Private Creed. Courtney Snow/Past The Wire
By Kentucky Downs Publicity Team
FRANKLIN, Ky.— After Mike McCarty’s Private Creed won the Juvenile Sprint race at the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs last year, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen pointed his son of Jimmy Creed to the $1 million Exacta Systems Franklin-Simpson (G2) at the 2023 meet.
Private Creed didn’t disappoint his trainer as he was full of run in the 61/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds, coming up the rail to win by a widening 2/12 lengths. Jockey Joel Rosario, who was in the saddle when Private Creed won the Juvenile Sprint last year by three quarters of a length, was on board Saturday as well.
“Dream trip,” Asmussen said. “Just as good as it gets. He got away from there well, so he put him in hand, and he was comfortable. He’s a really big horse. Joel put him in the pocket, came right up the fence.”
It was the third win of the afternoon for Rosario and second stakes race. He won the $1 million Aristocrat Ladies Marathon earlier on the card.
“I had horse,” Rosario said. “I was just trying to keep riding him. He came off the rail and I just took it.”
This was the first win of the season for Private Creed in his sixth start. He had finished second twice, including in his last start, in the ungraded Mahony at Saratoga on Aug. 13. That was his first start since May when he was fifth in a William Walker at Churchill Downs.
Following that race, Private Creed missed time because of an open cut he suffered in the Walker.
“Off the race at Churchill, we were very concerned,” Asmussen said. “Big open gash on him, but it healed up extremely well. It did take longer than we were wanting it to, but he was back just in time. He clipped heels and I believe it was his other leg hitting himself.”
This was the first win for Asmussen at the meet.
“Very important for us to have a little success here, with (major client) Ron (Winchell) being a partner on owning the racetrack,” Asmussen said.
Private Creed earned $585,960 for his victory and is now a millionaire with earnings of $1,248,286. Private Creed had won four of 10 career starts on the grass, his only dirt try coming in the Risen Star Stakes earlier this year when he was 12th.
Sweet Cherry Pie, trained by Rusty Arnold and ridden by Irad Ortiz, set the early pace, setting fractions of 21.94, 45.90 and 1:10.46. In the final three sixteenths, Sweet Cherry Pie was joined by the lone filly in the race, Playlist (5-1) for trainer Wesley Ward and John Velazquez.
Sweet Cherry Pie went off as the 7-2 favorite in the wide-open race.
Private Creed blew past both of them and poured it on heading to the wire.
Playlist outfinished Sweet Cherry Pie and was 2 1/4 lengths in front of him. Sweet Cherry Pie was a neck in front of Closethegame Sugar, who was a nose in front of Behind Enemy Lines, who was also 7-2.
Behind Enemy Lines had to overcome the No. 12 post position.
“I don’t think if he had drawn inside that we would have beaten the winner,” said Jack Sisterson, trainer of Behind Enemy Lines. “It might have been closer.”
Ward was pleased with the runner-up performance for Playlist.
“She ran great,” he said. “We had to run her against the boys because she didn’t get in the other day (in the Music City Stakes). I think she is going to go on to be a really good filly.”
Private Creed was timed in 1:17.03 and paid $14.02, $6.38 and $4.20.
The immediate plan for Private Creed could be a trip to California to run in the five-furlong Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November.
“Heck yes,” Asmussen said. “Whether we run him back between now and then, I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how much this took out of him.”
Asmussen, though, might already be targeting Private Creed for another visit to Kentucky Downs in 2024 and a run in the $1 million Ainsworth Turf Sprint against older horses.
“Absolutely,” Asmussen said. “Hope we have another Snapper Sinclair on our hands. It’s great to have a horse that has an affinity for this course because of how rich the purses are.”
Snapper Sinclair had that affinity. He had three wins and a second in four starts at Kentucky Downs during his 39-race career.
After Behind Enemy Lines, the order of finish was Mo Stash, Monsieur Coco, Frosted Departure, Two of a Kind, Bat Flip, Lugan Knight and Golden Bandit.
7th running of the $1,000,000 Exacta Systems Franklin-Simpson (G2), 3-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs, includes KTDF of $400,000
Jockey Joel Rosario, 1st, Private Creed – On riding a repeat winner: “It seems like they run really well over the track. This horse tries had all the time. It seems like he really loves it here.
How was your trip: “It looked like I was in a good spot right in the beginning of the race. It looked like he was responding really well for me and getting over the track really well. We had to work things out turning for home. The horse that was in front of me kind of moved off the rail a little bit and then he came back in. I had horse and was just trying to keep riding him and hopefully if I can maybe go inside at some point and then come out. He came off the rail and I just took it.”
Steve Asmussen, winning trainer, Private Creed:
(On race at Churchill May 13, when fifth in the William Walker on May 13, then was off until he was second in the Aug. 13 Mahony at Saratoga)
“He had an open cut. And we just waited and waited on that. It was at a point in his ankle, so we didn’t train him at all until it healed up.”
(What about his Keeneland race; fifth in the Palisades?) “It didn’t happen. And Keeneland in the spring is different than Keeneland in the fall. It really is.”
“Had a lot of confidence in him off the race at Saratoga. It was a little soft, but he needed it and he trained beautifully into this race. And this was the target for him since he won over here last year. Very important for us to have a little success here, with (major client) Ron (Winchell) being a partner on owning the racetrack.
(And now the target is next year’s $1 million Ainsworth Turf Sprint against older horses?) “Absolutely. Hope we have another Snapper Sinclair on our hands. But it is great to have a horse that has an affinity for this course because of how rich the purses are.”
(How about Joel Rosario?) “Dream trip. Just as good as it gets. He got away from there well, so he put him in hand, and he was comfortable. He’s a really big horse; and that was away extremely well for him. And Joel put him in the pocket, came right up the fence.”
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint? “Absolutely. Heck yes. Whether we run him back between now and then I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how much this took out of him.”
(This was 6 1/2 furlongs. Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint is five furlongs at Santa Anita) “I think when he’s right, he’s extremely good and we’re very thankful. Scott (Blasi) did a wonderful job with him. Off the race at Churchill, we were very concerned. Big open gash on him and stuff, but it healed up extremely well. It did take longer than we were wanting it to, but he was back just in time. He clipped heels and I believe it was his other leg hitting himself.”
Wesley Ward, trainer, runner-up Playlist: “She ran great. We had to run her against the boys because she didn’t get in the other day (in the Music City). I was happy with her. Really happy. I think she’s going to go on to be a really good horse.”
Trainer Jack Sisterson, 5th, Behind Enemy Lines – “He ran his race. He was drawn wide, and he was kind of hung wide the whole way. He made his move but was just bet by better horses today.
Did the draw compromise his chances: “I don’t think if we would have drawn inside that we would have beaten the winner. It might have been closer. He ran a good race. We’re happy with him.”