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American Patriot denies Heart to Heart in Maker's 46 Mile

WinStar Farm had the top male turf miler of 2016 after Tourist won the Breeders’ Cup Mile last fall, but even with his retirement, the powerhouse stable hasn’t skipped a beat in that regard.

Photographic Credit: Coady Photography

American Patriot and jockey Javier Castellano win the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile by a neck Friday.

American Patriot, skillfully ridden by Javier Castellano under the white WinStar silks, was along in the desperate final yards Friday at Keeneland to nail Heart to Heart in a hotly contested 29th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile.

“He finished tremendous,” Castellano said after American Patriot completed the two-turn mile in 1:34.70 over a firm course. “It was a good setup, a lot of speed in the race.”

American Patriot returned $23 when coming off a Feb. 17 allowance victory over the Gulfstream Park turf. The 4-year-old WinStar homebred prevailed in what surely was the best lineup of turf milers assembled in North America since the BC Mile last November.

Before a sun-baked crowd of 24,114, Heart to Heart and jockey Julien Leparoux tracked closely in splits of 23.25 and 47.18 seconds, then put away the front-running What a View approaching the quarter pole to quickly open up on his 10 rivals. Even with 100 yards to go, Heart to Heart, an eight-time graded-stakes winner, appeared destined for his first Grade 1 score, but American Patriot gobbled up ground late to win by a neck.

“He ran a great race,” said Leparoux. “I wish he’d won a Grade 1 because he deserves it.”

“You can’t ask for any more than he gave us today,” said Brian Lynch, who trains the 6-year-old Heart to Heart for Terry Hamilton.

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