Bon Raison to make Laurel's De Francis Dash start No. 16 in 2019

Laurel Park Publicity
September 14, 2019 02:53pm
Bon Raison to make Laurel's De Francis Dash start No. 16 in 2019
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Peter Tournas’ claimer-turned-multiple stakes winner Bon Raison returned to the work tab Saturday morning in New York ahead of an anticipated start in the $250,000 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) Sept. 21 at Laurel Park.

The 28th running of the six-furlong De Francis for 3-year-olds and up highlights eight stakes worth $1.3 million in purses that comprise Round 1 of Laurel’s September to Remember Stakes Festival.

Bon Raison would be making his 31st career start in the De Francis, won during its illustrious history by such stars as Hall of Famer Housebuster and fellow sprint champions Cherokee Run, Smoke Glacken, Thor’s Echo and Benny the Bull.

His work Saturday at Belmont Park comes 12 days following a runner-up finish in the six-furlong Bensalem Stakes at Parx, the 15th race of Bon Raison’s 2019 campaign. He was fifth in a pair of graded-stakes this summer, the Forego (G1) Aug. 24 at Saratoga and John A. Nerud (G2) July 6 at Belmont.

“We breezed him an easy five-eighths in 1:03,” Tournas said. “He came out pretty well, so we’re thinking about it. If everything goes perfect, he’s going to go in. He’s looking great, so we’re thinking it’s a go.

“He loves to run, and if we can get the right races for him we’d love to run him,” he added. “This seems like it’s a good fit for him. I’d love to see how he does down that Laurel stretch. I think this is a good place for him to run.”

Bon Raison, a 4-year-old son of Raison d’Etat originally bred and owned by Calumet Farm, made a powerful run on the far outside in the Bensalem before winding up a half-length short of Grade 3 winner Engage.

“That’s why we’re thinking about Laurel. You guys have a nice, beautiful stretch over there,” Tournas said. “We’re thinking with a little bit of a longer stretch, we can compete with pretty much anyone. So, we’re coming down to Laurel to see what we can do against those guys.”

Claimed for $16,000 last summer at Saratoga, Bon Raison has won a pair of stakes this year – the 6 ½-furlong Peeping Tom March 30 at Aqueduct and Saratoga’s six-furlong Tale of the Cat Aug. 9. Winless in five previous graded-stakes attempts, he has hit the board 18 times in with earnings approaching $500,000.

“He definitely tries hard,” Tournas said. “For the most part, with the right ride, he’ll give you 100 percent all the time.”

Sagamore Farm’s He Hate Me, second to Bon Raison in the Tale of the Cat, is also among 34 nominees to the De Francis. A stakes winner at 2 that was fourth in the 2018 Miracle Wood for 3-year-olds at Laurel, the gelded son of Algorithms worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 Saturday at Churchill Downs for trainer Stanley Hough, ranking 10th of 25 horses. 

Curragh Stables’ De Francis nominee Killybegs Captain breezed a half-mile in 48.56 seconds Saturday over Belmont’s main track, his first work since running third behind win machine Mitole in the seven-furlong Forego. Trained by John Terranova, 5-year-old Killybegs Captain ran fourth in the Tale of the Cat.
Among horses pointing to the De Francis are 2019 Maryland Handicap (G3) winner New York Central, 2018 Swale (G3) winner Strike Power, and multiple graded-stakes placed Petrov, nearing $600,000 in purse earnings. Grade 1 winners Firenze Fire and Whitmore are also nominated.

Joining the De Francis on the Sept. 21 program are the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) for 3-year-olds and up on the grass; $150,000 Bald Eagle Derby presented by B&B Commercial Interiors for 3-year-olds going 1 ½ miles on turf; $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Laurel Futurity and $200,000 Selima presented by Nila Bags for juveniles; $100,000 Warrior’s Reward Weather Vane for 3-year-old filly sprinters; $100,000 Laurel Dash presented by Fidelity First and Blackwell Real Estate and $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash.

Both the Selima for 2-year-old fillies, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the turf, and Sensible Lady Turf Dash, a 5 ½-furlong sprint for females 3 and older, are likely to be run in divisions, according to Maryland Jockey Club Racing Secretary Chris Merz.

“We have gotten a lot of interest in those two races,” he said. “There is a decent possibility the Selima and the Sensible Lady could be split.”

Round 2 of the September to Remember Stakes Festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 28 with six stakes worth $600,000 in purses led by the $150,000 All Along for fillies and mares 3 and up at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.


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