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Barbadian jockey takes $100 000 win

August 10, 2021

Barbadian jockey Rocco Bowen continued to make his mark in the United States.

He paired with 5-1 choice Betwithbothhands to win the US$100 000 KY Downs TVG Preview Mint Million Stakes, at Ellis Park in Kentucky on Sunday.

Going a mile in one of four added-money races on the nine race card at the southern US racing oval, Bowen and the Armando Hernandez-trained five-year-old bay gelding duelled all the way with 9-5 bet Tut’s Revenge, before getting to the wire by half-length in a new track record of one minute, 32.05 seconds.

Tut’s Revenge finished second while favourite Necker Island was half-length back in third.

“He (Armando) told me get in comfortable in the race. Everything went good,” Bowen said afterwards.

“I was able to lay off the horse a little bit and make more run. I was a little worried about the seven horse, Necker Island. That horse made a really huge run at me when we were running at Oaklawn Park and I thought I’d need to save enough in the tank for this horse later.

“But I guess Armando had him really right today and I didn’t have to worry about anybody flying late.”

Bowen broke Betwithbothhands sharply to dictate the pace alongside Tut’s Revenge, the pair producing crisp fractions of 23.51 seconds for the quarter and 45.95 for the half, to open up a six-length lead up the backstretch.

Coming off the long final turn, Necker Island and Lamartine made a run at the leaders but Tut’s Revenge entered the stretch with a short lead along the rails.

However, Bowen rallied Betwithbothhands on the outside and the gelding responded gamely to get by and reach the wire strongly.

“Rocco has been doing a tremendous job for us back at Arlington,” Hernandez said.

“We’ve won the last four with him. We had this race in mind. Thankfully it all came into place and it all worked out for Betwithbothhands.”

Bowen has been based at Arlington Racecourse in Chicago for the summer meet, where he lies third on 31 wins, but arrived in western Kentucky at the weekend to ride two races for trainer Anna Meah on Saturday’s card.

He said Hernandez persuaded him to stay the extra day.

“He begged me to stay one more day to ride and he twisted my arm enough that I stayed and I’m happy I stayed,” said the 31-year-old.

“But I want to give all the credit to Armando and his brother. They are hard-working guys that are trying to get their name out there. I can take very little credit.”

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