'A long way to go,' but Hopeful winner Basin's back to work

January 17, 2020 10:09am

A commanding winner of Saratoga’s Hopeful Stakes (G1) in his final start at age 2, the Liam’s Map colt Basin returned to the work tab this week to kick off an aspiring 3-year-old campaign.

Basin, who breezed an easy half mile Wednesday at Fair Grounds in 52.40 seconds, has Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) on his agenda in hopes of qualifying for the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

As for the initial breeze under the direction of trainer Steve Asmussen, “He said he was happy with it — obviously just an easy first work back,” said Ryne Poncik, son-in-law of Jackpot Farm head Terry Green. “They had (the track) sealed and it looked like he was getting over it.”

Basin is 2-for-3 thus far, breaking his maiden at Saratoga when he defeated a future stakes horse in Three Technique before he led an Asmussen trifecta in the seven-furlong Hopeful. That day, it was another 6 1/2 lengths back to runner-up Shoplifted, who has since won the Remington Springboard Mile.

Plans of going on to the Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and Breeders' Cup Juvenile were dashed when Basin exited a work off in his right-hind leg. The injury didn't require surgery, but connections took the conservative route, allowing for plenty of time off.

The March 14 Rebel will send Basin around two turns for the first time, though distance is looking less and less like a question mark as other Liam’s Map progeny get their chance to stretch out.

“Johannesburg on the bottom will help us out a little bit,” said Poncik, speaking of Basin’s dam, Appenzell. “He showed no indication of slowing up in the Hopeful. I think he could have gone another half way around Saratoga the way he finished up.”

Connections will have an eye on Saturday’s Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds or next week’s Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park. Lynn’s Map, a 1-mile, 70-yard allowance winner for Liam’s Map will tackle the Derby trail in either event for the Mark Casse barn.

As for Basin, a $150,000 auction purchase, there’s still “a long way to go” until race day.

“I know he won’t be revved up — primed — for the Rebel,” Poncik said. “Hopefully it will get him conditioned for the Arkansas Derby.”

In the meantime, Jackpot Farm, in connection with Dede McGehee, is expected to see Rachel Alexandra’s 3-year-old half-brother make his own two-turn debut. Airstreem ran fourth at first asking on Dec. 28 at Fair Grounds, and “he looked like he could stretch out for sure.”

The Tapit colt is expected back at the races in February at Fair Grounds.


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