West Point Thoroughbreds' General Downs earned his first career stakes win in $100K Native Dancer
West Point Thoroughbreds' General Downs took the lead from Grade 3 winner Just Call Kenny in mid-stretch and held off late-running Rich Daddy on the far outside to earn his first career stakes win in the $100,000 Native Dancer.
Ridden by Julian Pimentel for trainer Kelly Rubley, General Downs ($10.20) hit the wire in 1:42.92 for his second straight victory. It was the first time in stakes company for the 6-year-old gelding, who joined Rubley's string at the Fair Hill Training Center last spring.
“He's an older horse who's been in the business a while and he loves his turnouts,” Rubley said. “He's turned out every day when weather permits, and it's been a big plus in making him a happy horse.”
Pimentel settled General Downs in fourth along the rail behind the front-running duo of Tour de Force and Saratoga Jack, who alternated leads through fractions of 24.18 and 47.61 seconds. When Just Call Kenny took the lead from Saratoga Jack on the far turn after six furlongs in 1:12.09, Pimentel steered General Downs to the outside for a clear run. They collared Just Call Kenny inside the eighth pole and won by three-quarters of a length.
Rich Daddy got up for second, a neck in front of Just Call Kenny, with 2017 Maryland Million Classic winner Bonus Points a length back in fifth after trailing the field early.
“He's a really nice horse,” Pimentel said. “I had a really good trip. I was able to sit behind the speed and when it was time to go, he did.”
General Downs had one win, four seconds and a third from eight starts in 2018, beaten a nose and a neck in two of his races before breaking through in his final start of the year, Dec. 22 at Laurel. He went 10 months between races before debuting for Rubley last May.
“He had a nice long break before he came into me and it looks like he needed it,” Rubley said. “He's truly never put a step wrong. He's had a couple races that were OK but still pretty nice races.”