Bob Baffert’s McKinzie took another significant step toward the Kentucky Derby by winning Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes in stylish fashion under Mike Smith, as he dominated by 3 ½ lengths while getting a flat mile in 1:36.58.
With Baffert removing blinkers, McKinzie seemed more settled early than he had been in his first trip around two turns, a win, via disqualification in the Grade I Cash Call Los Alamitos Futurity at 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 9.
“He was a bit too aggressive last time,” said Smith. “Today, he seemed to relax early, then he jumped when I asked, so taking the blinkers off today, I thought we might as well try it and I think it was a great move.”
The heavy 1-5 favorite in a field of six sophomores, McKinzie paid $2.40, $2.40 and $2.10.
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2018 Sham Replay
Owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman, McKinzie, a Kentucky-bred colt by Street Sense, is now perfect in three starts and with the winner’s check of $60,000, he now has earnings of $270,000.
In a gallant effort, All Out Blitz, who tried two turns for the first time and was ridden by Tyler Baze, went to the front as expected and although he was no match for the winner when confronted a quarter mile out, stayed gamely for the place, finishing four lengths clear of My Boy Jack.
Off at 14-1, All Out Blitz paid $7.20 and $3.80.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux and trying dirt for the first since his debut six starts back, My Boy Jack held off second choice Shivermetimbers by a neck and paid $2.80 to show.
With the win, McKinzie picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with four, two and one point each going to the second, third and fourth place finishers.
Fractions on the race were 23.69, 47.73, 1:12.17 and 1:24.22.
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