Glen Hill Farm’s Banned became the fifth horse in Churchill Downs history to sweep the track’s pair of stakes events for 3-year-olds on turf when he drew clear of Benergy in the stretch to win Saturday’s 36th running of the Grade III, $106,215 Jefferson Cup Presented by Abu Dhabi by two lengths. The Jefferson Cup was one of five stakes races on the 12-race Stephen Foster Day program, which was presented by Abu Dhabi.
Ridden by Jose Lezcano and trained by Tom Proctor, Banned clocked 1 1/16 miles on a Matt Winn Turf Course rated “yielding” in 1:43.66. By doing so, the 3-year-old joined Senor Tomas (1992), King Cugat (2000), Senor Swinger (2003) and Tizdejavu (2008) as the only horses to complete the American Turf-Jefferson Cup double. The Kentucky-bred son of Kitten’s Joy out of the Capote mare Cadinalli collected his first stakes victory on the May 6 Kentucky Oaks undercard with a 4 ½-length romp in the Grade II, $237,400 American Turf Presented by Ram.
Banned, sent to post as the odds-on 1-5 favorite, only had three rivals Saturday. Redboard broke from the gate on top, with a hard-pulling Banned in second, and took the field through fractions of :24.69, :49.31 and 1:13.58. Banned made his winning move on the final turn, took the lead at the top of the stretch in 1:37.38 for the mile and drew clear in deep stretch under a hand ride.
“I was really confident in him coming into the race, but the four horse field scared me,” Proctor said. “Too many things can happen in a small field that will make you not get there.”
Banned paid $2.60 and $2.10. There was no show wagering. Benergy, ridden by Javier Casteallano, returned $3. Perregaux, under Robby Albarado, was another 3 ¼ lengths behind in third and pacesetter Redboard was another 2 ¼ lengths back in last. Live in Joy, Dream Warrior, Swagger Jack and Great Mills were scratched.
Banned improved his record to 4-0-1 from seven starts. The $67,890 winner’s share
JEFFERSON CUP QUOTES
Tom Proctor, trainer of Banned (winner): “I don’t know how good he is yet. Opinions don’t matter in horse racing. You put them in the gate and they tell you how good they are. I was really confident in him coming into the race, but the four horse field scared me. Too many things can happen in a small field that will make you not get there.
"I think the logical choice is to take him to Arlington or Virginia now…or we may even take him to Del Mar. (Owner) Mr. (Leonard) Lavin is a big California guy so he may push for us to run out there.”
Jose Lezcano, jockey of Banned (winner): “He is a very nice horse and has a lot of talent. He broke good and sat comfortable and then went very well at the end. I felt like a winner the whole time.”
Dale Romans, trained of Benergy (runner-up): “I think he’s a good colt. I’m very proud of the way he ran. He’s improving every race. I think (Banned) is probably the best 3-year-old turf horse in the country right now, but I think our horse even wants to run a little further.”
Javier Castellano, jockey of Benergy (runner-up): “He ran excellent. I loved the way he did it today. He settled behind horses and split horses at the right time and the right place, and he took off. Unfortunately, the winner looked a little better on paper and he showed up today. When his jockey asked him, he (Banned) took off. But I’m very satisfied with him – it was a great performance.”