Somelikeithotbrown took charge soon after the start and was never headed en route to victory in the $1-million WinStar Mint Million (G3) Saturday at Kentucky Downs.
Skychai Racing LLC and David Koenig’s New York-bred six-year-old son of Big Brown turned back a strong challenge from runner-up Atone and third-place finisher Mr Duman to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths. Mr Dumas was a nose behind Atone.
Ridden by Jose Ortiz for Kentucky Downs’ current leading trainer Mike Maker, Somelikeithotbrown covered the one-mile test on firm turf for 3-year-olds and older in 1:33.88, improving on his runner-up finish in last year’s edition of the race. He came into to this year’s race following a six-length win in the West Point Stakes August 26 at Saratoga.
Sprinting to the clear lead early, Somelikeithotbrown laid down opening fractions of :23.48 and :46.93 for a half mile while Atone chased from second about 1 1/2 lengths back while Mr Dumas rated in fifth. Atone unleashed a determined outside rally into the stretch and loomed threateningly with a furlong to run, and Mr Dumas bid along the rail gaining ground with every stride, but the winner was too strong.
“He has natural speed,” Maker said. “Since we took the blinkers off (in his last start), he has been settling. I left it up to Jose. He was going easy all the way compared to the quarters earlier in the day. I felt pretty comfortable.”
Somelikeithotbrown, who returned $6.60, has won two of five starts this year and improved his overall record to 10-6-4 from 28 career starts. His resume includes a trio previous graded stakes wins in the 2019 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park, 2020 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) at Saratoga, and 2021 Dinner Party Stakes (G2) at Pimlico. The $330,770 winner’s share of the Mint Million purse elevated his lifetime bankroll to $1,647,018
He was bred by Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar Stables from the Tapit mare Marilyn Monroan.