05/25/2013 6:40PM

Churchill Downs: Dark Cove wins as highweight in Louisville Handicap

Dark Cove (No. 6), with Rosie Napravnik aboard, wins the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap for his second straight graded stakes victory.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dark Cove was spotting his opponents four to eight pounds Saturday in the Grade 3, $111,800 Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs. So, as the 6-year-old horse clung grimly to the lead in deep stretch of the 1 1/2-mile turf race, Mike Maker admitted to having hard feelings about the weight assignments.

But after Dark Cove held on to win by a half-length over Atigun, with Najjaar just another nose back in third, Maker was willing to forgive, forget, and make merry. Rosie Napravnik made up the majority of the 122-pound impost aboard Dark Cove, who returned $6.40 to win as the second choice in a field of nine older horses.

“It is what it is, I guess,” Maker said. “When they make you the highweight, it means you’ve been doing something right.”

For a couple of months now, Maker and his main clients, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, have been doing more than just a few things right. Victory in the Louisville Handicap continued an incredible run for the owner-trainer team, who not only smashed records in their respective categories at Keeneland last month but have continued to win at a high percentage since moving April 27 to Churchill.

Through Saturday, Ramsey already had 14 wins, and Maker had 16 at a 17-day-old meet.

Dark Cove, a Kentucky-bred by Medaglia d’Oro, was claimed in April 2012 for $50,000. The horse ran in four straight claiming races before stretching out to 1 1/2 miles and breaking loose with a 4 1/4-length victory in his previous start, the Grade 2 Elkhorn on the April 26 closing-day card at Keeneland.

Maker said he wants to keep Dark Cove in turf marathons and that the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes on July 13 at Arlington Park is a logical next destination.

Ken Ramsey was not on hand Saturday because he was attending a high-school reunion in Barbourville, Ky., according to his son, Jeff.

Dark Cove finished in 2:27.29 over a firm course for his eighth win from 23 career starts.

The $2 exacta (6-4) paid $21.60, the $1 trifecta (6-4-7) returned $93, and the 10-cent superfecta (6-4-7-1) was worth $51.32.

Due to several longshot winners who directly preceded the Louisville (66-1, 16-1, and 13-1), there were no perfect tickets in the pick-five wager, which is held on the last five races daily. The combination of 10-5-6-6-6 was worth $23,761.75 for each 50-cent ticket with 4 of 5. The pool was $88,017.

Laura Buenaventura More than 1 year ago
I totally agree the stewards took a personal view on the previous wrongs done by the Jock--Can't believe there is not more posted on this---the horse was clear when he came over and if the jock or horse reacts to dirt in the face you CAN NOT BLAME THE HORSE AHEAD OF HIM--poor owner as well as the bettors-she lost both horse and purse.Each stride the easy winner was covering more than 1/2 to 3/4 of the nine horse and I am sure Rosie did not think the 10 until Lebron told her.They fired John Vietch UNJUSTELY het hire replacements who make decisions like this which does not shoe their integity but lack of it--THE HORSE WOULD HAVE NEVER COME DOWN IN NY OR MOST TRACKS YET ARROY0 (THE WHIPPING BOY) AS BEEN STATED GETS THE BLAME--ANOTHER OWNER LAWSUIT JUST LIKE THE ONGOING ONE WITH STALL AND CLAIBORNE SHOULD TAKE PLACE,UNFORTUNATELY THE FANS AND BETTORS GET NO RECOURSE..WHAT A JOKE
Nicolas Avilez More than 1 year ago
I feel robbed by the stewards in the 11th race DQ at CD's (I had a $260 cold Daily Double 6-10 which was worth $2,730). I have 35 years playing and watching races and this is the worst call I have ever seen. #10 cleared the feel and moved in, #9, more than 2 lengths behind, followed that move and created some problems to the field. Why the stewards were so shortsighted by focusing on the head-on replay that did not provide the full perspective? They should fire these incompetents!!!
myjockwon More than 1 year ago
not sure i agree, the stewards should be arrested for race fixing not fired, how can you take down a horse that not only was clear but drew off from the field to win by 6. No wonder the fans continue to exit our sport they feel the game is crooked and i can see why. they worry about these stupid overages of drugs that are basically Advil.an they have it out for this kid Arroyo an so they penalize the public, come on