Digital Age (IRE) and Irad Ortiz snuck up on the field in the Grade 2 American Turf to surprise early leaders and hit the line three quarters of a length ahead. The race gave Ortiz his second win on the card, and his fourth time hitting the board on Saturday.
The pair tucked in along the rail mid-pack out of the gate, and waited well behind a relaxed early pace set by A Thread Of Blue and Marquee Prince. Ortiz angled the colt five or six wide into the turn, negotiated traffic, and was clear into the stretch. Digital Age found his stride in mid-stretch and rolled with a powerful closing kick, getting to the wire just in time.
Digital Age went off at odds of 8-1 and paid $19.20 to win. A Thread Of Blue held on for second, and favored Social Paranoia was third.
Chad Brown trainee Digital Age will maintain a perfect three-for-three record with the finish, after winning the Columbia at Tampa Bay Downs in early March.
Klaravich Stables owns the son of Invincible Spirit (IRE), who was bred in Ireland by Merry Fox Stud Ltd. The colt was a $451,781 purchase out of the 2017 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in England.
The final time for the 1 1/16 miles on the turf, which was run just as rain began to fall again, was 1:44.63.
AMERICAN TURF QUOTES, courtesy of the Churchill Downs Media Office
IRAD ORTIZ JR. (rider of Digital Age (IRE), winner) – “I got a perfect trip. I saved ground and when I wanted to tip him out I tipped him out and he just exploded. He's a nice horse. He gets better and better every time he runs.”
CHAD BROWN (trainer of Digital Age (IRE), winner) – “He saved a lot of ground. He was stuck on the inside of the turf course, which is a double-edged sword. You want to save ground in these turf races, but clearly the outside of the turf course is a little bit better. I was just hoping Irad found good ground, and he did a good job of it. You've got to respect this horse, he knows where the wire is. He knows when to kick and he can get there in time. We bought him as a yearling at Newmarket. We just took our time getting him to the races. He had a few baby issues, but the owners were real patient. His time is now.”
LUIS SAEZ (rider of A Thread of Blue, runner-up) – “We had a great trip. He relaxed on the lead and I really thought we could hold on.”
MANNY FRANCO (rider of Social Paranoia, third) – “I wanted to get outside, but I couldn't. There were just too many horses outside me all the way around. He still ran real good. He's a nice horse.”
TODD PLETCHER (trainer of Social Paranoia, third) – “We wanted to get outside. It's soft down inside there. But he still had a good trip and a good run. The rider's good and he rode him well.”
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