Kitodan, the longest shot in the field of 11 3-year-olds at odds of 40-1, went from claim to fame with a narrow head victory over Smokin’T in Saturday’s third running of the $200,000 Audubon Stakes for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Kitodan, ridden by Gerardo Corrales and trained by Eric Foster, ran 1 1/8 miles over “firm” turf in 1:49.85.
In his previous start, a third-place finish in a first-level allowance/optional claiming event on May 15 at Churchill Downs, owners Foster Family Racing (Brooklyn N. Foster), Douglas E. Miller and William J. Wargel claimed Kitodan for $80,000 off Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher and trainer Mike Maker.
The shrew claim reaped immediate returns as Kitodan earned $116,990 for the win and improved his career record to 5-1-3 in 12 starts with earnings of $334,610.
“We claimed him for $80,000 and just wanted to try and win a race,” Foster said. “This race came up and thought we’d give him a shot. What an absolute thrill for our team and these guys behind me. This is so amazing. Gerardo rode a phenomenal race and gave it everything he had and Kitodan responded. What an amazing feeling.”
Breaking from post five, Kitodan settled near the back of the pack as Summer Anthem set the pace through fractions of :23.22, :48.32 and 1:13.94. Both Smokin’T and Kitodan commenced their moves around the final turn and emerged into the stretch as the two clear leaders. Kitodan, on the far outside, battled with Smokin’T shoulder-to-shoulder and emerged as the slim winner.
Kitodan paid $82, $29.20 and $10.80. Smokin’T, under John Velazquez at 8-1, returned $8.40 and $4.40. Grand Sonata, the 5-2 favorite, was another 3 ¾ lengths back in third under Tyler Gaffalione and paid $3 to show.
Play Action Pass, Red Run, Major General, James Jones, Speaking Scout, Summer Anthem, Spin Wheel and Tallahatchiebridge completed the order of finish.
Kitodan, a son of Point of Entry out of the A.P. Indy mare Divine Presence, was bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings Limited.
The Audubon, named after the nearby Louisville neighborhood, serves as a prelude to the $200,000 American Derby (Listed) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Saturday, July 2.
With numerous longshots throughout the card Saturday, no one hit the 20-cent Derby City 6, which has created a $253,610 jackpot carryover into Sunday’s nine-race card that begins at 12:45 p.m. ET. Also, there is a $12,545 carryover for the $1 Super Hi 5 in the finale.
Saturday’s late 50-cent Pick 5 paid a whopping $424,390.50.