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LOUISVILLE, KY – Jim and Donna Daniell’s Rushie took command off the far turn and ran away in the stretch to win Saturday’s $500,000 Pat Day Mile Stakes Presented by LG&E and KU (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from the far outside post 9 under Javier Castellano as the 5/2 second choice, Rushie settled into a mid-pack stalking position while staying wide enough to remain clear of any kickback.
Vertical Threat went to the lead and raced inside of Tap It to Win while posting opening fractions of :23.14 and :46.22 down the backstretch.
Tap It to Win sidled up halfway through the far turn to be heads apart for the lead, but Rushie was coming with a strong kick while running three-wide.
Sweeping past his rivals at the top of the stretch, the Michael McCarthy trainee drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:34.41 for the one-turn fast dirt mile.
“I had the perfect trip,” Castellano said. “I was outside and took advantage of it. The way the race developed, it was perfect, it was what I was looking for today. We sat 2 or 3 lengths off the pace and I kept track of those horses. When we turned for home, I asked him and the horse responded so well. I think the mile was perfect today for the horse. I’m glad we got it done.”
Sonneman closed from well off the pace to take second over Tap It to Win, who could not keep pace with the winner once headed.
Shashashakemeup, the 2/1 favorite Echo Town, Vertical Threat, and Digital completed the order of finish.
Cezanne and No Parole were scratched.
Rushie’s win was his first at the stakes level and followed back-to-back third-place efforts in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and the Blue Grass Stakes (G2). The Florida-bred 3-year-old Liam’s Map colt now sports a record of 7-3-1-2 with $ earned.
“Part of me wanted to go with the Derby,” McCarthy said of his decision to run here and not in the Kentucky Derby (G1), for which Rushie had qualified. “The horse was training well all along, but I can’t thank the owners enough for supporting me. We ended up in the Pat Day Mile and were rewarded with a great effort. Hopefully, this race sets us up for a solid fall campaign.”
Rushie returned $7.80 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3 to show. Sonneman brought back $16 to place and $6.40 to show, while Tap It to Win paid $3.20 to show.
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