General Jim prevails in stretch duel to win Pat Day Mile

General Jim prevails in stretch duel to win Pat Day Mile
Photo: Scott Serio/Tere Poplin/Eclipse Sportswire

Louisville, Ky.

It was a two-horse race at the top of the stretch. General Jim and Fort Bragg were pulling away from the rest of the field of the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs.

Under Luis Saez, General Jim had more to give, holding on for the victory in the $500,000 race.

“When I came to the top of the stretch I felt like I had it,” Saez said after the race. “But that was a pretty good battle. And he never gave up, this horse never gave up. I give thanks to God, the last jump.”

It was the second win in a row for the 3-year-old Into Mischief colt, trained by Shug McGaughey. He entered the race after a victory in the Swale (G3) at Gulfstream Park in February.

According to Saez, the connections had bigger plans for the first Saturday in May before settling on the Pat Day Mile.

“He’s a pretty good horse, that’s a horse that we thought was going to be in the Derby,” the jockey said. “He’s a special horse like that, and he kind of had a problem with the blinkers.”

For the colt’s owner, Donald Adam of Courtlandt Farm, the win had extra meaning.

“Pat Day did ride some winners for me,” Adam said after the race. “We won this one time (in 2011) with a horse called Machen, so to win it again with Mr. Day here is truly special, and it’s just our honor to be here.”

Adam said it was up to McGaughey where the colt will run next.

Damon’s Mound and Lugan Knight got off to an early lead in the race, before flattening out. Fractions for the one-turn mile were 22.41, 45.00, 1:09.27 and 1:21.61.

General Jim went six wide before he started to truly battle, catching up to Fort Bragg before the furlong marker to begin the stretch duel. With the win, the colt’s career earnings moved to $519,833 with $372,850 coming this year.

“Turning for home it looked like we were going to win,” Fort Bragg’s jockey, Joel Rosario, said in a Churchill Downs release. “That other horse ran a big race. He did everything I asked him to do, and I guess he just ran second best today.”

General Jim was a $850,000 purchase at the 2021 Keeneland September yearling sale.

The winning time was 1:34.43. Fort Bragg finished second by a neck, and Gilmore completed the trifecta.

At the beginning of the race, Freezing Point came out of the chute before he pulled up and was vanned off the track. Churchill Downs did not immediately give an update on his condition.

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