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KEYSTONEFORVICTORY MAKES THE GRADE IN STARS AND STRIPES

Arlington Press Release

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 8, 2017) – It was with a strong, sustained bid that Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s homebredKeystoneforvictory ran down Midwest Thoroughbreds’ The Pizza Man in thelate stages of the Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes at Arlington International Racecourse to win the 86th edition for trainer Mike Maker.

Under Julien Leparoux, the 4-year-old colt by Kitten’s Joy trailed a pacesetting Belomor  (Carlos Marquez, Jr.) by almost a dozen lengths up the backstretch of the 1½-miles turf event while the frontrunnerkicked clear in splits of 25.24, 49.80, 1:15.75, and 1:38.93. Florent Geroux, aboard Roger Brueggemann’s 2015 Grade I Arlington Million winner, kept The Pizza Man in position to tackle the tiring leader as they turned for home in 2:05.32, hit the front brieflyin the stretch but had to settle for second, 1½ lengths behind the winner. With a strong finish down the middle of the turf course in the final eighth, Keystoneforvictory stopped the clock in 2:29.89.

“It set up perfect for us,” said Leparoux. “A couple of horses on the lead, and my horse relaxed. We had a perfect race.”

“He’s a pretty easy horse to train,” said Maker after the race. “He’s a win machine.”

“He felt good,” said Geroux, who was riding The Pizza Man back for the first time in seven starts. “Turning for home I thought I was going to get the win, but [Keystoneforvictory] just ran him down the last eighthof a mile. He ran great, I think he’s improved on his last race and I think he’s moving in the right direction. He’s a little bit older now and it might take him a bit longer to get to his top form.”

Olympia Star, Inc.’s Mikhail Yanakov trainee Applicator settled along the rail under Jose Valdivia Jr., tracked between the two favorites while saving ground throughout and rallied for third a head behindThe Pizza Man.

“Couldn’t ask for a better trip,” said Valdivia. “I had a dream trip on the inside and he hesitated a little bit which might’ve been the difference between second and third, but nonetheless very happy with the placing.”

Keystoneforvictory won for the eighth time in 15 career starts while landing his first graded stakes win, bringing his bankroll to $307,590 with the winner’s share of $57,600. He paid $5.80, $2.80 and $2.60. ThePizza Man returned $2.60 and $2.40, while Applicator paid $3.60.

One Go All Go, Belomor, Flashy ChelseyBodhisattvaMongol G, and Feodor completed the order of finish.

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