LOUISVILLE, KY – Katherine Ball’s homebred Limousine Liberal held off a late bid from Awesome Slew to win by a head in the 83rd running of the Grade 2, $500,000 Churchill Downs presented by Twinspires.com for 4-year-olds and up.
Trained by Ben Colebrook and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Limousine Liberal covered the seven furlongs on a muddy track in 1:23.22.
“It kind of went according to plan for once,” Colebrook said. “The plan was just to follow the two speed horses and try to pounce. We’ve been waiting to get a wet track and it worked out. This horse has been showing up every time. It’s great that he’s finally a graded stakes winner.”
Masochistic set the pace with fractions of :22.04 and :44.35 under pressure from Bluegrass Singer while Limousine Liberal raced third. Ortiz moved Limousine Liberal three-wide leaving the far turn, collared Masochistic, and drew clear with just enough left to hold off Awesome Slew.
“It was a great training job by Ben,” said Ortiz. “He told me to just try to sit two lengths off Masochistic. That’s what I did, and it worked.”
Tom’s Ready finished 3/4 of a length behind in third, his first race since running fifth in last year’s Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
“He ran big for his first race since Breeders’ Cup,” said jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. “To run third like he did, that’s saying a whole lot. He did it all the right way and you’ve got to be proud of him.”
It was another head back to Solid Wager in fourth. He was followed in order by The Truth Or Else, Clearly Now, Denman’s Call, Schivarelli, Chief of Staff, Apprehender, El Kabeir, Bluegrass Singer, the betting favorite Masochistic, and Forevamo.
The victory was worth $282,100 and increased Limousine Liberal’s earnings to $771,120 with a record of 14-4-5-1. It was the first stakes victory for the 5-year-old son of Successful Appeal.
Limousine Liberal returned $28.40, $12.80 and $8.80. Awesome Slew brought back $4.40 and $3.40, while Tom’s Ready paid $10.20 to show.
Jockey Jose Ortiz, Limousine Liberal – “It was perfect. He broke and I used him a little bit to get my position. When I saw (Bluegrass Singer) go with Masochistic, my chances increased a lot because I was in a good spot. When we entered in the stretch, he responded very well.”
Jockey Joel Rosario, Awesome Slew – “I got on the inside and thought for a minute I might get there and just missed a little bit. He ran a big race, especially considering he had an inside post position.”
Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., Tom’s Ready – “He handled the surface great. We got lucky and he kind of caught a flyer leaving there and left really good. The trick to him is he just needs to settle and make one run. That’s when he’s at his best and that’s what he did today. He’ll be better next time now that’s he’s got a race in him.”
Jockey Mike Smith, Masochistic – “He didn’t come away from there. Usually when this horse is going to go, he throws his ears up and goes. Today, he just pinned them (his ears). He hated the track. He couldn’t get a hold of it at all.”
Trainer Ron Ellis, Masochistic – “When I saw he couldn’t make the lead, I knew we were in trouble. Mike (Smith) said he couldn’t get a hold of the track at all.”