Jack Milton's late charge wins Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Jockey Javier Castellano had no problem watching the Maker's 46 Mile unfold from the rear as he made sure to save Jack Milton's speed for the end.
The move paid off when Jack Milton stormed from outside entering the stretch and took charge for his first Grade 1 win in the $300,000 race at Keeneland on Friday.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 5-year-old's best finishes in five Grade 1 starts had been thirds at Belmont Park and Arlington and he hadn't run better than fifth in his past three. Jack Milton broke through on a rain-softened turf, starting on the outside and laying back for most of the race before making his move on the final turn and winning by 2 1/4 lengths.
Jack Milton won for the fifth time in 15 career starts and earned his first win since the Grade 3 Poker Stakes at Belmont last May.
''I really liked the way the race set up today,'' Castellano said about the strategy to hold back Jack Milton. ''He's a come-from-behind horse. It was a beautiful pace. I think they went pretty quick early in the race and set it up perfectly. He gave me a good kick. I'm very satisfied with the way he did it.''
This race had been the domain of two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who won the past two runnings. But his ongoing recovery from an ankle injury opened the door for a new winner, and Jack Milton was among several entrants due for a breakthrough at the top level.
Favorite Summer Front was 0 for 9 in Grade 1 races, while Za Approval and Long On Value were also winless.
Jack Milton had also struggled but he patiently waited until finding room on the outside to blow past the field and find Grade 1 success.
''We had two plans,'' assistant Tristan Berry said in place of Pletcher, who was in Florida. ''If he broke well, we were going to sit close to the pace and pounce. If he didn't, we were going to sit back and make one run. Plan B worked well.''
Jack Milton covered the mile 1:36.30 and paid $11.20, $6.20 and $4.00. Aripeka returned $10.40 and $4.20, and Long On Value paid $4 to show.