Trained by Thomas Drury Jr. and ridden by Jon Court, Instrumentalist covered the five furlongs on the firm Matt Winn Turf Course in :56.86.
A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Bernstein, Instrumentalist surged past pacesetter Koka Kola Kitty in midstretch and held on to turn back Swans Nest by a half-length. Aronia finished another half-length back in third in the field of eight. The victory, the third in five starts for Instrumentalist, was worth $32,105 and increased her earnings to $71,045.
Instrumentalist paid $10.80, $6 and $4.20. Swans Nest, ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned $7.80 and $5.60 with Aronia, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., paying $4.80 to show.
Earlier on the card, Greg Foley became the 12th trainer to record 300 victories at Churchill Downs when Izzy Ali won the fifth race. Foley, 51, saddled his first winner at Churchill Downs in 1981.
Racing resumes Friday with the second “Downs After Dark” program featuring 11 races with a first post time at 6 p.m. EDT. There is a six-day Pick 6 carryover of $33,608.78 going into tonight’s card that will encompass races six through 11.