He has a distinctive white facial marking, and now the cleverly-named Phantom Boss is the first U.S. graded stakes winner of his generation following a hard-fought score in Saturday’s $125,000 Bashford Manor (G3) on closing day of the Churchill Downs Spring meet.
The 3-2 favorite against seven rivals, the California invader was taken back slightly from post 1 by jockey Rafael Bejarano and stalked the pace as Verb and Rowdy Yates dueled through splits of :21.84 and :45.51.
Bumped twice before entering the stretch, Phantom Boss made a wide bid through the stretch to catch the tiring speed and edged Rowdy Yates by three parts of a length in a time of 1:10.78 for six furlongs over a fast track. Verb was two lengths behind in third.
“The one thing that has been so special about this horse is not only has he been improving in his performances on the track but he’s been improving mentally,” Bejarano said. “Today, breaking on the rail, I knew there would be some speed to my outside. We were able to sit a great trip just behind them and get around them at the top of the lane.”
Owned by Bada Beng Racing, Tom Beckerle, breeder Terry Lovingier, and Amanda Navarro, Phantom Boss paid $5. The son of 2011 Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford is trained by Jorge Periban.
Phantom Boss now has two wins and one second from three starts. He finished a neck second to Fore Left in his May 19 debut at Santa Anita. That rival impressively captured the $150,000 Tremont at Belmont Park in his next start. Phantom Boss rebounded to beat California-bred maidens by 2 1/2 lengths on June 2.
Out of Bossy Belle, by Street Boss, the colt has now earned $131,850.
The heaviest favorite on Saturday’s closing day card was Three Chimneys Farm’s Magic Dance, who was sent off at 3-10 in the $125,000 Debutante for two-year-old fillies. The daughter of More Than Ready obliged with a 1 1/2-length win over the determined California shipper Cholula Lips.
Exiting a 4 3/4-length debut win on June 7 going five furlongs, the Steve Asmussen-trained miss found the extra furlong to her liking, covering three-quarters in 1:10.26, a faster time than the boys. Guided to victory by Ricardo Santana Jr., she paid $2.60 to win. Lady Glamour, a 33-1 shot, finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Cholula Lips in third.
A half-sister to recent Acorn (G1) romper Guarana, Magic Dance was produced by the Distorted Humor mare Magical World. Her second dam was Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Pleasant Home, and she’s from the family of numerous other luminaries, including Hall of Fame filly Sky Beauty.
Making his first start off a $62,500 claim by owner Tom Kagele and trainer Peter Miller, Line Judge convincingly captured the $120,600 Kelly’s Landing by 3 1/4 lengths under meet-leading jockey Corey Lanerie.
The multiple stakes-winning son of Spring At Last paid $26 after completing seven furlongs in 1:21.35.