FRANKLIN, KY – DARRS, Inc.’s Proforma was able to rally late and outfinish several game foes in a seven-way photo finish to take Saturday’s Grade 3, $500,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Stakes Presented by Coca-Cola.
Breaking from post 2 under Joe Bravo, Proforma sat off the pace while Little Chesney and Done Deal dueled through opening fractions of :23.06 and :46.16. Coming under a drive along the rail through the far turn, Proforma rallied strongly in the stretch and managed to prevail in the final yards by a head. The Mike Stidham trainee took the 6 1/2-furlong event over a good surface in a final time of 1:15.72.
“It unfolded really good to the 1/8 pole,” Bravo said. “You think, ‘Great, we’re going to break loose from everybody and explode.’ And you look over and see them running, and we really didn’t know who won the photo. All I can say that both horses laid it on the line.”
The 5/2 favorite White Flag just missed the win but still outran Vici by a 1/2-length. Undrafted was a neck back in fourth, while Blind Ambition necked out fifth over a fading Done Deal and Conquest Panthera, with only a nose separating them. Little Chesney gave way in the stretch and completed the order of finish. Jazzy Times, Maniacal, Master Merion, and Richiesinthehouse were all scratched.
Proforma’s win was his first since taking the $60,000 Jersey Shore Stakes at Monmouth Park in June of 2017 and increased his record to 10-4-0-4. The 4-year-old gelded son of Munnings increased his bankroll to $442,990 and seems headed to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in two months.
“Off of that, it’s certainly something we’ll be looking at,” Stidham said. “This was a bit of a breakthrough for him. So we haven’t been thinking along those lines, but off of this race, we certainly have to consider it. The 6 1/2 (furlongs) was the key and a good ride by Joe. The horse, we kind of freshened him for this race, it was six weeks in-between. He was training good at Fair Hill and everything came together.”
Proforma returned $17.60 to win, $8.40 to place, and $5.40 to show. White Flag brought back $4.40 to place and $3.40 to show, while Vici paid $4.80 to show.