A smart, measured ride by jockey Rafael Hernandez put Somelikeithotbrown in the winner's circle of the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes (listed) Friday at Turfway Park. The race was the colt's first stakes victory and his first start since he finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) November 2.
Somelikeithotbrown finished 3 1/2 lengths ahead of 29-1 long shot Dynamic Racer in second. Dabo was another length back in third. Final time for the 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds was 1:45.86.
“I wanted to get him to relax,” said Hernandez. “He'd had three months off so I knew he would try to show me some speed. The only way I could get him to relax was to get him behind horses. He just exploded down the stretch. (Trainer) Mike (Maker) did a great job training him and keeping him in shape, and he came back today to show what he can do.”
Dynamic Racer and Maya Solomea went at it early, with the former getting the first quarter in :24.08 and the latter getting the half in :48.24. Maya Solomea gave way as Dynamic Racer hit the three-quarter mark in 1:13.30. Meanwhile, Somelikeithotbrown had settled toward the inside a length or two behind the battling leaders. Dynamic Racer still had the lead as he hit the top of the stretch in 1:39.44 but his head margin quickly disappeared after Hernandez sent the winner through a hole to the rail. The outcome was never in doubt after that move.
The Mackem Bullet, the lone filly in the race, finished fourth, followed by Over Protective, Maya Solomea, Kentucky Allstar and Zulu Legend. Wallace was scratched by his trainer. Echo Alpha Six was a late scratch.
Somelikeithotbrown was sent off the even-money favorite and returned $4.20, $3.20 and $2.60.
Three times graded stakes-placed, Somelikeithotbrown is by Big Brown out of Marilyn Monroan, by Tapit. He was bred in New York by Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar Stables. Sand Dollar Stable, the nom de course of David Koenig, et. al., also owns the horse in partnership with Harvey Diamond's Skychai Racing LLC.
The winner's share of the Battaglia Memorial's $75,000 purse increased Somelikeithotbrown's bankroll to $246,918. His record stands at two wins, two seconds and one third in six starts.
The Battaglia Memorial Stakes is a prep for the Jeff Ruby Steaks, Turfway Park's Kentucky Derby points race that runs March 9. The Battaglia Memorial is named for the late John Battaglia, the Turfway Park general manager who first envisioned a Kentucky Derby prep race at the track.
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