A victory by Bourbon Courage in his return from nearly six months on the sidelines would likely have made a soggy day at Churchill Downs a bit more perfect
for owner Bourbon Lane Stable, but trainer Kellyn Gorder liked what he saw and his colt remains on track for a bid in the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) on Friday, Nov. 29.
The winner of the 2012 Super Derby (GII) was competing for the first time a fourth-place run behind Take Charge Indy in the Alysheba (GII) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 3.
The 4-year-old son of Lion Heart rallied rom about five lengths off the pace under jockey Corey Lanerie to pull even with the 3-year-old Our Double Play in upper stretch during Thursday’s 7
½-furlong allowance comeback. But his front-running rival dug in on the sloppy track under Francisco Torres and turned Gorder’s possible Halloween treat into a trick, pulling clear to win by 3 ¾ lengths in a winning time of 1:29.25.
would have loved to win, but that was strictly a set-up race for us,”
“I don’t think that’s his best and he probably doesn’t like the slop as
much as he likes a fast track, although he handled it fine.”
Bourbon Courage came out of the race well and the Clark, a race in which
he ran third in 2012 to 2011 Preakness (GI) winner Shackleford,
remains the colt’s major objective. He is winless
in four 2013 races, but ran second and third to Graydar in his earlier
starts in the Donn Handicap (GI) and the New Orleans Handicap (GII).
“I don’t have him totally cranked up yet,” Gorder said. “We’ve got a month to do that.”
CHILUKKI HOPE IRE, RETURNING MAYBE SO MAKE FOR INTERESTING SATURDAY FOR STALL
At a time of year during which many horses are winding down their years or, in some cases, their racing careers, trainer Al
Stall Jr. will be hoping to see signs for good things in the immediate future from a pair of horses entered in Saturday races.
“We have two question marks tomorrow,” Stall said.
One is Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Ire,
a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Political Ambition that will compete
in a strong field of 12 fillies and mares ages three and up
in the 28th running of the $150,000-added Chilukki Stakes at a mile.
The other is the Dilschneider homebred Maybe So,
a 3-year-old gelding who makes his second start following a layoff of
more than a year in Saturday’s ninth race, which immediately precedes
filly has spent most of her career on synthetic surfaces, but ran well
over the dirt course at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds over the winter and
moves to the Churchill Downs dirt on Saturday
in a bid for her first graded stakes success.
Ire comes into the
one-mile Chilukki off a 4 ½-length romp in a seven-furlong allowance
race over Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface on Oct. 5. That outing
was her first race since a troubled third-place
finish behind Good Deed and Beat the Blues in the Mardi Gras Handicap at Fair Grounds on Feb. 12.
Ire’s break from racing was not injury-related. Stall said she simply needed to some
time away from the track for physical development.
“She’d danced a
lot of dances,” Stall said. “Her body wasn’t keeping up with her frame.
So Seth (Claiborne’s Seth Hancock) and I just said, ‘She loves the
Poly(track), let’s give her the summer off and point
her to Keeneland.”
In Stall’s view,
that plan could not have worked out any better and he’s anxious to see
how Ire performs as she steps-up to Grade II competition in the
corny, but she probably benefitted from the layoff as much as any horse
I’ve ever given a breather to,” he said. “She put on every bit of
150-to-200 pounds and has a beautiful hair coat. It
actually made me feel guilty that I was maybe pushing her too hard last
year, but boy did she enjoy her vacation. So we’re excited about
Ricardo Santana Jr. will ride Ire, who brings a career record of 4-3-2 in 12 starts and earnings of $187,892 into the Chilukki.
Maybe So will make
his second start in a return from a more difficult time on the
sidelines in his race, an allowance optional claiming event at six
The gelded son of
More Than Ready had a successful debut at odds of 25-1 in a Churchill
Downs maiden race in June of 2012, and then traveled to West Virginia’s
Mountaineer Park to win the Mountaineer Juvenile
under jockey Mike Smith. Maybe So defeated that year’s Bashford Manor
(GIII) winner, Circle Unbroken, in the West Virginia race.
“He was cut out to
be a really good horse,” Stall said. “He ran awesome here at 4 ½
furlongs and Mike Smith said he was the best 2-year-old he had ridden
that year and he broke the stakes record at Mountaineer.
Mike said he had plenty left in the tank and a lot more to learn.”
Maybe So returned
to Stall’s base at Keeneland after the West Virginia journey and
continued to do well until a fateful morning during which he was spooked
by a passing school bus travelling on nearby Rice
Road as he walked to the Lexington track’s training oval.
“The driver hit an
air brake and that horse went straight up and came straight down on his
tail,” Stall said. “He broke his two coccyx bones, right there by the
root of his tail. He broke them pretty bad,
too. We just felt bad for the horse and we were just crushed.”
The injury resulted in an extended rest for Maybe So, who was closely monitored during his recovery and farm time.
to Longfield (Farm in Prospect, Ky.) and had a big layoff there,” Stall
said. “We just kept watching him and watching him and he started moving
around. He never really walked like something
was wrong with him and we just gave him tons and tons of time. We sent
him down to South Carolina and they gave him more time. When we brought
him back, we started jogging him and giving him slow, easy gallops, and
then we started breezing him and he just started
gradually coming back.”
return to competition by Maybe So following of his yearlong break was
solid. He flashed sharp early speed in a six-furlong allowance race at
Indiana Downs, but faded to third – beaten 5 ½ lengths
by Moments Notiz, who completed six furlongs over a good track in a swift 1:08.50. Runner-up Jake Mo, who finished a neck behind the winner that day, also is entered in Saturday’s race.“That was
a pretty good race and those horses just kept going,” Stall said. “He
just hung in there, and he has trained really well. We’ll just see if
his class is still there.”
Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Maybe So, who will break from post eight in a field of 10 3-year-olds and up on Saturday.“He’s
actually come back fine, but you never know what that has taken away
from him,” Stall said. “That’s a shame, because I know he’s a nice
horse. Whether he’s still going to be a nice horse,
I don’t know. He’s got a racehorse attitude as much as any horse you’re
around. It’s a little bit more than frustrating.”
BAUER MISSES ANOTHER VICTORY, BUT THIS TIME FOR A SPECIAL DELIVERY
Phil Bauer has two winners to his credit since he opened his public racing stable in July, but he has not been part of the winner’s circle
photo for either.
The 28-year-old former assistant trainer to Kenny McPeek scored his first win on Sept. 21 at Churchill Downs with Rigney Racing’s Cookie, but Bauer missed that celebration because he was at
West Virginia’s Charles Town to saddle another horse.
He was absent from the winner’s circle again on Thursday when Richard and Tammy Rigney’s Our Double Play upset favored Bourbon Courage in Thursday’s featured ninth race to scored notch a second
career win for the young trainer.
But Bauer had a
pretty good excuse for being away from Churchill Downs on Thursday
afternoon. He was at Norton Hospital in downtown Louisville, where is
his wife Ashley, was giving birth to their first child,
a boy named Philip Wyatt Bauer.
Mother and son are
doing fine today. And Dad did get to watch Our Double Play skip through
the slop for an impressive victory on the television screen in their
private room at the hospital.
Bauer said. “It’s been quite an eventful year for us. We’re extremely
blessed and lucky that the owners, the Rigneys, understand the
importance of family. There was no issue with that.”
The son of Grand Slam finished ninth in that race behind Take It Like A Man.
The win was the
fourth in nine 2013 races for Our Double Play, who won for the second
time this year at Churchill Downs and also won the $60,000 Prairie Mile
at Prairie Meadows in early June prior to coming
under Bauer’s care. Ironically, Bauer was at Charles Town to saddle Our
Double Play in the seven-furlong, $400,000 Researcher when he missed his
first official win at Churchill Downs.
think you have to put a line through that last start,” Bauer said.
“There was a
lot thrown at him at the bullring, and maybe he didn’t like that mud in
his face. We’ll move forward from here. I’m not sure where we’ll go
next, but if he keeps running like that we’ll win our fair share.”
opportunity for a win and that elusive debut as the trainer in a victory
photo comes on Sunday at Churchill Downs when Cookie, the
3-year-old daughter of Quest who was his first official
winner in the Sept. 21 race for $30,000 claimers, steps up to allowance
company against fillies and mares ages three and up in the seven-furlong
“She’s earned the
right to try the allowance ranks,” Bauer said. “She’s doing well enough,
she deserves a shot and hopefully she’ll continue to improve.”
And, if she wins, perhaps Phil Bauer and his newborn son, who will be called Wyatt, will both make it to the winner’s circle for that victory photo.