The Amerman Racing Stables’ Demarcation rallied from far off the pace to score a 1 ½-length victory over Glamour Guy to win the 17th running of the $111,000 Ack Ack Handicap (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Jesus Castanon for trainer Paul McGee, Demarcation ran in seventh place in the eight-horse field in the run down the backside as Spotsgone and favored Riley Tucker battled it out on the front end through fractions of :22.71 and :45.79.
Castanon had Demarcation on the move approaching the far turn and was in fifth place at the top of the stretch as the two early leaders were joined across the track by Greeley’s Conquest and Glamour Guy. Inside the eighth pole, Demarcation split Greeley’s Conquest and Spotsgone and spurted clear to his first victory since dead-heating in last year’s River City Handicap (GIII) on the Matt Winn Turf Course with Castanon aboard.
Demarcation, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Gulch, covered the mile on a “fast” main track in 1:36.15.
The victory, the seventh in 26 starts, was worth $66,756 and increased Demarcation’s earnings to $357,645.
Demarcation returned $23.40, $10.40 and $6.20. Glamour Guy, ridden by Leandro Goncalves, paid $20 and $10.40 with Spotsgone, ridden by Jon Court, finishing a half-length back in third and paying $7.80 to show. Riley Tucker finished fourth another 1 ¾ lengths back.
Racing resumes Saturday with a 10-day race program highlighted by the $150,000-added Chilukki (GII) that goes as the ninth race on the card that begins at 12:40 p.m. (all times EST). Also on the program will be the simulcast of the second day of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships from Santa Anita. The first of eight Breeders’ Cup races begins at 1:45 p.m. and concludes with the $5 million Classic with a 6:45 p.m. post time.
POST-RACE QUOTES – THE ACK ACK
PAUL J. McGEE, trainer of DEMARCATION, winner: “That was good. You know, he’s won on everything. He’s won on dirt, he’s won on Poly (Polytrack) and he’s won on the grass. I’d say he’s very versatile. I entered him in a money-allowance race at seven furlongs at Keeneland that didn’t fill but I’ve been looking to switch it up with him a little bit. This worked out good.”
JESUS CASTANON, jockey of DEMARCATION, winner: “I’ve always liked this horse ever since I started riding him. He broke good enough and they got away from us at the beginning. When we got to the half-mile pole, I knew he was going to get in the bridle and we’d have a big shot to get ‘em down the lane. This guy, he does it all. He always gives one hundred percent, no matter what kind of track he runs on.”
LEANDRO GONCALVES, rider of GLAMOUR GUY (runner-up): “He ran big – he was just second-best today. He started great and (trainer) Ralph (Nicks) told me just to be patient going around and he would finish good. I wish I’d known the horse. This was the first time I’d ridden him and I think I should have just waited a little bit more.”
RALPH NICKS, trainer of GLAMOUR GUY (runner-up): “He ran well. I took his blinkers off and I’ve been trying to get somebody to take him back all year since his claiming win at the Fair Grounds. All he did in that one was run the last quarter and he sprinted real fast that day. But he wants to show a little speed and I can’t get it across to our pilots that we have reins for a reason. Even Leandro said today, ‘If I’d kept him back there, he wins’ – and I felt the same way. He let him make a half-mile run today. He just needs somebody to be a driver instead of a passenger.”
Q: He’ll probably run next at Fair Grounds? “He’ll run back at Fair Grounds. If there was anything here, it would be too quick. So it’ll be probably December or January before he runs again.”
JON COURT, rider of SPOTSGONE (third): “He ran real good. He’s freshened up and he put on a valiant fight to the end. He was just third-best today.”
AARON GRYDER, rider of RILEY TUCKER (fourth as the 6-5 favorite): “He traveled nice. He got a little pressure, but he was underneath me and feeling good. He was going good, but down the lane they were able to out-foot him. Obviously he’s run against better company and today he probably didn’t show his ‘A’ race, but he felt great.”
SCOTT BLASI, assistant to Steve Asmussen, trainer of RILEY TUCKER (fourth as the 6-5 favorite): “He was probably a little flat. He’s done a lot of traveling this year. This was definitely not his best effort, although I’m not taking anything away from the winner. He’s going to be an awesome horse down at the Fair Grounds this year. We’ll get him freshened up.”
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