Bound for Nowhere had never been beyond six furlongs, but owner-trainer Wesley Ward was more than willing to take a shot Sept. 1 at Kentucky Downs
Now Ward is bound for the bank after his 4-year-old son of The Factor defeated Great Wide Open by a length to win the $750,000 Tourist Mile Stakes on opening day at Kentucky Downs.
“My son called me from the University of Miami. He’s on a full-ride scholarship from the Bank of Dad, so I said he’s good again for next year,” Ward said after the win.
Bound for Nowhere came into the race off an admirable third-place finish at Royal Ascot in the June 23 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1). He entered the Tourist Mile undefeated in the state of Kentucky, and Saturday’s race was his fifth win in as many starts on domestic soil.
“I’ve always wanted to stretch him out, always thought he was a miler,” Ward said. “He’s a big colt, rangy guy, got big airway, has no issues, no problems. It’s just he’s so good at sprinting. When he ran at Ascot and ran so well, this was the race we were pointing for all along. But the closer we got to it, the more I was second-guessing where I would go. But thanks to Julio and the team I have, we all got together and made a decision and it turned out right.”
Bound for Nowhere’s biggest problem was loading, as he balked several times before going in.
“He’s always a very relaxed horse,” Ward said. “It’s just when he gets to the gate that’s the issue. He had problems at Ascot, had problems at Keeneland in the spring. He gets there and kind of throws his head up and doesn’t want to load, kind of gets a little hot and anxious. He’s like a pony (otherwise). My daughter could gallop the horse with two hands; he’s a sweetheart. That’s one of the reasons we thought he’d go a mile.”
Once the gated were sprung, 18-1 shot Great Wide Open went straight to the lead while Bound for Nowhere and Julio Garcia stalked as the 9-5 second choice in the seven-horse field. Mr. Misunderstood, the 6-5 favorite, bided his time on the rail in fourth around the turn as Bandar made a short-lived run at the leaders heading into the stretch.
Bound for Nowhere drew clear in midstretch and put Great Wide Open away, winning in a final time of 1:40.97 over turf rated firm.
Mr. Misunderstood stayed on to finish third, another 1 1/4 lengths back.
Bound for Nowhere has five wins and a third from eight starts, with earnings of $755,607. He was bred in Kentucky by Wayne Lyster, Gray Lyster, and Bryan Lyster out of the Alydeed mare Fancy Deed, and he was a $310,000 purchase by Cromwell Bloodstock from Ashview Farm’s consignment to the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Also on the Saturday card, the $400,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Stakes was won by Bloom Racing Stable’s Henley’s Joy, extending a year of success for the owner of prominent 3-year-old filly Midnight Bisou. Bloom Racing captured last year’s Juvenile with the Steve Asmussen-trained Snapper Sinclair. Henley’s Joy is trained by Mike Maker.
Sitting comfortably for Tyler Gaffalione near the rail in fifth up the backstretch and about four lengths back around the sweeping turn, Henley’s Joy cut the corner into the stretch to get into contention. In a gritty performance, the Kitten’s Joy colt prevailed by a head over Tracksmith.
Miss Technicality recorded the largest winning margin of Kentucky Downs’ opening day while taking the Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Stakes by six lengths over Lightscameraaction. The Gio Ponti filly was content to lay back in eighth in the early going while City Diva, Lightscameraaction and Two Shakes contended for the lead. The latter one faded in the turn, and Miss Technicality made a sustained run to easily clear the field.
The 5-year-old mare On Leave hadn’t won a stakes race this year, but trainer Shug McGaughey took care of that issue in the $250,000 One Dreamer Stakes.
It was the second straight win in the One Dreamer for McGaughey and owner Stuart Janney III, following My Impression‘s score a year ago.
With blinkers added for this race and sent off at 3-2 odds from near the far outside post under Florent Geroux, On Leave bided her time well off the rail and 2 1/2 lengths off the pace behind longshots Youngest Daughter and Burma Road heading into the sweeping, downhill far turn of the European-style turf course.
Leaving the turn, Youngest Daughter, Burma Road and Arraign still led, but Geroux was asking a responsive On Leave. She soon took command and at the furlong marker en route to a half length win.
Kentucky Downs enjoyed its second-highest betting day in track history during Saturday’s opening card with a total of $6,205,873 wagered on the 10-race lineup.
“I thought it was a great day all the way around,” said Ted Nicholson, senior vice president and general manager of Kentucky Downs. “We saw a lot of great racing. We had a huge crowd. It seemed like everybody had fun, from kids and families all the way to the hard-core players. We bet really well on-track and mostly off-track, obviously.
“It was a great opening day. There are always things for us to improve on, and we plan to do just that.”