Derby 4th Disarm edges Verifying in G3 Matt Winn

Ellis Park stakes recap by Kevin Kerstein (Coady photo of Disarm winning Matt Winn)

HENDERSON, Ky. (Sunday, June 11, 2023) – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm ran down Verifying right at the wire to win the first graded stakes of his young career in Sunday’s 26thrunning of the $400,000 Matt Winn (Grade III) at Ellis Park Racing & Gaming.

          Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Joel Rosario, Disarm completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.59 over the “sloppy” surface.

          The fleet-footed Bo Cruz was taken to the early lead in the Matt Winn under jockey Corey Lanerie and completed a composed quarter-mile of :24.46. Verifying, and jockey Tyler Gaffalione, tracked Bo Cruz in second up the backside while Disarm and Rosario were positioned third at the rail. Around the far turn, following three-quarters of a mile in 1:13.05, Verifying drew alongside Bo Cruz while Rosario started to ask Disarm to pick up his best stride. Verifying took over the lead from Bo Cruz at the eighth-pole but had to fend off Disarm, who ranged up in the three path to his outside. In the final stages of the Matt Winn, Disarm gamely pressed by Verifying to record a half-length victory. 

          “It was a little wet today which is always concerning to see how horses would like it,” Rosario said. “(Disarm) seemed to like it and got over the track well. It was a very good performance. Steve (Asmussen) told me to get him into position after we broke from the gate and just let him handle things on his own. At the three-eighths pole I had to start to ride him a little bit to keep position but he responded very nicely after that and continued to do so down the lane.”

          Disarm was sent to post as the even-money favorite and returned $4.24, $2.60 and $2.66. Verifying paid $3.28 and $2.82 with pacesetter Bo Cruz completing the top 3 and returning $4.20. 

          It was another 1 ¾ lengths back to fourth-place Raise Cain. He was followed in order byDeningtonGo Solider Go and King Russell.

          Disarm is a 3-year-old son of Gun Runner out of the Tapit mare Easy Tap. He was bred in Kentucky by his owner.

          With his victory in the Matt Winn, Disarm increased his overall mark to 7-2-2-2 and boosted his purse earnings to $760,700.

          Following dark days Monday-Wednesday, racing will continue on a Thursday-Sunday schedule at Ellis Park with daily first posts of 12:50 p.m. CDT. 

UNIFYING SPURTS CLEAR LATE TO WIN $173,050 LESLIE’S LADY OVERNIGHT STAKES – Sheri GreenbergStaghawk stablesTom Reiman and Ronald Johnson’s Unifying rallied to the lead just outside the eighth pole and spurted clear late to win Sunday’s $175,000 Leslie’s Lady at Ellis Park Racing & Gaming.

          Cristian Torres was in the saddle for conditioner Riley Mott, who tabbed the first stakes win of his young training career. Unifying completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:23.64 over the “sloppy” surface.

          The speedy B G Warrior was hustled hard from the gate and took the lead up the backside under jockey Albin Jiminez while being tracked throughout the early stages by Tell Me When. Unifying sat fifth up the backside, two lengths off B G Warrior’s hot :21.99 opening-quarter mile fraction. Around the far turn, Torres tipped Unifying to the two-path to begin her charge at B G Warrior. Just outside the eighth-pole, Unifying poked her head in front of the tiring B G Warrior and kicked clear down the lane to win by three lengths.

“She’s a really nice filly and she’s just getting better and better,” Torres said. “She was training right here at Ellis Park and she liked the track. She’s very mature and gets along with anything.”

Unifying rewarded her backers and returned $11.90, $5.10 and $3.94. Topsy, who was sent to post as the 9-5 favorite, closed in the late stages of the Leslie’s Lady to finish second underTyler Gaffalione and return $3.60 and $3.42. B G Warrior completed the trifecta and paid $15.78.

She’s On the Rocks finished one-length behind B G Warrior in fourth. She was followed in order by FriendlypersuasionPromise of HopePadmaCondensation and Tell Me When.

Unifying is a daughter of Union Rags out of the Arch mare Monarchia. She was bred in Kentucky by Lynn B. Schiff. 

With her victory in the in the Leslie’s Lady, Unifying improved her overall record to 8-3-3-1 with earnings of $294,076.  

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.