Bango and Tyler Gaffalione victorious in the Bet On Sunshine (Coady Photography)
Churchill Downs Press Release
LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Tamaroak Partners’ classy sprinter Bango overcame traffic trouble along the inside rail in mid-stretch before he shifted out to get a clear run and overhaul leader Sibelius in deep stretch to win Sunday’s 14th running of the $299,750 Bet On Sunshine (Listed) at Churchill Downs by three-quarters of a length.
Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione for trainer Greg Foley, Bango ran six furlongs in 1:10.00 over a fast track to collect his ninth win in 16 starts at Churchill Downs – just two victories back of the documented modern-day record of 11 set by Ready’s Rocket between 2008-12.
The win was worth $178,800 and improved Bango’s career earnings to $947,715 with a record of 11-1-2 in 27 starts. Earlier this year, Bango won the $199,833 Aristides (Listed) at Churchill Downs for the second year in a row. He won Sunday’s stakes event 51 days after winning an allowance/optional claiming race at Churchill Downs on Sept. 23.
Silbelius broke alertly from the outside but Top Gunner pressed right to the front from the inside and led the field of nine horses through a first quarter mile in :21.60 as Bango racing in seventh behind a second flight of horses. Sibelius drew even with Top Gunner leaving the half-mile in :44.84 as Bango ranged into contention along the rail. Top Gunner maintained his position and Bango had nowhere to go. After checking while approaching the eighth-pole, Bango swung out to the three-path as Sibelius took over and surged to victory once clear.
“I let him get settled behind the speed and we couldn’t quite get by on the inside and I had to switch him out late and he spurted clear,” Gaffalione said. “He loves this track and ran big.”
Bango survived an objection by jockey James Graham aboard eventual fifth-place finisher Surveillance. Kentucky Horse Racing Stewards dismissed Graham’s claim that he was interfered with when Bango swung out with a furlong to run.
“I didn’t really know about the objection until I was about to bring him into the winner’s circle,” Foley said. “His record talks for itself, he loves it here at Churchill. He’s two away from reaching the record of 11 wins at the track. We’ll be back next year to hopefully get it.”
Bango returned $5.06, $3.28 and $2.44 as the 3-2 favorite. Sibelius, the 3-1 second betting choice under Junior Alvarado, paid $4.16 and $3.44. Top Gunner, ridden by Rey Gutierrez, was another 1 ½ lengths back in third and paid $4.26 to show.
Kavod, Surveillance, Mucho, Long Range Toddy, Williston Way and Torontotoro completed the order of finish. Miles Ahead, who was vying for favoritism with Bango minutes before the race, was scratched at the gate by the state veterinarian.
Bango is a 5-year-old son of Congrats out of the Smart Strike mare Josaka. He was bred in Kentucky by his owners Fred and Debbie Schwartz.