LEXINGTON, KY – John C. Oxley’s Flameaway overcame sloppy mud puddles and late-stretch bumps to win Sunday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon at Keeneland.
Breaking well from post 12 under Julien Leparoux, Flameaway tracked the early pace from third while Tap Daddy and Tigers Rule took turns setting splits of :23.35, :48.46, and 1:13.93. Fanning wide off of the far turn, Flameaway was put under a long drive down the lane and caught the leading pair. The trio were side-by-side to the wire and were affected by Tigers Rule drifting upward from the inside, but Flameaway prevailed at the wire by a nose in a final time of 1:45.77 for the 1 1/16-mile main track race.
“We had a good trip,” Leparoux said. “We traveled very nicely. The other two horses, they had a good fight. He ran big.”
Florent Geroux, aboard Tap Daddy, claimed an objection against Tigers Rule’s rider, Miguel Mena, for the bumping that occurred in the stretch run. While Tigers Rule had won the photo for second by a nose over Tap Daddy, the stewards disqualified him and placed him third behind Tap Daddy. Admiralty Pier took fourth ahead of John Tippmann, with Arawak, Captivating Moon, Fred’stwirlincandy, King Valero, High Providence, Trenton Traveler, Wicked Trick, Budro Talking, and Shared Value completed the order of finish. Machtree was scratched.
Changed from the turf to the dirt due to unsafe racing conditions, the Dixiana Bourbon was originally a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with the winner receiving an automatic berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar on Friday, November 3. However, due to the change in surface, the race lost its Challenge status.
Winner of a muddy running of the $100,000 Skidmore at Saratoga after breaking his maiden on debut at Woodbine, Flameaway was sixth last out in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs. Trainer Mark Casse had hoped that a move to turf would have gotten the son of Scat Daddy back to the winner’s circle, and he wasn’t wrong (mostly).
“I’ve been wanting to run him on the grass, so I was a little disappointed (when the race was rained off the turf and moved to dirt),” Casse said. “He’s getting better and better. He’s a big, strong horse, and I’m proud of him today. He’s been training really well. I said to Julien, ‘Use some of your speed.’ He did.”
Flameaway returned $12.80 to win, $6.40 to place, and $4.40 to show. Tap Daddy brought back $5.40 to place and $3.80 to show, while Tigers Rule paid $4.80 to show.