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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Ten Broeck Farm’s Kimari made her dirt return a successful one on Saturday, splashing home strongly in the stretch to take the $100,000 Purple Martin Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking from the rail under Channing Hill as the 5/2 co-second choice on the tote, Kimari took back slightly and angled out into the three-path in the early running. Edgeway set the pace up front, posting opening fractions of :21.63 and :45.26 while the 7/5 favorite Frank’s Rockette raced just off of her right hip.
Given the cue to run as she rounded the far turn, Kimari tipped out into the clear at the top of the stretch and commenced a rally toward the front. Frank’s Rockette and jockey Martin Garcia took a slim lead shortly after straightening for home and looked momentarily like a winner, but Kimari’s sharp turn of foot quickly cut into her margin.
Surging past the bettors’ choice in deep stretch, Kimari crossed 1 3/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:10.57 for the 6-furlong sprint over the sloppy (sealed) surface.
“I’ll be honest with you, at the top of the lane, I wasn’t 100% sure how much horse I had, especially compared to how much (Garcia) had because Martin hadn’t gotten after (Frank’s Rockette) yet,” Hill said. “Once I started reeling her in, and once my filly got to her, it was over from there. This filly has a lot of class. Obviously, she’s got a ton of talent, but she also has the class to match.”
Though no match for the victor, Frank’s Rockette remained a hard-fought neck ahead of Edgeway, the other co-5/2 second choice. Wasabi Girl cut the corner while rallying from the rear but couldn’t get close enough, finishing 4 3/4 lengths behind them in fourth.
Bootytama, Lady Glamour, Kiss the Girl, Ring Leader, and Lexi On the Move completed the order of finish. Flat Out Speed was scratched.
Kimari’s win was her second in as many dirt starts, having won her debut over Keeneland’s main track last April 25, and improved her overall record to 6-4-1-0. The 3-year-old daughter of Munnings, purchased for $152,000 as a yearling, has now amassed $351,646 in earnings.
“I was really, really super confident going into this race,” Ward said. “I’m kind of a positive guy anyways, but after (her last two works), I knew it would take a really, really tough filly to beat her. Take nothing away from the others in there, but I was really confident. The owner and Ben McElroy, who bought her and manages her, they were a little apprehensive when we drew the one hole because she always gets away just a little slow. I kind of laid it all out there and assured them, ‘Don’t worry about anything.’ I was a little nervous that I might have stuck my foot in my mouth, but thank God I didn’t.”
Kimari returned $7.80 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Frank’s Rockette brought back $3.40 to place and $2.80 to show, while Edgeway paid $3 to show.
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