Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Bob Mayberger
Pilgrim and Bourbon
Stakes winners will earn a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Turf at the end of the month. Both Grade 3 events drew sizable
fields. Yesterday's deluge forced the Shadwell Turf Mile off of the
turf at Keeneland and more rain is expected today, so if the Bourbon
stays on the lawn, expect a a bog. Belmont may receive scattered
showers, but the turf should remain good to firm.
Stakes attracted a field of eight colts and one gelding. Only
three of the entrants have started more than twice and own stakes
experience and none of them are favored. Shadow Banking (5-2), his
stable mate Bobby's Kitten (3-1) are trained by turf expert Chad
Brown while Due Dilligence (7-2), who won his maiden impressively by
7 ½ lengths for Brown, was given to Todd Pletcher after the victory.
(Harlan's Holiday - Rietondale, by Dynaformer) is a full brother to
Secretariat Stakes (G-1) runner-up Stormy Len. Their unraced dam is a
full sister to Flower Bowl and Beverly D Stakes heroine Dynaforce and
she's a half sister to a slew of other graded stakes winners
including Cetewayo and the dam of Willcox Inn, who was third in
yesterday's Shadwell Turf Mile. Shadow Banking came out running in
his debut, leaving the field behind in a 6 ¼ length triumph. There
should be enough pace in the Pilgrim for Shadow Banking to set up his
wouldn't be a turf race without a Ramsey kitten somewhere in the
(Kitten's Joy - Celestial Woods, by Forestry). won in his second
outing at Saratoga, getting 1 1/16 miles in a sharp 1:41.33. He's a
full brother to the multiple stakes winning veteran Major Magic.
Other relatives include Turf Champ Paradise Creek, Forbidden Apple,
English Champ David Junior and Eden's Moon. Bobby's Kitten may be
up on the pace to keep the speedy Due Diligence honest. If the colt
inherited the class of his distaff line, he'll give them a fight.
Claiborne bred Due
(War Front - Bema, by Pulpit) reeled off a :21 3/5 first quarter in
his debut and kept on going, leaving the field behind by over seven
lengths. The Pletcher trainee's half brother Ocasta was third in
2010 Bourbon. Their dam won the Busher and is a half to the dam of
multiple stakes winning filly Dancinginherdreams. Speed holds on the
Belmont turf, so Due Diligence has every chance of wiring the field
if he can grab the lead from his outside post.
who can challenge the top three? Check out Sheldon
(Purim - Golden Disk, by Diesis (GB)) at 15-1. Yes, he's still a
maiden. But he was a gaining third, beaten only a length by Otoy in
his seven furlong debut, despite going four wide on the turn.
Sheldon's older half sister Gold N Glamore was in the money in a
couple of turf mile stakes. Their second dam Hushi was a very good
stakes winner who dominated the filly sprint scene at Hialeah.
Farther back in the family we find the popular stakes vets M One
Rifle and Rutherienne. Sheldon's bred to go long and should come
running at the end.
attention to Keeneland, I could use a swig of Bourbon to figure this
race out. It's a full field of twelve with an also-eligible. The 5-2
favorite is With Anticipation Stakes winner Bashart.
Pletcher's probably kicking himself, or maybe the staff, for not
reading the weather report and keeping the colt in New York for the
Pilgrim. If the race comes off turf, no worries, Bashart's sire War
Front is a good polysire and the colt should handle the surface. Read
about Bashert's pedigree here.
Kentucky Downs Juvenile hero Boji
(Cactus Ridge - Philadelphia Moon, by Malibu Moon) is undefeated. Not
only undefeated, but he's made a mockery of his opponents, in all
three starts by a combined 28 ¼ lengths. Ok, so he was beating up on
state-breds at Prairie Meadows, but his final times over dirt and
turf are acceptable. Boji Moon's the first blacktype winner in two
generations of his female family, but farther back his family is
loaded with impressive Euro turf veterans such as Champion filly Al
Bahathri and 2000 Guineas Stakes winner Haafhd. At 3-1, the untested
Boji Moon might be too short a price for some people, so let's take a
look at other contenders.
(Dynaformer - Brisquette, by Unbridled's Song) showed his sire's
toughness in his debut. Pinned on the rail for much of the race,
Medal Count bulled his way through a small seam, practically pushing
a rival out of the way. Once he saw daylight the Dale Romans trainee
drew off by 6 ¼ lengths. The colt is a half brother to Churchill
Debutante winner Garden District. This colt is proven on dirt, should
handle turf and also has a good polypedigree.
(Showing Up - Best Regards, by Street Cry (IRE)) looks like a logical
longshot. He's shown improvement in all three starts and hailing from
Florida, he'll be used to the rain. He's raced over mud and good
turf. He'll be adding some distance, but is bred to go long. His
young sire has the Jamaica and the Secretariat Stakes on his resume.
Showing Up hasn't had many runners over polytrack, but his daughter
Alovelybunch was second in the My Dear Girl at Woodbine. That doesn't
mean that Bon Accord will handle the poly, but at 12-1 and decent
speed figures, he's worth a play.
the Bourbon does off of the turf, which is a very strong possibility,
take a closer look at Whyruawesome
(Whywhywhy - Awesome Frances, by Awesome Again). He was no threat to
Arlington -Washington Futurity winner Solitary Ranger, but was the
best of the rest and finished over six lengths in front of the third
pretty gray Poker
(Harlan's Holiday - Revel in the Win, by Red Bullet) is by the hot
sire Harlan's Holiday and is coming in off of a mile turf victory in
which he recorded the third highest late pace speed figure in the
Bourbon field. His dam's half sisters bore Gray Stakes winner
Globetrotter and the multiple turf stakes veteran Unbridled Humor.
The improving Poker Player breezed a sharp four furlongs in :47 three
back at Arlington. I'd say he can handle the poly.
there's my take on the Pilgrim and Bourbon Stakes. Who do you like?