LOUISVILLE, KY – Flurry Racing Stables’ Mr. Misunderstood became just the third horse in the last 28 years to win five stakes races at Churchill Downs when he rallied late to neck out his second straight score in Saturday’s $175,000 River City Handicap (G3) under the Twin Spires.
Breaking from post 4 under Florent Geroux at 9/2 odds, Mr. Misunderstood settled into a mid-pack position as the field passed the judges for the first time. Get Western led the charge into the clubhouse turn before posting opening fractions of :24.90, :50.22, and 1:15.48.
Tipping out near the top of the stretch, Mr. Misunderstood was full of run but ran into traffic trouble. Finding a seam inside the 3/16 pole, Mr. Misunderstood split between Lascaux and Bemma’s Boy and met the rail-drawn Cullum Road on the front end.
Cullum Road fought gamely along the inside, but Mr. Misunderstood proved too strong. The Brad Cox trainee put his neck in front late, then held off several tough competitors in the shadow of the wire for the win. Mr. Misunderstood completed the 1 1/8-mile event over the good turf course in a final time of 1:53.31.
“This horse just knows how to win and he tries hard every time,” Geroux said. “We bobbled a little bit coming out of the gate, but I wasn’t too worried because I know how much he loves this course and how he can handle getting over it. It’s very special every time I get to ride this horse.”
Cullum Road held second by a neck over a late-closing Admission Office, who swept past Bemma’s Boy and Lascaux in the final jumps to secure third as the 6/5 favorite. My Bariley nosed out Space Mountain for sixth, while behind them came Emmaus, a weakened Get Western, and a non-threatening Blue Space Kowboy to complete the order of finish.
Mr. Misunderstood’s win, his first since last year’s River City, followed similar triumphs in the 2018 Wise Dan Stakes (G2) and 2017’s Commonwealth Turf Stakes (G3) and Jefferson Cup Stakes over the local turf course. The 5-year-old son of Archarcharch improved his record to 26-13-3-3 with $916,954 earned.
“We’re very proud of his effort today to bounce back and get into the winner’s circle,” Cox said. “He knows how to win and loves this track. Florent gave him a great trip this afternoon.”
Mr. Misunderstood returned $11.20 to win, $6.20 to place, and $3 to show. Cullum Road brought back $9 to place and $4.40 to show, while Admission Office paid $2.20 to show.