By Dick Downey
The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint may have gotten another runner today after Luke of York won Keeneland's 75th Anniversary Stakes.
The son of Put It Back and Rajiv Maragh got up to win the six-furlong race on the main track by a nose, timed in 1:09.56. They edged out Voodoo Daddy and Larry Zip, who were also noses apart at the wire. While Luke of York broke slowly, all three horses came from off the pace after D' Wildcat Road set early fractions of :21.98 and :44.83.
Luke of York, trained by Jimmy DeVito, is owned by George Michaels. Out of Gion, by Meadow Monster, the dark bay or brown colt was bred in Florida by Classic Run Farm, Inc.
The 2-1 favorite, Luke of York paid $6.80 to win and got a check for $75,000 of the $125,000 purse.
Jimmy DeVito, winning trainer of Luke of York: “He broke terrible, so I was concerned. But he’s a big horse, strong horse, got a big stride and he got up there in a hurry.”
On preparation for today’s race: “We broke his maiden, and we came here and he trained real good. He’s a big horse; it was a little quick to run him back. It fit the program, so we took a shot. He’s a nice horse.”
On to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships? “I hope so. We’ll talk it over and see.”
Rajiv Maragh, winning rider of Luke of York: “He kinda jumped a little slow. The pace was going pretty fast. He settled back and made a strong run at the end and he prevailed. He seemed like he was fighting hard and I felt like there was more left in the tank. He just kept on going. (The trainer) says he’s got a lot of fight in him and he’s pretty versatile, depending on how the race shapes up. He’s a straightforward horse; you can do whatever you want to do with him. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Julien Leparoux, rider of second-place finisher Voodoo Daddy: “I thought we got it. He’s a real nice horse. At Monmouth (on September 8 in which he finished eighth) he had trouble in the gate, but no trouble in the race. He was the one horse, and the inside was not that good at Monmouth. He is still a little green, but he’ll get better.”
James Graham, rider of third-place finisher Larry Zip: “He’s a little difficult. He’s easy to ride once he’s rolling and he ran his race.”