Thiskyhasnolimit, returning from six months on the sidelines because of injury, rallied in the stretch under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan to wear down favored Cool Bullet to win the ninth running of the $108,000 Matt Winn Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs at Churchill Downs.
Cathy and Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner’s son of Sky Mesa had not raced since Nov. 28, when he finished sixth as the favorite to eventual Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver in the Grade II, $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. Thiskyhasnolimit won by three-quarters of a length and paid $5.80, $3 and $2.40 as the second betting choice in a field of six horses. Cool Bullet, the favorite ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., was well clear of the rest of the field for the runner-up spot and paid $2.80 and $2.20. Privilaged, the pacesetter ridden by Jon Court, paid $2.80 to show.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, who won the Matt Winn for the third time in its nine runnings, Thiskyhasnolimit, covered the seven-furlong distance over a fast track in 1:22.29. The victory improved the winner’s career record to 3-1-1 in seven races and increased his career earnings to $204,439.
Thisskyhasnolimit broke sharply and momentarily grabbed the early lead before he surrendered the lead to Privilaged and settled into fourth under Bridgmohan. Privilaged held the advantage into the far turn, leading the field through fractions of :22.40 for the first quarter and :45 to the half-mile, when he drew off from longshot Southern Danger and Cool Bullet started to move on the leader. Cool Bullet moved three-wide to grab the lead in the stretch, but was quickly challenged to his outside by Thiskyhasnolimit , who surged past that rival with an eighth of a mile to run and slowly edged clear in the run to the finish.
Vow to Wager rallied from last to finish fourth, and was followed by Silver Craft and Southern Danger.
The race is named for Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs legend Col. Matt Winn, who served as president and general manager of the historic track from 1902-49. Known by the media as “Mr. Derby,” Winn is credited with building the Kentucky Derby into America’s greatest race and one of the world’s great sports events.
MATT WINN QUOTES
SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN (jockey, THISKYHASNOLIMIT, winner): “I had a wonderful trip. My horse ran good. He’s a real nice horse and he’s been training really well. I did expect that type of effort.”
SCOTT BLASI (assistant trainer, THISKYHASNOLIMIT, winner): “He has been training well and thought he would run well today. He is definitely moving in the right direction after the layoff from his last race. We will see how he cools out before deciding on a race for him, but we would like to keep him between seven-eighths to a mile.”
BRIAN HERNANDEZ JR. (jockey, COOL BULLET, second): “We had a perfect trip. We had the two horses get hooked up in front of us and we sat outside behind them and got by both of them pretty easy. (In the stretch) we didn’t bump (with Thiskyhasnolimit); they just came together and didn’t even brush. Neither horse got off stride.”
STEVE MARGOLIS (trainer, COOL BULLET, second): “He (Cool Bullet) ran a good race, [Thiskyhasnolimit] had a little more today. Brian [Hernandez Jr.] rode a great race, no complaints. I’ll talk it over with the owners to see where he runs next, but we will take a look at the Jersey Shore at Monmouth Park.”
NOTES: Trainer Steve Asmussen collected his third Matt Winn victory. He also won the race in 2003 with Posse and in 2005 with Razor. . .Thiskyhasnolimit was clocked in a stakes record 1:22.29. It was only the second year the race has been run at the seven furlong distance and his time eclipsed Capt. Candyman Can’s 1:22.89 in 2009. . .Jockey Corey Lanerie won four races at Churchill Downs for the first time on Saturday: “It was great, it always feel good when you win, especially when you win four. This is my first time winning four at Churchill Downs. I’ve done it before in Texas several times.”
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will host the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, 2011 and the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 6, 2011. The track’s 2010 Spring Meet continues through Sunday, July 4. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Churchill Downs tickets are available at Tickets.ChurchillDowns.com or by calling (502) 636-4400. Additional information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at ChurchillDowns.com.
- END -