Digital Age's Time Is Now in American Turf
By Dick Downey
Digital Age ran down pacesetter A Thread of Blue to win the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs in 1:44.63 on turf rated firm. Social Paranoia finished third, and Seismic Wave was fourth.
A Thread of Blue set soft fractions of 24.19, 49.32 and 1:14.09 but could not hold off Digital Age, who came from mid-pack in the backstretch to grab the lead on the outside in the shadow of the wire. His winning margin was three-quarters of a length.
Sent off at 8-1 odds, Digital Age paid $19.20 to win, $8.60 to place and $5.40 to show. A Thread of Blue, the post-time favorite, paid $4.80 to place and $3.20 to show. Social Paranoia returned $3.60 to show.
The winner was competing in only his third career race after breaking his maiden in his debut at Tampa Bay Downs and winning the Columbia Stakes at Tampa. Ortiz, who had also ridden Seismic Wave last time out, stayed with Digital Age. Seismic Wave, who was in the last flight early, came out of the far turn wide and surged to a fourth-place finish, beaten 1 1/2 length for all of it.
In fifth was War Film, followed by Avie's Flatter, The Black Album (FR), Henley's Joy, Casa Creed, Louder Than Bombs, Marquee Prince, Forever Mo and Weekly Call.
Digital Age was bred in Ireland by Merry Fox Stud Ltd. and is owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables, Inc. By Invincible Spirit (IRE), he's out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Willow View.
Irad Ortiz Jr. (rider of Digital Age (IRE), winner) – “I got a perfect trip. I saved ground, and when I wanted to tip him out, I tipped him out and he just exploded. He's a nice horse. He gets better and better every time he runs."
Chad Brown (trainer of Digital Age (IRE), winner) – “He saved a lot of ground. He was stuck on the inside of the turf course, which is a double-edged sword. You want to save ground in these turf races, but clearly the outside of the turf course is a little bit better. I was just hoping Irad found good ground, and he did a good job of it. You’ve got to respect this horse, he knows where the wire is. He knows when to kick and he can get there in time. We bought him as a yearling at Newmarket. We just took our time getting him to the races. He had a few baby issues, but the owners were real patient. His time is now.”
Luis Saez (rider of A Thread of Blue, runner-up) – “We had a great trip. He relaxed on the lead and I really thought we could hold on.”
Manny Franco (rider of Social Paranoia, third) – “I wanted to get outside, but I couldn’t. There were just too many horses outside me all the way around. He still ran real good. He’s a nice horse.”
Todd Pletcher (trainer of Social Paranoia, third) – “We wanted to get outside. It’s soft down inside there. But he still had a good trip and a good run. The rider’s good and he rode him well.”