September Grad West Memorial Trounces The Boys in $250,000 Kentucky Juvenile

After just missing in her debut, West Memorial delivered a sustained run through the stretch to post a 1 3/4-length victory in the $250,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes on May 2 Thurby card at Churchill Downs.

West Memorial is campaigned by Reagan Swinbank’s Swinbank Stables and Jake Ballis’ Black Type Thoroughbreds.

“She was always precocious and we always knew she had speed,” Ballis said of the filly purchased for $45,000 by Black Type’s Maddie Mattmiller for Swinbank from the Legacy Bloodstock consignment at the 2023 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. “She’s very, very smart.”

West Memorial defeated males in Thursday’s race for 2-year-olds and is the first stakes winner for first-crop sire Caracaro, a grade 1-placed son of Uncle Mo who stands for $6,500 at Crestwood Farm near Lexington.

Ballis greeted Thursday’s stretch run with shouts of joy as West Memorial, at odds of 17-1, won her stakes debut, completing five furlongs in :58.29 on a fast track under jockey Reylu Gutierrez. Trainer John Hancock, who watched the race from the Churchill backstretch and sent family members over to saddle the horse—and then to celebrate—swept the top two spots as Strummin, a Flameaway colt, rallied late for second.

Odds-on favorite Shoot It True led into the stretch but faded to fourth.

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