Race 1. Maiden Special Weight, 3YO & up, $120,000, 1 1/2 Mile
Nate the Natural, always prominent, pulled away in deep stretch to win under Florent Geroux (right). Michele Boyce trains the winner for Barr Three LLC, Terry Biondo and Cherrywood Racing Stables II. The time was 2:29 and change. Payoffs were $11.60, $6.80 and $5.00. Victory Torch, at 50-1, edged pacesetter Nileator for second, igniting a $549.60 exacta, and Husky Clipper was fourth. Nate the Natural was bred in Illinois by Barr Three, Biondi and Boyce. He was sired by Langfuhr and is out of Perfectlywonderful, by Mr. Frisky.
Race 2. Starter Allowance $10,000, Fillies and Mares 3YO & up, $42,000, 6 1/2 Furlongs
This rich starter allowance race, part of a $1.5 million day, was taken by Altagracia under Joe Rocco, Jr. after stalking the pace. Altagracia is trained by Darrin Miller, and owner Silverton Hill Farm bred him in Kentucky. His dad is Flatter, and he's out of Salty J, by Concorde's Tune. Running second was Congrats Honey, followed by Yamorka and Al's Rosie. $2 win place and show tickets returned $9.60, $5.20 and $3.20, and the exacta paid $43.40 on a $2 ticket.
Race 3. Claiming $17,500, 3YO & up, $33,000, 1 Mile
Brian Hernandez, Jr., who rode the 50-1 shot to a second-place finish in the first race, stalked in second and got up late to win aboard Bel Air Bullet, who returned $8.80, $5.00 and $4.00. A pair of longshots ran second and third, Batten the Hatches and North of Oswego. Bleu Brave was fourth. The winner is trained by Thomas Drury, Jr., owned by Bruce Lunsford and was bred in Kentucky by the owner. The winner is a son of Indian Charlie out of the Smart Strike mare Bel Air Beauty.
Race 4. Maiden Special Weight, 2YO, $120,000, 6 Furlongs
Surgical Strike lit up the tote board with a $41.20 payoff on a $2 win ticket. He paid $14.40 to place and $7.80 to show. Robby Albarado held him in stalking position and he took command in the lane. Ben Colebrook trains this second-time starter, who broke very slowly in his debut and finished way off the board. This was the third homebred to win today; the honors go to Edward A. Seltzer and Beverly Anderson. Surgical Strike is a Kentucky-bred son of Red Giant out of the Smart Strike mare Preemptive Attack. Irish Colonel, I'm Ready to Roll and Sunshine Life made up the rest of the superfecta. That's two in a row for Smart Strike dams.
Race 5. Allowance N1X/N2L, Fillies and Mares 3YO & up, $125,000, 1 Mile
One More Strike and Florent Geroux made it as easy as you please in a stalk-and-pounce trip. Mio Me was second, Loom third and Little Ariel fourth. The winner is by Smart Strike, whose pedigree won for the third straight time. The winner is out of the Giant's Causeway mare Julia Tuttle. Brendan Walsh trains the winner for Jbl Thoroughbreds. One More Strike was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock LLC. Win place show tickets paid $8.00, $4.00 and $3.00, and the time was 1:37.81.
Race 6. Allowance N1X/N2L, 3YO & up, $125,000, 1 Mile
Flashy Chelsey looked much the best on paper to many, but he and Francisco Torres had to fight to the finish with Jubal to prevail by a head. First-time gelding Hottap was third, and Whoopie Pie was fourth. The winner paid $5.80, $3.40 and $2.60 and he hit the wire in 1:37.69, identical to the prior race. It could be a mistake. A son of Flashy Bull, Flashy Chelsey is out of What'd I Say, by Shuallaan. The winning breeder is Augusta Farm in Kentucky. Bruce McCrae is a happy owner today.
Race 7. Encore Juvenile Fillies Stakes, Fillies 2YO, $300,000, 7 Furlongs
Florent Geroux schooled the jockey colony with his third win of the day in the Encore Juvenile Fillies. Eion Harty trains Ruthless Quality for Godolphin. The winner, a son of Elusive Quality out of Tazarine, by Cat Thief, was bred by Darley. Timed in 1:24.90, the filly paid backers $26.20, $12.60 and $8.00. Moms Choice, Lilly's Dream and Andreya's Reward followed the winner across the wire. It was the second career start for Ruthless Quality. She won her debut going five furlongs on the turf at Arlington Park on Aug. 8 after leading at each call. She stalked in second today before taking over in the stretch.
Race 8. Calumet Farm Juvenile Stakes, 2YO, $300,000, 7 Furlongs
Cajun Schill was much the best. After being placed mid-pack in the sweeping turn, he made a sustained run to overtake pacesetter John Q. Public and win going away. Florent Geroux racked up win number four on the day. Bill Kaplan trains the well-meant shipper from Florida timed in 1:24.20. Third and fourth were Good Intent and Cutacorner. Cajun Schill, a son of former turf star Artie Schiller, was bred in Kentucky by Sheltowee Farm and Tom McCrocklin. He's out of Miss Louisiana, by Miswaki. The winning owners are Teresa and David Palmer, et al; he was a $45,000 purchase at Keeneland September 2014.
It was the second win in four starts for Cajun Schill. He was a distant third on dirt in his debut at Gulfstream Park, second in an off-the turf race at the same track and then won when trying turf for the first time, again at Gulfstream Park.
Race 9. More Than Ready Mile Stakes, 3YO & up, $300,000, 1 Mile
It's Florent Geroux's world, and we all just live in it. He won for the fifth time today, this time on the Bill Mott trainee Tourist, who came into the race off a 10-month layoff. He was last seen finishing 13th in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Mile.
Tourist broke well from post 1 and led all the way while Undrafted stalked and tried in vain to catch up. He had to settle for second. Skyring, who was second much of the way, finished third. Departing, who was bet well down from his 6-1 morning line, was fourth.
Tourist, who is undoubtedly intended for a return to Breeders' Cup competition, notched his fourth win in 10 starts and has now earned over $400,000. The son of Tiznow is out of the Unbridled's Song mare Unbridled Melody. Kenny Troutt's Winstar Farm bred Tourist and co-owns him with Adam Wachtel's Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber.
Tourist was the second betting choice behind Undrafted and returned $6.20 to win bettors. In a rare event, he paid $3.20 to both place and show. The time was 1:36.17, the fastest mile run today, which is as it should be in a race of this quality.
Race 10. Maiden Special Weight, 2YO, $120,000, 6 Furlongs
A fun day concluded with a win by debut runner Airoforce, trained by Mark Casse. Julien Leparoux got his first win of the meet after Airoforce came on in mid-stretch to overtake Discreetly Firm. Deep in a Dream and Mines and Magic finished third and fourth. The time was a solid 1:10.34, and bettors of the winner got back $10.00, $5.20 and $3.80 on their $2 tickets. Airoforce is owned by industry heavyweight John Oxley and was bred in the Bluegrass State by Stewart M. Madison.
Kentucky Downs is scheduled to resume its live meet on Thursday, Sept. 10 with a 10-race card featuring the Glen Hill Farm One Dreamer Stakes. First post is 1:35 CDT.