat just a head and a neck. Arklow is an outstanding horse, and it was a great battle today. Thankfully, we had our head down at the right time on the wire."
Admission Office's starts this year may have provided him with a fitness edge over Arklow, who had not raced since a fifth in the Jan. 25 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes Presented by Runhappy (G1T), and He's No Lemon, who had not started since winning the 2019 Bald Eagle Derby via disqualification Sept. 21.
Bred in Kentucky by his owners, Admission Office is out of the Royal Academy mare Miss Chapin. He is the fourth black-type runner for his dam and her second stakes winner, following Coffee Clique (by Medaglia d'Oro ), who captured four graded stakes races, including the 2014 Longines Just a Game Stakes (G1T).
Admission Office has four wins from 14 starts and earnings of $432,957.