WinStar Farm’s Super Saver rolled to a five-length victory over William’s Kitten in stakes-record time to win the 83rd running of the $191,250 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (Grade II) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Calvin Borel, Super Saver covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:42.83 to eclipse the stakes record of 1:43.14 established by Captain Steve in 1999.
Borel sent Super Saver right to the lead and ran unopposed through fractions of :23.33, :46.75 and 1:11.43. Approaching the top of the stretch, Worldly and Activity Report ranged up on the outside of Super Saver but never struck the front as Borel let out another notch on Super Saver.
Super Saver widened his margin in the stretch to give Borel his third victory in the race and fourth victory of the afternoon.
The victory was worth $113,832 and increased Super Saver’s career bankroll to $171,232 with two victories in four starts. Super Saver is a Kentucky homebred son of Maria’s Mon out of the A.P. Indy mare Supercharger.
Super Saver returned $6.80, $4.20 and $3.40. William’s Kitten, ridden by Miguel Mena, returned $6 and $4.40 with Worldly finishing another 4 ½ lengths back in third under Francisco Torres and paying $6 to show.
Earlier on the closing-day program, Michael Bruder and Frank Jones Jr.’s Lost Aptitude romped to a 5 ¼-length victory over Thunder Perfect in the $60,255 Grand Canyon for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Ridden by Jon Court for trainer Dale Romans, Lost Aptitude led every step of the way in completing the distance over firm going in 1:42.69. The victory was the second straight at Churchill Downs and third in five starts overall and increased Lost Aptitude’s earnings to $87.840.
Lost Aptitude returned $6.40, $4 and $3.40. Thunder Perfect, ridden by Borel, paid $10.80 and $5.60 with Cat Park finishing third another 1 ¾ lengths back under Gabriel Saez and paying $4.60 to show.
Borel’s four victories enabled him to tie Julien Leparoux for the leading rider title with 27 victories each. It was the third title for Borel and the sixth for Leparoux.
Steve Asmussen, who sent out 17 winners during the meet, won his fourth Fall Meet leading trainer title and sixth overall. Asmussen has saddled 354 winners at Churchill Downs, fifth-best all time. Romans, who saddled two winners on Saturday, was second with 16 victories.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey collected their 16th leading owner title with nine winners at the meet. The title was the fourth consecutive meet title for the Ramseys, who own eight Spring Meet and eight Fall Meet titles, both seasonal records.
POST-RACE QUOTES – THE KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB
CALVIN BOREL, jockey of SUPER SAVER, winner:
“He’s (Super Saver) an awesome colt. I talked to Todd (Pletcher) and he told me the main thing was to try and get this one to change leads a little earlier. I made him switch leads in the turn and he really turned it on again. He ran really fast. I think he is just a good racehorse. When I picked him up at about the sixteenth pole he just broke away again.”
Q: How does it feel to pick up another riding title at Churchill? “Well it looks like I need to win one more. Isn’t that how it goes? To be number one you have to break number one. I had some really live mounts in today. The one (Brown Eyed Baby) for my brother (Cecil Borel) looked very live, and I thought I had a chance to pick up a couple here and there. I came into today feeling very good about my chances.”
TODD PLETCHER, trainer of SUPER SAVER, winner (via telephone): “It was a big effort from him. You know, he’s a colt that’s shown a lot of promise from early on and he’s starting to put things together. Obviously, it was his first time two turns and first Grade II performance. I was little concerned that the fractions were fast but (jockey) Calvin (Borel) is riding so well right now you’ve got to trust a guy’s judgment when he’s in the zone like he is.
“It’s very exciting to have a well-bred colt that’s good-looking with all the tools and obviously getting better as the year goes along. It’s very, very exciting to have one like that. He’ll go to Palm Meadows on Tuesday and we’ll get him settled in there. I’ll talk to (racing manager) Elliott (Walden) and come up with a game plan on what we’ll do. Obviously, we’ll freshen him up and point for something in the spring.”
KENNY TROUTT, co-owner of SUPER SAVER, winner: “Oh was that exciting. This is what horse racing is all about. Just to be a part of it is exciting. Breaking the stakes record, now that’s big. We were very worried about the first two fractions (:23.33 for the first quarter mile and :46.75 for the half) and thought we were in a whole lot of trouble. But Calvin (Borel) had a lot of horse left. He knew it and went on with it. This is a great time of year to have a good 2-year-old and getting ready to be back here next year.”
MIKE MAKER, trainer of WILLIAM’S KITTEN, second: “I wish he’d gotten a little help on the front end. Lone speed is tough to handle and the winner ran a big race. But we were happy with the way he handled the dirt and finished up.”
Q: What is your plan for him after this? “We’ll point for the Derby and work our way back.”
Q: Did you think at any point that William’s Kitten would get there? “On the turn I was thinking I might have had a shot at it, but he (Calvin Borel) let him out and he left us.”
MIGUEL MENA, jockey on WILLIAM’S KITTEN, second: “He ran good. There was a pretty fast pace early and my horse was a little far back, but that’s the way my horse wants to run. He made a really nice move from the three-eighths pole to the wire, but got beat by a really nice horse. My horse has a lot of promise and is going to be a nice, nice horse.”
PAUL McGEE, trainer of WORLDLY, third: “I was happy with my horse, because I thought he was beat at the eighth pole and he dug in. For one thing, there wasn’t any beating the winner. So to be third, I was happy.”
FRANCISCO TORRES, rider on WORLDLY, third: “He ran big. There’s plenty of room for improvement on this horse. He’s immature, but today he showed a lot of guts because he kind of pressured the winner. There was no beating the winner today. After the winner kicked on, a lot of horses would get discouraged – but not him. He kept digging in.”
SCOTT BLASI, trainer of THISKYHASNOLIMIT, sixth as the favorite: “The winner was very impressive in a fast time today. We’re not taking anything away from him. If we’d had a little smoother trip we might have been third at best.”
Q: You were pretty far back – did you have hopes at any point? “They were going fast – plenty fast to be able to make up ground into that pace. They went 23-and-46 – that’s racehorse time.”
ROBBY ALBARADO, rider on THISKYHASNOLIMITE, sixth as the favorite:
Q: Did you have any traffic troubles? “Just a little – I finally did get out, but he just sustained his pace and never really accelerated for me. But aside from that turning for home, I had a great trip. It just wasn’t there today for him.”