Circle E Racing’s Mr. Sidney took command at the top of the lane, then outdueled Passager in a long stretch drive to win the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (gr. IT) (VIDEO) on Keeneland’s yielding turf course April 11.
On a rainy day in Lexington, Mr. Sidney handled the soggy turf better than his five rivals, just as he did when breaking his maiden last summer at Saratoga. The 5-year-old son of Storm Cat stayed near the back of the pack while 2-1 favorite Thorn Song set the pace. Thorn Song, who won the Maker’s Mark a year ago, clicked off fractions of :24.03 and :49-flat for a half-mile, but came up empty midway on the turn.
Fluke, who tracked the early pace under Garrett Gomez, inherited the lead as the rounded the turn, but was quickly tackled by Mr. Sidney approaching the eighth-pole. Last through the backstretch, Passager rolled up with a bold, four-wide move under Edgar Prado and came onto nearly even terms with Mr. Sidney in upper stretch. But Mr. Sidney, with red-hot Kent Desormeaux aboard, was game on the inside and never relinquished his narrow advantage. The final margin of victory was a half-length.
The final time was 1:41.84. Passager, a French-bred gelding making his third start on U.S. soil, was 5 3/4 lengths clear of third-place Just as Well. Thorn Song finished last.
“Not only did he handle (the yielding turf course), but he re-engaged within the last 200 yards,” said Desormeaux, who rode four winners on the card. “I think the most exciting thing about the win today is the owner, Lee Einsidler. He’s been just a pleasure to work with.”
Mr. Sidney, trained by Bill Mott, entered the Maker’s Mark off a fourth-place finish in the Mac Diarmada (gr. IIT) on Feb. 21 at Gulfstream Park. He won an allowance event over the same turf course in his 5-year-old debut the month before. This was his first stakes victory.
“The timing was right today, and he was doing well,” Mott said. “He was coming off a couple of races in Florida. He’s a nice horse and a good prospect for us in the barn.”
Mr. Sidney was a $3.9 million purchase at the Keeneland 2005 September yearling sale when consigned by Lane's End as agent. He was bred in Kentucky by Hilbert Thoroughbreds and is out of the A.P. Indy mare Tomisue’s Delight. The win was his fourth in eight lifetime starts and it increased his earnings to $303,664.
The winner paid $8.40, $4.60 and $3.60. The exacta (1-4) returned $42.60 and the trifecta (1-4-7) was worth $140.40.
In the afternoon’s other stakes race, the $100,000 Fort Harrod, 16-1 longshot Gangbuster made a sweeping four-wide move coming off the turn and outran Kurbat for the victory in the 1 5/8-mile marathon (VIDEO). Desormeaux also rode the winner, this one for his brother, Keith.
Gangbuster is a 4-year-old chestnut colt by Langfuhr, out of the Beau Genius mare Foxcaller. He is owned by Allshouse Racing Stable and was bred in Kentucky by Mike G. Rutherford. Gangbuster is now 5-5-0 from 19 starts.