Plenty of horses can claim to be the son or daughter of a champion, but to call both parents champions … Now that is saying something. Bold Warrior's sire is Bernardini, Outstanding three-year-old male of 2006 and top young stallion. His dam is Hollywood Wildcat, Champion sophomore filly of 1993, and producer of the champion, War Chant. Clearly, Bold Warrior is one young horse who has no insecurities over class in the family tree. He also need not worry about how his racing career will be handled.
Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens is a legendary figure in the sport, so when he speaks highly of an untested colt, you tend to listen. That is exactly the case with Bold Warrior. Owned and bred by Irving Cowan, Jerkens has thought highly of his regally bred charge for some time, and that belief was somewhat realized when Bold Warrior impressively broke his maiden by three lengths on May 21, at Belmont Park in his second start.
“You always have hope when you have one bred like this,” said Jerkens moments after the homebred son of champions Bernardini and Hollywood Wildcat had earned is diploma.
Bold Warrior began his career less than six weeks ago when he finished second by three-quarters of a length in his April 30 debut at Belmont. In that seven-furlong race, the colt commenced rally on the far turn, led in upper stretch, and relinquished the lead late to Global Power, who had finished second at Gulfstream Park on April 3 in his lone previous effort.
“He ran very well last time,” said Jerkens. “I think it was a good horse who beat him.”
Sent off as a big favorite at 2-5 to break his maiden in his second start, Bold Warrior showed improved early speed, dueling with August Osage through fractions of 22.71 and 45.79, taking command at the top of the lane, and drawing clear under a vigorous hand ride by Jose Lezcano. The final time for six furlongs was a sharp 1:09.25.
A throwback to a style of training nearly lost in American racing, Jerkens is willing to give the talented colt racing experience in sprint races, despite the fact he believes Bold Warrior’s future lies in route races. After two sharp races in maiden company, his trainer has picked a most difficult for spot for the colt's third race. His first big test will come on Saturday on the 2011 Belmont Stakes undercard where he will face a salty group of some of the better sophomore sprinters on the East Coast in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes. The salty field includes the highly regarded trio of Travelin Man, Arch Traveler, and J J's Lucky Train. Throw in Little Drama and Justin Phillip, and the subject of this article is listed as the 8-1, sixth choice on the morning line.
The tough field notwithstanding, I rate Bold Warrior as the horse to beat in the Woody Stephens. While the aforementioned favorites of the race have all proven to be fine sprinters, none are world beaters. If Bold Warrior is as good as I believe he will turn out to be, he should be able to win this on his way to even bigger and better things. His breeding is superb, he has the belief of his legendary trainer, and I see all the potential in the world in his first two starts. Saturday's Woody Stephens should just be the beginning to what I expect will be an impressive career for the budding star, Bold Warrior.