Optimizer sets track record with Kent Stakes victory
Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer posted a sizzling victory in the $200,625 Grade III Kent Stakes at Delaware Park today.
With Jon Court aboard, the 3-year-old son of English Channel won by 4 ¼-lengths and established a new track record by running the mile and an eighth on the grass in 1:47.27 over a firm going. The previous track record was 1:47.32 set by Touched by Madness in 2005.
Excaper, with Alex Solis, set early fractions of :46.99 for a half mile and 1:10.70 for the three-quarters mile before finishing second. It was another 1 ¾-lengths farther back to Two Months Rent, with Javier Santiago, in third. The 5-to-2 favorite in the field of ten, Lucky Chappy with Jeremy Rose, finished seventh.
Optimizer returned $8.40 as the second choice. The Kentucky-bred trained by D. Wayne Lukas raised his career record to three wins from 16 starts with earnings of $446,277.
Before the Kent Stakes, the last time Jon Court rode Optimizer was an eleventh place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Since then, Optimizer has made five starts.
“He broke alertly and he chose to lay up there close,” said winning rider Jon Court. “He laid up there effortlessly. I know the track has been running really good and he was able to lay up there and finish in front of them. I always felt like I fit real well with this horse. The first time I swung a leg over him, I felt privileged that Wayne (Lukas) let me ride him. I felt privileged today and I am delighted he gave me the chance again.”