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FRANKLIN, KY – With the kind of results Joel Rosario was producing at Kentucky Downs on the second day of the short meet, victory in The Aristocrat Gaming Juvenile Fillies came down to either his 2-year-old, Yin Yang, or her stablemate in the Brad Cox barn, Turnerloose, with Florent Geroux aboard.
Rosario finished the day by winning 5 of the 11 races, but he rode in just 8 of them. Fortune did not smile on him in the $500,000 filly co-feature, as Turnerloose turned it on down the long stretch to cross the wire 5 lengths ahead of Yin Yang.
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“Look at that, I beat Joel Rosario today,” said a joyful Geroux as he brought Turnerloose back to the winner’s circle.
Closing out Monday’s holiday program was another $500,000 stakes for 2-year-olds, The Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile, with 6/1 Tiz the Bomb also using the stretch to his advantage to score a 3/4-length victory with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard.
The filly race was more spread out. Behind the top two, sent off at very identical 2/1 odds in the field of nine, it was another 7 1/4 lengths until early pacesetter Verylittlecents and Joe Talamo finished.
“The break, she was very excited there, and didn’t get out of there real quickly,” Rosario said. “But she did everything good, and she came running. She’s nice, the other horse just got a jump on her. I’m very excited with the way she ran.”
Both of the Cox fillies had broken their maidens at Ellis Park in July. The victory pulled Cox into a tie with Joe Sharp atop the trainer standings, with 3 apiece.
“Both are very good fillies. I said last week that I liked both fillies, that I thought I’d go 1-2 in the race,” said Jorje Abrego, assistant trainer to Cox, about the pair who are part of the band he was supervising at Ellis this summer. “Turnerloose looked like ‘turn her loose’ today. She ran well. Yin Yang ran a very good second, so it was very good day for the team.”
Even more excited was Geroux after his first win at the meet, after missing Sunday’s opener while riding at Saratoga.
“She was pulling on me pretty much all of the race, she wanted to go,” he said. “So, by the turn, she just kept on going. She was on a mission: she just wanted to take it to them, which was great.”
Turnerloose paid $6, $3, and $2.80, while Yin Yang returned $3.60 and $3. Verylittlecents paid $4 for show in a race timed in 1:36.19 for the mile on a turf course rated as firm.
It was a big win for Turnerloose, owned by Ike and Dawn Thrash, and now Team Cox has to look to her future – and to that of Yin Yang. Turnerloose was a $950,000 purchase at last year’s Keeneland September sale, while Selective LLC’s Yin Yang sold for $160,000 at the Fasig Tipton sale in October.
“This was big for her, now she’s a stakes winner,” Abrego said. “Now is the time to look for a graded stakes. We’ll see how she is tomorrow, and if everything is good, maybe get her ready for Keeneland. Yin Yang just got beat by what, today, was a better horse.”
Not to be outdone, Phoenix Thoroughbred Ltd.’s Tiz the Bomb took a major step forward with his victory in 1:35.83 on the firm turf course.
“He’s got a license to be a good one,” said trainer Kenny McPeek about the colt, who sold for $330,000 at last year’s Fasig Tipton yearling sale. “We’re thrilled with the way he ran.”
While Play Action Pass and Edgard J. Zayas were setting the early fractions in the field of 10, Tiz the Bomb was in the middle of the pack.
“He ran well today, the first time on the grass,” said Hernandez. “He put us in the spot and traveled the whole way around there looking like a winner, and got the job done.”
Kiss the Sky, the 2/1 favorite ridden by Jose Ortiz, was just behind Tiz the Bomb, and both colts took a wide path into the stretch for their rallying efforts. But Kiss the Sky, who won a maiden race at Saratoga for trainer Mike Maker in his second start, came up short.
“He ran well, second best,” said Maker, who was leading the Saratoga trainer standings for a good portion of the New York track’s summer meeting.
Tiz the Bomb paid $14.20, $5.40, and $4, while Kiss the Sky paid $3.60 and $2.80. Play Action, the 12/1 early leader, was another 1/2-length back in third and returned $6.40.
“They’ve been bragging on him over at the barn about how well he’s been working,” Hernandez said of Tiz the Bomb. “And they were kinda tipping their hand about this performance. Robby Albarado has been working this horse in the mornings. He said that all of a sudden he turned the corner going the right way, and he showed it today.”
McPeek said Tiz the Bomb, who has won 2 of his 3 initial starts, might return to dirt in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
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