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LEXINGTON, KY – Thumbs Up Racing’s Sleepy Eyes Todd slipped by late to win Saturday’s accident-marred edition of the $150,000 Lafayette Stakes presented by Keeneland Select at Keeneland.
Sleepy Eyes Todd, sprinting for the first time since his maiden-breaking debut 2 years ago, broke from post 6 under Joel Rosario as the 4/1 favorite and immediately took back to the rear of the 12-horse field.
Edgemont Road was the first one to complete the opening 1/4-mile, doing so in :22.12 and making the opening 1/2 in :44.46 while Absolutely Aiden gave closest chase.
Edgemont Road straightened for home with a decent advantage over his rivals, but Rosario kept Sleepy Eyes Todd stuck to the rail and navigated him toward the front.
Taking command in the late stages, the Miguel Silva trainee crossed 1 1/2 lengths clear while completing the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint in 1:21.77, coming close to matching Taris’ track record of 1:21.32 set in 2014.
True Timber took second by a 1/2-length over Edgemont Road, who weakened in the final furlong but had enough to head both Ebben and Engage, respectively.
Phat Man, Everfast, Midnight Sands, and Mind Control completed the order of finish.
Absolutely Aiden fell at the top of the stretch and went down right in front of most of the field. While 7 of his rivals were able to avoid contact, Strike That and Dinar both stumbled over him and dismounted their riders. All three jockeys walked off the track and were later released from the onsite medical care.
Strike That and Dinar were safely corralled and returned to their barns under their own power. Absolutely Aiden was vanned off the track and humanely euthanized after the veterinarian team observed an irreparable disarticulation of his left front fetlock.
Sleepy Eyes Todd’s win was his third of the year (including the Charles Town Classic Stakes [G2] 2 starts back) and improved his overall record to 14-7-2-0. The 4-year-old Paddy O’Prado colt, purchased for $9,000 as a weanling, has now earned $687,165.
Sleepy Eyes Todd returned $10 to win, $6.80 to place, and $5.20 to show. True Timber brought back $12 to place and $6.60 to show, while Edgemont Road paid $8.80 to show.
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