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Kentucky Downs Concludes Record Meet

Kentucky DownsThe final day of live racing at Kentucky Downs supported a worthy cause and added a variety of fair-like events and attractions to an exceptional closing-day card, which was highlighted by four stakes.

“Ladies’ Day” presented by Horses and Hope featured a “Best Hat” contest, Pink Lady drinks, live entertainment as well as a petting zoo and face painters for kids. A portion of the event proceeds go to Horses and Hope, a breast cancer initiative of First Lady Jane Beshear and the Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP) that works to raise funds and awareness and provide education.

But fans came looking for top-notch turf racing on North America’s only European-style course and the day’s expanded 13-race card did not disappoint.

Today’s feature events were two $300,000 stakes for fillies and mares three-years-old and up and both were taken in thrilling stretch runs by upset winners.

In the Fasig-Tipton Ladies Turf Corey Lanerie and Kiss Moon ran down hot favorite and defending champion I’m Already Sexy in the final furlong. It was the second stakes win this year for the three-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, who is trained by David Vance.

And the Fasig-Tipton Ladies Marathon saw Rafael Hernandez pilot 25-1 shot Modernstone (GB) to a shocking victory in the mile and five-sixteenths contest. It’s the first U.S. stakes win for the daughter of Duke of Marmalade and Kelly Rubley trainee.

Earlier in the day Rusty Slipper was much the best in the $150,000 One Dreamer Stakes, despite having not captured a win since the Little Slipper Stakes in 2013. The Graham Motion trainee not only kept her head in front of second-place finisher A Little Bit Sassy but she also set a new course record of 1.47.70 for the mile and 70 yards.

Return to Grace, meanwhile, flashing the Calumet Farm silks, buried the field of 12 in the final stakes of the afternoon, the Inaugural running of the $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks. Trainer Mark Casse and rider Joe Rocco Jr. were the winning connections.

As live racing came to a close the meet’s divisional leaders were also announced. Trainer Mike Maker, who scored in three consecutive races today, was named top trainer while jockey Florent Geroux was the leading rider with 12 victories for the five-day meet. Ken and Sarah Ramsey who captured two on today’s card, were named leading owners.

“As a rider, I’d like to thank the Kentucky Downs management for keeping the turf course in such good condition,” said leading rider Florent Geroux. “Obviously, they had some weather issues, but they did a fantastic job keeping it in great shape. It’s always a pleasure to get to ride at such a unique race course.”

Geroux and the horsemen weren’t the only ones pleased as horseplayers helped catapult the track to a record handle of $16,887,188. The increase of over 6% from 2014 was achieved despite running two less races and moving an entire Saturday card to a Monday.

“We would like to thank the horsemen and the horseplayers,” said Kentucky Downs’ Live Racing Manger C.J. Johnsen. “This meet showcased some of the best turf racing in the country. I was especially impressed with the contingent of two year olds that ran here. The maiden, allowance level, and stakes races for that age were some of the deepest and most competitive of the meet. We had horses from all over North America that pointed to our meet which showed the improved quality of our course. Our track crew headed by Track Superintendent Ron Moore deserves all the credit. They worked tirelessly to prepare the course for the meet and when the weather came, they worked harder to make sure it was safe for the horses and the jockeys."



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