Heavy Favorite Proves Bettors Right
By Dick Downey
Connections quotes by Jennie Rees
Photo by Reed Palmer
Miss Technicality recorded the largest winning margin of Kentucky Downs' opening day while taking the Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Stakes by six lengths.
She was a strong favorite, too, so the crowd got it right. At even money, Miss Technicality paid bettors $4.00 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, the lowest parimutuel prices of the day.
Trained by Christophe Clement and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Miss Technicality was content to lay back in eighth in the early going while City Diva, Lightscameraaction and Two Shakes contended for the lead. The latter one, second choice at 4-1, faded in the turn, but City Diva and Edgar Morales led into the stretch, closely followed by Lightscameraaction ridden by Robby Albarado. But Miss Technicality, confidently ridden by Leparoux, made a sustained run to easily clear the field.
Lightscameraaction bested City Diva by a length for the place, with Noble Love less than a length further back in fourth. They were followed by My Wynter Rose, Lucky Girasol, Two Shakes, Zabava, Sexyama, Rogue Too, My Jilly and War Ballad. British Invader (GB), No Mo Temper and Road Tiger were scratched.
With the victory, her second in as many starts, Miss Technicality earned $230,640 from the $398,000 purse. She debuted at Belmont Park on July 6 and won despite hitting the gate at the start.
Clement also trained the winner's sire, Gio Ponti, a winner of $6,169,800. Miss Technicality is owned by Namcook Stables LLC and John J. McCormack. Bred in Kentucky by McCormack, the striking chestnut filly is out of Double Jackpot, by Broken Vow.
The win was Leparoux's third of the day, leading all jockeys.
Total handle for this, the meet's opening day, was $6,205,873, the second-largest all time at Kentucky Downs, topped only by the $8,487,323 wagered on what would have been the second Saturday last year. The first Saturday was delayed until Wednesday by torrential rain. It tops the $6,044,717 bet on the Sunday of last year’s meet.
Julien Leparoux (winner on Miss Technicality): “It’s not easy to just ship in an run on this track. She showed a lot of ability, and she’s a pro. She won at Belmont but I’ve been breezing her the last several times at Saratoga. She was working very well. The goal with Christophe (trainer Christophe Clement) was to come here. He loved her, and she showed a lot of ability. She won very easy. She traveled very good. It was just whenever I wanted to ask her, and she kicked on very nicely. Which is a good feeling to have on this track.”
(On good start for defending title): “It was a good day, three. We’ll see if we keep going the next four days of racing. It was a good day today but we have to keep going at Kentucky Downs.”
John McCormack (breeder and co-owner): “From Christophe’s point of view, he said, ‘John, I think I like this filly more than the way you talk about her. I like this filly; she’s been training well, and she’s improved in her training from her maiden win at Belmont. And we were confident in the way she’s bred that she’s get farther. She’s a relaxed filly by nature and a kind filly to be around. She has lovely breeding with 40 years of engineering by the Phipps family. We’ve tapped into that, and grateful to have that opportunity.”
McCormack said Clement loves Kentucky Downs. “He really does. Like all trainers when they have one that has won first-time out, you have a little bit of the blue sky there and you look at different options. But Kentucky Downs is always in Christophe’s plan. Up at Saratoga he told me that. Christophe is such a great trainer, such a great guy, and we’re lucky to be part of his team.”
Terry Murray (co-owner) “(Clement) was very optimistic about her. WE knew this was a step up. He was very confident, and we of course as owners are always a little apprehensive. As it turned out he was right, and it was a great performance.” Murray said that filly could run again at Keeneland or Belmont before the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. “She may make another race, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Robby Albarado (second on Lightscameraaction): “Very nice filly. She’s done a lot in free races, I’ll tell you that. I think she’s a special filly. The winner is really nice. They say she trains really, really good on dirt, so that’s an option, too. She’s a nice filly; the owners were pleased. Her asset is speed, and she rates kindly. She has a lot of gears to her.”