Applicator upsets the $400,000 Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs

September 07, 2017 05:00pm
Photo: Reed Palmer Photography

Going into the $400,000 Tourist Mile, the form of Applicator was hard to figure. In his last two races alone, the four-year-old son of Henrythenavigator had run the marathon distance of 1 and 11/16-miles, before drastically cutting back to five furlongs last time. Going a mile at today at Kentucky Downs, Applicator found his sweet spot, upsetting the field of eight by a length at odds of 13-1.

Opening day at Kentucky Downs was planned to be Saturday, but heavy rains forced the cancellation of that afternoon's races. The highlight of a moved-back opening day at the Franklin, Kentucky track, the Tourist Mile brought together an eclectic group of turf runners testing their abilities over the unique, European-style turf course. The third of four straight stakes races had five horse go off at 5-1 or less, but in the end it was the unheralded gelding in the winner's circle.

Trained by Mikhail Yanakov, Applicator received a beautiful stalking trip orchestrated by Jose Valdivia, Jr. In close contact of the front-running pace of Western Reserve and Hootenanny early, the bay gelding pounced on the turn to be in a great spot at the head of the long Kentucky Downs stretch. From there, he methodically put away Western Reserve to forge to the lead.

Meanwhile, Flatlined was making a strong run from dead last. It briefly looked like that one may have things his way late, but Applicator found another gear in mid-stretch, and had plenty late to hold off the advances of the late-runner.

“I was laying second the whole way around there, outside of Western Reserve," said Valdivia. "We came to the home straight and he was finishing strong. At that moment I thought, ‘Man, I can win the whole thing.’ He was traveling good underneath me.”

Final time for the eight furlongs over the course listed as good, was 1:44.79. While the big late run of Flatlined came up short today, he finished 3/4 of a length the best for second. A three-way photo for the show was won by Shining Copper, who was making his first start in over a year, over the favorite, Irish Strait, and Western Reserve. 

With the victory, Applicator raised his career record to 30-3-2-2, with earnings of $335,470 for owner, Olympia Star Inc.

As the third longest shot in the field, Applicator returned $29.40, $14,00, and $6.20 across the board. The $2 exacta over Flatlined was good for $144.20, while the 7-2-3 trifecta paid a heft $1,045.20.

The Tourist Mile was formerly run as the More Than Ready Stakes, but was renamed this year in honor of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner who won the More Than Ready back in 2015.


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Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

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A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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