Edited Churchill Staff Release – Liberal Arts relished the added distance and sloppy conditions at Churchill Downs as he rallied from last to win Sunday’s 11th running of the $200,000 Street Sense (Grade III) – the featured event on opening day of Churchill Downs’ 134th Fall Meet and 19th annual Stars of Tomorrow I program for juveniles.
Cristian Torres rode the winner for trainer Robert Medina and owners/breeders Stephen and Evan Ferraro as the Kentucky-bred son of Arrogate clocked 1 1/16 miles over a “sloppy” track in 1:46.50 to defeat 6-5 morning line favorite Moonlight by 2 ¾ lengths.
Gettysburg Address led the compressed field of five 2-year-old colts through measured and unpressured fractions of :23.73, :47.93 and 1:13.05 as Liberal Arts was content to trail early and conserve his energy for a late run. As Informed Patriot collared into a tiring Gettysburg Address with three-sixteenths of a mile to run, Liberal Arts was beginning to hit his best stride. Liberal Arts quickly closed into the leaders and was full of run late to score the convincing come-from-behind win.
“This horse really has improved as the distances got longer,” Torres said. “Turning for home today I just had a ton of horse beneath me and I think he really appreciated going two turns. I got him to relax on the backside and he won like a professional today.”
Liberal Arts earned $123,000 for the win and improved his record to 5-2-1-2—$226,825. He also earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby series that will determine the preference list for the 20-horse 150th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on Saturday, May 4. Points were awarded on a scale of 10-5-3-2-1 to the top five finishers.
Liberal Arts paid $14.18, $4.08 and $2.68 at odds of 6-1. Moonlight, who passed Informed Patriot for second under Luis Saez, returned $2.88 and $2.26. Informed Patriot, with Tyler Gaffalione up, paid $3.06.
Gettysburg Address and Northern Flame completed the order of finish. Barksdale, Generous Tipper and Parchment Party were scratched.
Prior to the Street Sense, Liberal Arts finished third in the one-turn, one mile $300,000 Iroquois (GIII) on Sept. 16 behind West Saratoga and Risk It.
“We knew we wouldn’t be able to get longer distances until the fall so we made sure this horse had some experience under his belt but knew he’d appreciate the stretch out,” said Medina, who tallied his first graded stakes win as a trainer. “Going two-turns today I think was the key. He’s made five starts this year and talking with the ownership group the plan is now to lay him up until next year and point to some of the big 3-year-old races.”
The gray or roan Liberal Arts is out of the Tribal Rule dam Ismene.
The Street Sense is named in honor of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense who became the first horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) as a 2-year-old and the Run for the Roses at age 3. He also was the first Champion Two-Year-Old Colt to win the Kentucky Derby since Spectacular Bid who won the Kentucky Derby in 1979. Trainer Carl Nafzger was on hand to present the winning trophy Sunday.
WEST SUNSET WIRES FIELD IN $200,000 RAGS TO RICHES, V V’S DREAM THIRD AT 1-9
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023) – Gary and Mary West’s homebred filly West Sunset led from start to finish in Sunday’s 11th running of the $200,000 Rags to Riches (Listed) at Churchill Downs and easily defeated stablemate Gin Gin by 6 ¾ lengths. Odds-on 1-9 favorite V V’s Dream was another 2 ¾ lengths back in third.
Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Brad Cox, West Sunset ran 1 1/16 miles on “sloppy” dirt in 1:46.31 while making her two-turn debut. Previously, she broke her maiden by a neck while running six furlongs at Churchill Downs in her Sept. 16 debut.
Breaking from post 4 in the compact field of five 2-year-old fillies, West Sunset was fastest out of the gate and was able to dictate a measured pace – quarter-mile splits of :24.23, :48.99 and 1:13.52 – without any pressure. Down the backstretch, Candy Landy was about two lengths back of the leader with Gin Gin and V V’s Dream, who walked out of the starting gate, another length behind in third and fourth, respectively.
Into the far turn, Candy Landy, Gin Gin and V V’s Dream attempted to close into West Sunset’s advantage but she had plenty of run left and spurted 5 ½ lengths clear at the top of the stretch to widen her margin through the finish.
“It always felt like I had a lot of horse beneath me,” Prat said. “She was pretty straightforward when she left the gate, and I got her to relax a little bit on the lead. Turning for home I was confident she’d have enough left in the tank to continue strong.”
V V’s Dream, who walked out of the starting gate as the heavy 0.19-1 favorite after a September win in the Pocahontas (Grade II) and a second to Candied in the Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland 23 days ago, raced three-wide throughout and lacked a closing kick down the homestretch. V V’s Dream was pre-entered in Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Santa Anita and would have been one of the favorites behind divisional leader Tamara, but her connections opted to stay in Kentucky for Sunday’s Rags to Riches.
West Sunset, at odds of 7-1, paid $17.72, $6.86 and $2.36. Gin Gin, with Florent Geroux aboard at 9-1, returned $9.12 and $2.66. V V’s Dream, with Brian Hernandez Jr. up, paid $2.10. Candy Landy was fourth and Floored was last of five. Shimmering Allure and Twirling Good Time were scratched.
Sunday’s payday was worth $124,000 and West Sunset improved her record to 2-2-0-0—$193,000. She also collected 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks as the Rags to Riches was added to the prep season schedule for the first time. The top five finishers earned points on a scale of 10-5-3-2-1.
“Hopefully with some more seasoning this is a filly we can dream running in the Kentucky Oaks,” Cox said.
By West Coast, West Sunset is a Kentucky-bred bay filly out of the Vindication mare Vindicated Ghost.
Sunday’s race is named in honor of Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor’s 2007 Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner. Six years ago, Michael Dubb and Monomoy Stables’ Monomoy Girl cruised to a 6 ½-length score in the Rags to Riches prior to her triumph in the 2018 Kentucky Oaks.
STREET SENSE STAKES QUOTES
Cristian Torres (jockey, Liberal Arts, winner): “This horse really has improved as the distances got longer. Turning for home today I just had a ton of horse beneath me and I think he really appreciated going two turns. I got him to relax on the backside and he won like a professional today.”
Robert Medina (trainer, Liberal Arts): “We knew we wouldn’t be able to get longer distances until the fall so we made sure this horse had some experience under his belt but knew he’d appreciate the stretch out. Going two-turns today I think was the key. He’s made five starts this year and talking with the ownership group the plan is now to lay him up until next year and point to some of the big 3-year-old races.”
RAGS TO RICHES QUOTES
Flavien Prat (jockey, West Sunset, winner): “It always felt like I had a lot of horse beneath me. She was pretty straightforward when she left the gate and I got her to relax a little bit on the lead. Turning for home I was confident she’d have enough left in the tank to continue strong.”
Brad Cox (trainer, West Sunset, winner, Gin Gin, runner-up): “It was a good effort from both fillies. (West Sunset) was a little anxious in the paddock but hopefully that will get better the more mature she gets. She broke really well and Flavien (Prat) got her to relax a little bit on the backside which helped her. I’m glad I ran her in this spot. I almost shipped her to Aqueduct to run in a stakes there next week. Hopefully with some more seasoning this is a filly we can dream running in the Kentucky Oaks.”