Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Accredit remained perfect on wet tracks as he scored a front-running 1 ¾-length victory under Julien Leparoux to take the 75th running of the $280,500 Churchill Downs Presented by Carewise Health (Grade II) on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
The Churchill Downs, for 4-year-olds and up, was the first of six graded stakes on the Kentucky Derby 135 card.
Accredit took the lead out of the gate and was pressured in the run down the backside by Hewitts and Joe Talamo through fractions of :22.94 and :45.59. Hewitts drew even at the top of the stretch, but Accredit opened a daylight advantage and had enough left to hold off My Pal Charlie in finishing the seven furlongs on a “sloppy” main track in 1:23.24.
The victory was worth $166,954 and increased Accredit’s career earnings to $427,738 with six victories in 16 starts, including a perfect five-for-five on wet tracks.
Accredit returned payoffs of $10.60, $5.40 and $4. My Pal Charlie, ridden by Garrett Gomez, returned $5.40 and $4 with The Roundhouse, ridden by Edgar Prado, rallying for third another 1 ¼ lengths back to pay $5.40 to show.
Accredit is a 4-year-old Florida-bred son of E Dubai out of the Montbrook mare Pocketbook.
CHURCHILL DOWNS QUOTES
JULIEN LEPAROUX (rider of winner Accredit) – “He loved the ‘off’ track. I guess this worked out to be a perfect day for him. Everything went his way. Every time a horse made a run and I asked him for run, he was there for me. He ran a big race for me. I was waiting for Kodiak Kowboy to make his move but my horse just ran big today.”
MIKE MAKER (trainer of winner Accredit) -- “It’s fabulous to win a race like this on Derby Day and sure were glad it rained. Hopefully we can reverse the story about the claim (Maker and Ramsey originally lost Kentucky Derby 135 starter General Quarters in a $20,000 claiming race). Julien (Leparoux) rode a great race. This horse was four-for-four on off tracks and now five-for-five. Every time he runs, we have to watch the weather forecast. He’s a classy horse and there are plenty of spots for classy sprinters. We’ll look at Calder (Summit of Speed) and Saratoga perhaps.”
GARRETT GOMEZ (rider of second-place finisher My Pal Charlie) – “He ran really good. The leader kind of snuck away turning for home. My horse put in a solid run and he ran his race. It’s sloppy and a lot of horses have trouble getting through it and it’s very hard to see so he was able to run a really good race.” On the track conditions: “It’s still a little wet, a little greasy, but it’s in pretty good shape. It’s got a good bottom and it’s safe and that’s our main concern.
EDGAR PRADO (rider of third-place finisher The Roundhouse) – “He ran good. He was right behind the speed, starting picking them up right around the turn. He finished real well. Unfortunately, the speed held on a lot better than I thought. (The track) is real wet but it’s safe and my horse ran on it very well. I was very happy.”