Somelikeithotbrown, running Friday night for the second time since undergoing surgery last year on a chipped sesamoid, kept his unbeaten Turfway Park record in tact. More importantly to the connections of Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable, he appeared to have the same sort of ability showcased in earlier seasons.
The 4-year-old son of Big Brown drew off to a 3 1/4-length victory in Turfway’s sixth race, an allowance at 1 1/16 miles. Under jockey Gerardo Corrales, the Mike Maker trainee pressed the pace, took command in the stretch and put himself back under stakes consideration.
“I didn’t think that was a particularly easy field,” said Skychai partner Harvey Diamond. “There were a few horses in there fairly accomplished and a nice up-and-comer.
“Hopefully he’ll come back and stay sound. That’s the key to this whole deal.”
As a New York-bred, Somelikeithotbrown wasn’t eligible for much of Friday night’s purse given the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund’s $30,000 contribution pays out to locally bred horses. Somelikeithotbrown could similarly miss out on one-third of the $150,000 payout in the March 14 Kentucky Cup Classic, a $150,000 stakes on the synthetic.
“But he loves the track,” Diamond said, “and there’s nothing wrong with a $100,000 purse.”
Somelikeithotbrown returned from a runner-up finish in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to win Turfway’s 2019 John Battaglia Memorial and Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), the latter a Kentucky Derby trail stop in northern Kentucky. From there, he finished fourth in Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes (G3); days later, the sesamoid injury was discovered.
Returned to the races Jan. 20 at Gulfstream Park, Somelikeithotbrown found an especially tough allowance optional claiming spot to get started on the turf. It prompted Diamond to recall a saying from one of his college professors.
“He said, ‘A steak is a steak, but once you turn it into hamburger, it’s never a steak again,’” Diamond said, adding that after seeing Friday night’s victory, “I hope we’ve got a steak.”
The Kentucky Cup Classic is a 1 1/8-mile race that could set up Somelikeithotbrown for New York-bred turf races or events against open company into the spring and summer. Overall, the colt improved his record Friday to 4-2-1 in 10 starts with earnings of $427,738.