Gargan’s ‘other’ 3-year-old takes Matt Winn

Churchill Downs stakes recap by Kevin Kerstein (Coady Media/Renee Torbit photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, June 9, 2024) – It was a big weekend for Louisville-born trainer Danny Gargan. One day after scoring a 17-1 upset in the $2 million Belmont Stakes (Grade I) at Saratoga with Dornoch, his 3-year-old Society Man collected his first stakes win with a convincing 2 ½-length triumph at odds of 6-1 over 7-5 favorite Who Dey in Sunday’s 27th running of the $400,000 Matt Winn Stakes (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

Society Man, the Wood Memorial (GII) runner-up who bounced back from his 16th place finish in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI), clocked 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:42.33 under Corey Lanerie for owners Reeves Thoroughbred RacingWest Paces Racing LLCGMP Stables LLC and Carl F. and Yurie Pascarella.

“I’m very grateful to Danny and his whole team for the opportunity to ride him,” Lanerie said. “He and his team had a big weekend. I’m glad to have played a small part in it.”

          Northern Flame broke fastest from the gate and led the field of eight 3-year-olds into the first turn through an opening quarter mile in :24.20. Unsatisfied with a modest pace, Who Dey ascended to the front as the cast entered the backstretch with Society Man relaxed and well back of the leaders in seventh position. After a half-mile in :47.37, Society Man raced along the inside and commenced his rail rally around the far turn. As Rocketeer poked his head in front of Who Dey and a tiring West Saratoga at the head of the stretch, Lanerie tipped out Society Man three-wide with three-sixteenths of a mile to the finish and the gelding drove clear in the stretch for the hard-charging victory. 

“He was on the bit and looked great in the paddock,” Lanerie said. “I could tell he was ready to go. This was the first time I rode him but I was able to study his previous races on paper and the replays. Danny didn’t give me any instructions on how to ride him. I was a little bit further back than I thought we’d be but around the three-eighths pole. I lowered my hands and he took me where I needed to be. I was able to get clear at the eighth-pole and he took off. He was fun to ride.”

The victory was worth $240,525 and improved Society Man’s overall record to 2-1-1 with earnings of $437,230 in seven starts.

“He’s shown he’s been able to do a couple of things in his career and has some different dimensions,” Lanerie said. “The way he was able to relax today it showed me he doesn’t have a problem with longer distances than this. Down the backside, as far as I was out of it, I got a little bit worried. When it was time to go, though, he was ready.”

Society Man returned $14.78, $5.36 and $3.58. Who Dey, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $2.92 and $2.28 and finished a nose in front of Next Level, who paid $4.48 to show at odds of 12-1 under Jareth Loveberry.

Rocketeer was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth, and was followed by West SaratogaMighty Message, Northern Flame and Luna TapNashand Scatify were scratched.

Society Man is a gelded son of Good Magic out of the Colonel John mare You Cheated and was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock LLC.

The Matt Winn is named in honor of the famed Churchill Downs president that served as the driving force in the development of the Downs and his beloved Kentucky Derby.


Stonestreet Stable’s Emery swept past her four rivals around the turn and drew away in the stretch without being asked to easily win Sunday’s third running of the $170,450 Leslie’s Lady Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs by 3 ½ lengths over Tambo.

Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione and conditioned by Brad Cox, Emery ran seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:22.46 to collect her first career stakes win.

Moonlit Lady broke fastest from the gate and dictated the terms through a first quarter mile in :22.74 and a half-mile in :45.57 as Emery relaxed in last behind the closely bunched field of five 3-year-old fillies. Emery entered the turn in last and left the bend in front. She kicked past the leaders with a furlong to run under a hand ride.

“She’s a very classy filly,” Gaffalione said. “She traveled so nicely today and I was just trying to stay out of her way. Her ears were up down the lane and I had plenty of horse left.”

Emery, the odds-on 4-5 favorite, rewarded her backers with payouts of $3.78, $2.70 and $2.10. Tambo, ridden by Jose Ortiz, returned $3.32 and $2.40. Legadema, with Martin Garcia up, was another 2 ¾ lengths back in third and paid $2.20 to show.

Charlene’s Dream was fourth and Moonlit Lady was fifth. Blue Squall and Pink Lady Lu Sha were scratched.

With her victory worth $107,200, Emery boosted her career earnings to $256,298 from a record of 3-0-0 in four starts. 

Emery is a daughter of More Than Ready out of the Street Sense mare Athena and was bred in Kentucky by Mary K. Grum

The Leslie’s Lady honors Fred and Nancy Mitchell’s breed-shaping broodmare who produced 15 foals, of which nine became racehorses and seven were winners, including top sire Into Mischief, four-time champion Beholder and Grade I winner and sire Mendelssohn. The 2016 Broodmare of the Year passed away peacefully at age 26 on Jan. 24.

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.