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LEXINGTON, KY – In an epic finish between a pair of ultra-impressive past race champions, Bound for Nowhere nipped Imprimis in a thrilling end to Saturday’s $200,000 Shakertown Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.
Bound for Nowhere broke from the far outside post 13 under Joel Rosario as the slight 2/1 favorite over Imprimis (5/2), who broke through his stall before the gates opened and inherited the rail draw after Smart Remark was a late veterinarian scratch.
Johnny Unleashed dueled inside of The Critical Way through opening fractions of :21.42 and :44.60 before Imprimis and jockey Paco Lopez – who tipped out three-wide at the top of the stretch – collared them and took command at the 1/16 pole.
Bound for Nowhere charged hard down the center of the course and caught Imprimis in the final jumps before the winning the 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint by a nose in 1:02.19.
“I was way outside from the draw,” Rosario said. “It looked like a little bit of speed, but he can come from off the pace too. … Many thanks to Wesley Ward. He’s just an amazing trainer, so thanks for the opportunity.”
Imprimis, the 2019 race champion, was 3 lengths clear of The Critical Way, who nosed out Johnny Unleashed for third.
American Butterfly, Kanthaka, Readyforprimetime, High Crime, Turned Aside, Just Might, Chess Master, and Hollis completed the order of finish.
Bound for Nowhere’s win came in his first start since last year’s event (delayed until July due to Covid), where he finished third. The lightly-raced 7-year-old intact son of The Factor improved his record to 15-7-2-2 with $999,857 earned.
“He’s a really hard horse to train,” said Ward, who also owns. “He’s got a lot of issues that he’s overcome. Just minor deals, but major setbacks when you’re trying to keep him at this level. I’ve got to give all the credit to his rider who rides him every day, Julio Garcia, who’s ridden him the majority of his career. He was supposed to ride him today and he said, ‘No, Wesley, I’m officially retired,’ but he’s on him every day for all these years, and I can’t thank that little fella enough.”
Bound for Nowhere returned $6.60 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Imprimis brought back $3.80 to place and $3.20 to show. The Critical Way paid $7 to show.
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