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Somelikeithotbrown Takes Shot At Defending Flavius In Mint Million
Somelikeithotbrown (Credit: Maryland Jockey Club)

Somelikeithotbrown Takes Shot At Defending Flavius In Mint Million

FRANKLIN, KY – Louisville’s Harvey Diamond and his partners in Skychai Racing will finally run their stable star Somelikeithotbrown at Kentucky Downs, with the multiple graded stakes winner among the favorites for Monday’s $1 million WinStar Mint Million (G3).

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Last year’s winner, Juddmonte Farm’s Flavius, also is among the 11 older horses entered Tuesday for the Labor Day featured attraction, previously known as the Tourist Mile. The Chad Brown-trained Flavius won Saratoga’s restricted Lure Stakes in his last start.

With the mile stakes enjoying Grade 3 status for the first time in 2021, the purse was increased from $750,000 and the name changed to reflect that amount and as a shout to The Mint Gaming Hall at Kentucky Downs.

Diamond, Skychai co-managing partner Jim Shircliff and frequent partner David Koenig of Sand Dollar Stable all love Kentucky Downs. Not only do they like to have a good time in a festive outdoor atmosphere at the races, but they won the $1 million Calumet Turf Cup in 2015 and 2016 with Da Big Hoss.

However, Somelikeithotbrown previously has raced in the summer at Saratoga, where he’s eligible for New York-bred races and his owners earn additional incentives as the horse’s breeder. The Big Apple has been very good to Somelikeithotbrown, including winning Saratoga’s Bernard Baruch (G2) and Belmont’s $150,000 Mohawk for New York-breds last year, along with an 8-length maiden victory and a pair of seconds in Grade 3 stakes as a 2-year-old in 2018.

The Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund is channeling millions of dollars into purse supplements at the six-date FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs for horses born in the commonwealth and by a stallion standing in the state. But the stakes’ base purses — for which all horses can compete — alone would rank among some of the most lucrative in the country.

So while Somelikeithotbrown isn’t eligible to compete for the $450,000 KTDF component of the Mint Million, “$550,000 isn’t exactly chopped liver,” Diamond said. “It just seemed like the proper spot for him.”

Somelikeithotbrown last ran when a close second to Set Piece in Churchill Downs’ Wise Dan (G2) on June 26.

“I thought he tried really hard all the way to the wire,” said Diamond, a retired occupational physician. “That race was a mile and 1/16 around two turns. This will be a one-turn race, so we’re looking forward to giving it a shot down there. We think he’s a really nice horse, and he doesn’t owe us a thing, so let’s see how he runs at Kentucky Downs. Hotbrown doesn’t need to take his track with him. He’s won at multiple tracks and he’s good at the distance, so we’re looking forward to running him at this European-style course. We love to come down there. We’re excited the turf course has been renovated and can’t wait to see it. And it’s in an outdoor atmosphere that will fit with our COVID restrictions.”

The cleverly-named Somelikeithotbrown is from the first foal crop sired by 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown in his first breeding season in New York. His dam is the Tapit mare Marilyn Monroan, her name a play on her gray color, who raced for Skychai’s affiliated Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar. Overall, he’s 7-5-2 in 20 starts, earning $899,838.

Somelikeithotbrown spent the summer in Louisville at trainer Mike Maker’s Trackside training center base, where he has uncorked 4 very strong workouts. Jose Ortiz, the 2018-2019 Kentucky Downs meet titlist, has the mount and is skipping closing day at Saratoga.

Alluding to bypassing Saratoga’s $250,000 Albany for New York-breds to run in the Mint Million, Maker said the New York-bred turf horses “are no cupcakes, either. So, we figured with the difference in the purses, we might as well stay home where he’s doing well. He’s run on hard ground, yielding ground and performed well at different places. I do like the one turn for him.”

As Kentucky Downs’ all-time winningest trainer with 63 victories, Maker’s 356 starters also are a track record. Those horses have earned $8,259,886 at the all-grass meet, with no one else close.

Maker is coming off a huge meet at Saratoga, with 24 wins and $1.97 million in purse earnings and still having horses for that meet’s final week. But it’s a sign of how important the Kentucky Downs’ meet is to the trainer that he’s back in Kentucky. He has nine horses entered in 6 races on the Labor Day card.

That includes another Mint Million entrant in Michael Hui’s Monarchs Glen, a $62,500 claim who in his last 3 starts won a second-level allowance race and Indiana Grand’s Jon B. Schuster Memorial and finished second by a neck in the West Virginia Speaker’s Cup.

Other contenders in the Mint Million include Chicago invader Betwithbothhands, who earned a fees-paid berth in the race by virtue of winning the stakes prep at Ellis Park; last year’s Del Mar Derby (G2) winner Pixelate; and Bizzee Channel, who won the Arlington Stakes (G3) before finishing fifth in the Mr. D (G1) (formerly the Arlington Million).

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