LOUISVILLE, KY (Friday, April 30, 2010) – WinStar Farm’s Doubles Partner swept past the pace-setting Lost Aptitude at the three-sixteenths pole en route to a 1 3/4-length victory over Asphalt in the 19th running of the $200,550 American Turf (GII) for 3-year-olds on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
The victory could kick off a big weekend for WinStar, which will send out Super Saver and American Lion in Saturday’s 136th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.
Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Doubles Partner received a ground-saving trip down the backstretch as Lost Aptitude and Strike the Tiger opened a seven-length advantage on the field of nine through fractions of :23.41 and :46.87.
After hugging the hedge to the middle of the far turn, Gomez swung Doubles Partner out three-wide and quickly disposed of Lost Aptitude and had plenty left in the tank to fend off all challengers. Doubles Partner covered the 1 1/16 miles on a “firm” Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:41.05.
It was the second victory in the American Turf for Gomez, who rode Tizdejavu to victory in 2008. It was the first American Turf win for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Doubles Partner rewarded his backers with payoffs of $11.20, $5.80 and $4.40. Asphalt, ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned $8.80 and $5.80 in finishing three lengths ahead of Guys Reward, who paid $7.60 to show under Jose Lezcano.
The victory was worth $119,367 and increased Doubles Partner’s career bankroll to $184,190 with a record of 7-3-0-1 and a perfect two-for-two over the Matt Winn Turf Course. Doubles Partner is a Florida-bred son of Rock Hard Ten out of the Rahy mare Serena’s Sister.
AMERICAN TURF QUOTES
GARRETT GOMEZ (Jockey, Doubles Partner, winner): “I had a perfect trip, I really did. I was able to follow two horses that were following the leaders. I just followed behind them for the first three-eighths of a mile. I got to the second turn and I was actually going to move out around them. Just as I started to commit myself to go around them the horse Alan Garcia was on (Saint Eligius) started getting out real bad and left me enough room to drive my truck through. I slid up the fence after the leaders cleared out. You couldn’t have written a better script on how to ride both fences around the turns and be able to get out. It was a very nice trip and this was a good day to have it on.”
TODD PLETCHER (Trainer, Doubles Partner, winner): “We thought early on he lacked a little focus, but he’s a lot more professional and settled now. We tried the Lane’s End … but he’s just better on the turf. He’s stepping up at the right time and is an improving colt. At the head of the stretch, he looked like he produced a big kick at the right time. He’s a rapidly improving colt and he has some exciting and big turf races to come on the schedule this summer.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX (Jockey, Asphalt, second) – “I had a perfect trip. I got to move at the right time. But the winner was better today. Sometimes it is that easy.”
JOSE LEZCANO (Jockey, Guys Reward, third) – “He stumbled at the break on me and then we had troubles on the backside. I asked him and he gave me a pretty good run, but we were too far out of position.”
RICHARD MANDELLA (Trainer, Setsuko, race favorite, fourth) – “Rafael (jockey Rafael Bejarano) told me he was lost out there. That he was completely uncomfortable and never got in the race. I’ll tell you, I don’t think I’m going to be in a hurry to put him back on the grass.”
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Kentucky Derby 136 is Saturday, May 1 with the 42-date Spring Meet scheduled for April 24-July 4. Visit tickets.churchilldowns.com for reserved seats.