Trained by Tom Proctor and ridden by Garrett Gomez, Banned was making his return to Churchill Downs after running fifth in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GII).
Turning for home, Gomez moved Banned to the outside and quickly moved past the field, gaining command at mid stretch and drawing clear.
Banned, a 3-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy out of the Capote mare Cardinalli, covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:42.95.
The victory was worth $136,885 and increased Banned’s earnings to $231,185 with a record of 6-3-0-1.
Banned returned $8.60, $5.40, $3.80. Close Ally, ridden by Corey Lanerie, rallied for second and paid $13.20 and $7.40 with Air Support, under Rajiv Maragh, finishing a head back in third and paying $4.20 to show.
It was 2 ½ lengths back to Great Mills, who was followed in order by Swagger Jack, Surrey Star (IRE), Cozy Kitten, Jakesam, Man of Strife, Kippers n’ Eggs, Private Prize and Memen (IRE).
AMERICAN TURF QUOTES
GARRETT GOMEZ (Jockey, Banned, winner) -- “I had a really good trip. I had a good feeling in the post parade. He was really quiet in the post parade. He’s usually keyed up. Out of the gate, he settled in really nice into the first turn. There was a lot of pace up front going into the first turn. The only thing that bothered me was that he’d sooner or later start moving forward, but he seemed content with where he was. On the backside, I made him move up a little bit and once I got him moving forward a bit, I felt like I was in striking distance of all of them. I felt if he came home the way he’s supposed to, he’d be right there contending for the win at the end. I didn’t think he’d make the lead so easily. I made the lead so fast, it took him by surprise. He’s a nice little horse who’s coming along really well.”
TOM PROCTOR (Trainer, Banned, winner) -- “He's always had talent and he ran big today. The speed in there went quick and kind of set it up for us. We don't have any plans but we'll see. There are a lot of good 3-year-old races. We've all been high on him but they have to do it, that's the thing. I didn't know if he could kick like that but I was glad to see it. I kind of enjoyed that one. By design we were trying to get off it (the pace) but mostly I let it up to Garrett (Gomez) to be comfortable but I'd prefer to not get in a hurry. He's got some talent and we'll just see. The future will tell us. I'm no genius; I just get them ready to run and run. Yeah, I'd like them to run good, but you never know."
COREY LANERIE (Jockey, Close Ally, second) – “I had a great trip. We cut every corner and did everything we could. The winner was amazing. He ran by my horse as if he was standing still. (Trainer) Neil (Howard) has done a great job with this horse. He gave me everything he had.”
NEIL HOWARD (Trainer, Close Ally, second) – “I'm tickled, I'm thrilled. I thought he ran great.”
RAJIV MARAGH (Jockey, Air Support, third) -- “I had a pretty good trip. He settled early and came running strong late. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get second, but he put in his best effort.”
SHUG MCGAUGHEY (Trainer, Air Support, third) – “I’m never satisfied when I’m third, but I did think he ran a good race. I think the winner is probably a good horse. We just missed being second. He probably got a little farther back than I wanted him and just left himself with a whole lot to do, but he fired hard. That was a pretty good pace, 23 and change, 47 and change. I thought that was fine.”