LOUISVILLE, KY – Flurry Racing Stables’ Mr. Misunderstood overcame a rough start to eke out a big score in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Wise Dan Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Wise Dan was race 6 on the Downs After Dark Presented by Budweiser program.
Breaking from post 4 under Florent Geroux, Mr. Misunderstood was one of three horses adversely affected after Divisidero broke out sharply from the rail. Settling in mid-pack, Mr. Misunderstood watched Mr Cub post early splits of :24.70, :48.75, and 1:12.73. Angling off the rail in the far turn, Mr. Misunderstood commenced a furious rally that proved just good enough. The Brad Cox trainee crossed the wire first by a 1/2-length as part of a five-way photo finish in a final time of 1:41.83 for the 1 1/16-mile race over the firm turf course.
“This horse isn’t the biggest horse in the world but does very well covered up behind some of the other bigger ones in front of him,” Geroux said. “When I tipped him out, he really dug in. He proved today he’s right up there with some of the best turf horses in the country.”
Inspector Lynley took second by a head over a hard-luck Mr Cub, while Divisidero and Parlor were each a neck further back. Even-money favorite and defending Breeders’ Cup Mile champion World Approval continued his 2018 struggles, flattening out in the stretch to take sixth. Flatlined was empty halfway through the race and completed the order of finish. Shining Copper was scratched.
Mr. Misunderstood’s win was his second career graded stakes score following his Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf triumph here last November. The 4-year-old gelded son of Archarcharch improved his record to 17-10-2-0 with career earnings of $574,714. Most recently, Mr. Misunderstood finished sixth in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes, though he was less than a length behind second.
“I think we may have rushed him a bit getting back from the Maker’s 46 at Keeneland,” Cox said. “He ran well, but I think the three weeks between races was a bit too much, especially running in a Grade 1. We gave him a bit more time off and pointed for the Wise Dan, and he proved he could compete with some of the top horses on the grass.”
Mr. Misunderstood returned $7.60 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.60 to show. Inspector Lynley brought back $7.60 to place and $5.80 to show, while Mr Cub paid $5.20 to show.