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LOUISVILLE, KY – Klaravich Stables’ Digital Age put forth a furious rally from near the rear to get up just in the shadow of the wire to win Saturday’s American Turf Stakes (G2) Presented by Ram Trucks at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 3 at 8/1 odds under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Digital Age saved ground near the rear while A Thread of Blue posted comfortable opening fractions of :24.19, :49.32, and 1:14.09. Midway through the far turn, Digital Age tipped out and began rallying to the front. Under a drive down the middle of the track, Digital Age fought hard to catch the pacesetter, who had begun inching away.
Ortiz, Jr., and his perfectly-timed move made the difference as the Chad Brown trainee crossed with a 3/4-length advantage at the wire in a final time of 1:44.63 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the firm turf course.
“I got a perfect trip,” said Ortiz, Jr. “I saved ground, and when I wanted to tip him out, I tipped him out and he just exploded. He’s a nice horse. He gets better and better every time he runs.”
Almost a gate-to-wire winner, A Thread of Blue yielded late but still held onto second by a head over the 5/2 favorite Social Paranoia.
“We had a great trip,” said A Thread of Blue’s jockey Luis Saez. “He relaxed on the lead and I really thought we could hold on.”
Seismic Wave was 3/4 of a length back in fourth, with War Film and Avie’s Flatter each a neck behind him. The Black Album hopped at the start and spent most of the race near the rear before crossing in seventh ahead of Henley’s Joy and Casa Creed. Completing the order of finish came Louder Than Bombs, Marquee Prince, Forever Mo, and Weekly Call.
Digital Age’s win was his third in as many career starts, having previously both broken his maiden and taken the Columbia Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. The Irish-bred 3-year-old son of Invincible Spirit, purchased for $451,781 as a yearling, has now earned $284,760 and will now take aim at the Turf Triple Crown on the NYRA circuit.
“He saved a lot of ground,” Brown said. “He was stuck on the inside of the turf course, which is a double-edged sword. You want to save ground in these turf races, but clearly the outside of the turf course is a little bit better. I was just hoping Irad found good ground, and he did a good job of it. You’ve got to respect this horse, he knows where the wire is. He knows when to kick and he can get there in time. We bought him as a yearling at Newmarket. We just took our time getting him to the races. He had a few baby issues, but the owners were real patient. His time is now.”
Digital Age returned $19.80 to win, $8.60 to place, and $5.40 to show. A Thread of Blue brought back $4.80 to place and $3.20 to show, while Social Paranoia paid $3.60 to show.
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