LEXINGTON, KY – Mere minutes after her Wesley Ward stablemate won the Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park, Ten Broeck Farm’s Kimari set a new stakes record while going last-to-first in Sunday’s $200,000 Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland.
The Indian Summer is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Kimari receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park this November.
Breaking from post 2 under Mike Smith as the 11/10 favorite, Kimari took back and was last of nine after getting bumped at the start. Up front, Fast Scene and Johnny Unleashed dueled through opening fractions of :21.74 and :45.22 through the far turn.
Fanned out very wide off of the far turn and running down the middle of the lane as she straightened for home, Kimari began gobbling up ground with every step. Needing only the slightest encouragement from her Hall of Fame rider, Kimari circled the field and shot to the lead in the final jumps.
The Wesley Ward trainee crossed a 1/2-length ahead of Chimney Rock in a final time of 1:03.03 for the 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the firm turf course.
“A lot of it had to do with what Wesley told me,” Smith said. “He told me, although she’s extremely fast, she breaks horrible every time. Being in the 2 hole, I thought, ‘Wow, that could be bad.’ But he said she’ll be OK if that happens. ‘Don’t worry about it. Just ride her with confidence.’ I take my hat off to him. I did exactly what he told me to do. I rode her with a lot of confidence. When we came off the top of the turn, I just had to show her the stick a little and she just took off.”
After making a prolonged rally from the rear with Kimari, Chimney Rock was 2 lengths clear at the wire over Axiomo, who nosed out Mystic Lancelot for third. Rockcrest took fifth over Old Chestnut, while behind them came Shippingport and the spent pair of Johnny Unleashed and Fast Scene to complete the order of finish.
Kimari’s win was her third in four starts, with her lone loss coming in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot, where she finished second. The 2-year-old daughter of Munnings has now earned $241,646 in her career.
“She broke well in the race in England, and that’s the only race she broke well in,” Ward said. “That’s really what I was concerned about. Julio Garcia has been breezing her from behind horses, knowing today that she’d probably break slow. Julio has been sitting back and coming around horses with her and kind of been teaching her to rate. I really didn’t think she was going to be that far back, but thank God (Smith is) a cool sitter and a go-getter, and he rode a beautiful race. Everything came through today and we’re looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Kimari returned $4.20 to win, $3 to place, and $2.60 to show. Chimney Rock brought back $3.20 to place and $2.80 to show, while Axiomo paid $14.40 to show.