The Winning Colors – named in honor of the filly that prevailed against colts in the 1988 Kentucky Derby – was the first of three graded stakes races run under the lights as part of Churchill Downs’ special “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” nighttime racing program.
The 5-year-old mare was allowed to settle as Honey Chile, Page Springs and 2-1 favorite Good Deed disputed the pace in the early stages through fractions of :21.61 and :45.05. Goncalves swung Island Bound six-wide entering the stretch, wore down the leaders and held off a late run by Beat the Blues, who was unable to match strides with the winner.
Island Bound paid $21.40, $6.40 and $4.40 at odds of 9-1 in the field of eight fillies and mares. Beat the Blues returned $3.60 and $2.80. Speedacious, who loomed a danger but flattened out during the stretch drive, was another 1 ¾ lengths back in third and paid $3.20. Gleaming, Good Deed, Fortune Play, Honey Chile and Page Springs completed the order of finish.
Island Bound, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Speightstown out of the A.P. Indy mare Indy Mood, won for the fifth time in 20 career starts. The Winning Colors was her first try against graded stakes company. The $66,215 winner’s share of the purse jumped her career earnings to $213,238. She has finished first or second in each of her six starts this year, with three victories.
WINNING COLORS QUOTES
Ian Wilkes, trainer of Island Bound, winner: “This filly has really improved over the year. Her last race was very good and she had been training well since then. I’m very happy for (owner) Bob Manfuso. He’s a tremendous guy and I’m so happy he was able to get this graded stakes win.”
Leandro Goncalves, jockey of Island Bound, winner: “Everything worked out how Ian and I planned before the race. There was a lot of speed in the race, so I just rated about four or five (lengths) off the pace. We started to pick it up at the three-eighths (pole) and then, when I really asked her, she finished strong. I had everything my way today.”
Miguel Mena, jockey of Beat the Blues, second: “She had a good break and it was a perfect trip for me. We were behind a hot pace, they went in :21, and I thought I was in a great spot. Turning for home I got through in the middle and split horses perfectly and thought I’d be a winner from there. But the outside (Island Bound) was the best horse today. But she ran a great race, like she does every time.”
Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey of Speedacious, third: “My filly ran her race. She’s kind of a tough filly to ride because she likes to drift if something is outside of her, but she broke perfect. Coming off the turn I thought she was a winner because she picked it up nicely, but we just got outrun late.”
Shaun Bridgmohan, jockey of Good Deed, fifth as 2-1 favorite: “I didn’t send her away from there. I didn’t give her the indications that she had to blast-off because it looked like a couple of other horses in there had faster speed and I didn’t want to get hooked-up with them. She broke great and I got her to the outside. I just wanted to get her clear, which I did. I accomplished what I wanted, because those other horses looked awfully fast and I didn’t want to get in the mix of that. But she didn’t quite give me what I was hoping for.”