FRANKLIN, KY – Breeze Easy’s Imprimis outdueled a pair of game rivals in the stretch to win Saturday’s $700,000 Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs.
The Runhappy Turf Sprint is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Imprimis receiving an automatic berth in the Turf Sprint at Keeneland this November.
Imprimis broke from post 9 as the 3/1 favorite in the field of 11 and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. soon settled him into a two-wide stalking position by the top of the long turn.
Bombard raced a length ahead of Richiesinthehouse and the rest of the field while posting early fractions of :22.39 and :45.95.
Straightening for home, Bombard remained narrowly ahead as a wall of rivals joined him on the front end, a wall that included the Joe Orseno-trained Imprimis on the far outside flank.
Imprimis soon found himself racing alongside Front Run the Fed, who sat in the middle with Bombard on the rail, and the three were noses apart nearing the wire.
Imprimis slowly inched ahead to cross first in a final time of 1:09.93 for the 6-furlong sprint over the soft turf course. Front Run the Fed and Bombard finished a neck back in a dead heat for second.
“He ran big,” said Ortiz Jr. “I rode him before on the soft turf at Pimlico, and I knew he handled it pretty good, so I wasn’t afraid. I rode him with confidence. They moved outside of me and I didn’t want to see that, but they moved so I said let me just wait, because it was a little early. When I tipped him out, he responded really well. He was coming.”
Stubbins took fourth ahead of Kanthaka, while Richiesinthehouse was a pair of heads past Totally Boss and Renaisance Frolic.
Tiger Blood, Bon Raison, and American Anthem completed the order of finish.
Archidust and Bound for Nowhere were scratched. Admiral Lynch, Fast Boat, and Hollis did not draw in from the Also Eligibles list.
Imprimis’ win was his first since the 2019 Shakertown Stakes (G2) and avenged his 2020 debut last time out in the Troy Stakes (G3), when he crossed the wire first but was disqualified to third. The Florida-bred 6-year-old Broken Vow gelding improved his record to 15-8-0-2 with $759,948 earned and will set his sights on finishing better than sixth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
“None of us were happy about (the disqualification),” Orseno said. “I’d say 90% of the people, because they’re my friends or trying to make me feel better, they all thought we got a bad deal, but it is what it is. You can’t take the win away from the horse. He ran his heart out off a 10-month layoff; went up there and won that. We’re going to get to our goal, that’s the Breeders’ Cup. He loves Keeneland, so we’re pretty excited.”
Imprimis returned $8 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.80 to show. Front Run the Fed brought back $3.40 to place and $4.20 to show, while Bombard paid $6.40 to place and $7.60 to show.