March 27, 2023

Bourbon overflows as 15 seek Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf spot at Keeneland

Captivating Moon is a half-brother to Vacare, winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup here in 2006 (Photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography)

An overflow field of 15 entered Sunday’s $250,000 Bourbon (G3) at Keeneland, a 1 1/16-mile “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). The main body of the field comprises 14 two-year-olds, eight owning some stakes experience.

Admiralty Pier ships in from Woodbine, where the Barbara Minshall pupil was a close third to well-regarded Untamed Domain in the Summer (G2), another “Win & You’re In.” Previously a front-running romper in his debut, the English Channel gelding must navigate from post 13 with new rider Luis Saez.

Wesley Ward’s Arawak is the most widely traveled, and post 14 suggests he’ll cover more ground around Keeneland too. Twelfth in the Coventry (G2) at Royal Ascot after crushing an off-the-turf maiden in the Belmont mud, Coolmore’s son of Uncle Mo was fifth on a fast main track in the Best Pal (G2) at Del Mar. Arawak was happier on the grass last time at Kentucky Downs, finishing third to Snapper Sinclair and John Tippman in the Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile. Ricardo Santana Jr. picks up the mount. John Tippman, from the Ken McPeek barn, had broken his maiden on the Ellis Park dirt.

Trainer Mark Casse, aiming for his third straight Bourbon, sends out graded stakes alumni Flameaway and Machtree. Flameaway, a $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga purchase by John C. Oxley, exits a fifth in the Iroquois (G3) over the Churchill Downs dirt. The well-bred Scat Daddy colt is entitled to thrive on the switch to turf. Successful in his unveiling on Woodbine’s Tapeta, Flameaway was set for a turf debut in the Skidmore at Saratoga, only to have the race transferred to the main track. The mud was no obstacle to Flameaway, who rolled from just off the pace. Machtree, a first-out winner at the Spa, failed to follow up when 10th in the With Anticipation (G3). A $450,000 Keeneland September yearling, the Kitten’s Joy colt may show more this time around for co-owners Stonestreet Stables and Aquis Farm. The stablemates are drawn next to each other, with Machtree breaking from post 11 for Corey Lanerie and Flameaway in post 12 beneath a returning Julien Leparoux.

Lothenbach Stables’ homebred Captivating Moon, a good-looking debut winner on the Arlington Park turf, came back to rally for a strong second in the Arlington-Washington Futurity on the Polytrack. The Malibu Moon half-brother to noted turf performers Vacare, Abtaal, Single Solution, and Nobody’s Fault is likely better on the lawn, and the Chris Block trainee is well qualified to become their dam Appealing Storm’s fifth stakes winner. Jose Valdivia Jr. is back aboard the smart prospect drawn in post 9.

The top two from the Sunday Silence at Louisiana Downs, Budro Talking and High Providence, renew rivalry in this deeper contest. Budro Talking scored first up on the Evangeline dirt, so the Tale of Ekati colt is two-for-two for Danny Pish. The Jason Meaux-trained High Providence, from the first crop of 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf hero Wrote, had taken his debut on the Lone Star lawn.

Of the stakes neophytes, Tap Daddy has plenty of appeal. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds, the homebred son of Scat Daddy bolted up in his first turf try at Kentucky Downs. He was considered good enough to attempt a Saratoga dirt maiden, where he was sixth in the key race that produced the Hopeful (G1) victor and third-placer, Sporting Chance and Givemeaminit, as well as a couple eventual winners. Better drawn than his most notable foes in post 3, Tap Daddy reunites with Florent Geroux.

Tigers Rule likewise comes off a Kentucky Downs maiden win second time out for Vicki Foley, and the Kitten’s Joy grandson of Duda has pedigree power too. Rounding out the contenders with Kentucky Downs diplomas are King Valero and Fred’stwirlincandy, while Wicked Trick was third in that latter maiden. Trenton Traveler, the promoted winner of a $40,000 maiden claimer at Churchill, was all-out to prevail in an allowance at Belterra and must take a big leap forward in this turf bow. The also-eligible, Shared Value, improved from a fourth at Indiana Grand to a half-length second to Mr. Recio over the Matt Winn turf at Churchill.