Imprimis overcomes stumble to score in Shakertown

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The first step was a doozy, but Imprimis somehow recovered to proceed to a rousing victory Saturday in the 23rd running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Shakertown Stakes on the huge Blue Grass Stakes card at Keeneland.

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Imprimis, the 5-2 second choice in a field of 13 older turf sprinters, was up in the final yards to prevail by a neck over Bound for Nowhere, the 8-5 favorite and 2018 Shakertown winner.

“He stumbled bad,” jockey Paco Lopez said of the first step out of the starting gate for Imprimis.

“For sure we took the worst of it, and it left us with a lot to do,” said Joe Orseno, who trains the 5-year-old gelding for Breeze Easy LLC. “But he’s a horse who’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s such a nice horse.”

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Imprimis paid $7.20 after finishing the 5 1/2-furlong distance in 1:02.33 over a firm turf. Bound for Nowhere, who put away speedy challengers such as Bay Muzik and Latent Revenge when opening up at the furlong pole, ran huge in his first start in six months.

“That was a tough beat,” said trainer Wesley Ward.

Behind Bound for Nowhere, it was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Angaston in third, with Chaos Theory fourth and Will Call fifth. Disco Partner, the 7-2 third choice and the leading earner in the lineup, was never a factor when ninth.

Orseno said the Group 1 King’s Stand at the Royal Ascot meet in June is the next main target for Imprimis, a 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Broken Vow. “It’s an exciting plan, but not too ambitious, we don’t think,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be there.”

Imprimis now has won seven of nine career starts, with the Shakertown becoming his first graded win. The gelding was coming off a swift triumph in the ungraded Silks Run at his home base, Gulfstream Park.

Orseno, the East Coast-based veteran who has enjoyed a career resurgence over the last couple of years or so after consolidating his stable in Florida, last won a stakes at Keeneland in 2000, when Collect the Cash took the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

The $2 exacta (11-9) paid $20.60, the $1 trifecta (11-9-13) returned $183.40, and the 10-cent superfecta (11-9-13-12) was worth $158.80.