Progressing Pirate’s Punch, Girvin's brother, looks ‘top class’

January 19, 2020 09:55am
Progressing Pirate’s Punch, Girvin's brother, looks ‘top class’
Photo: Hodges Photography
Pirate’s Punch is throwing himself into handicap division following an eye-catching victory to kick off his 4-year-old campaign.
An 11 ½-length winner Thursday in allowance company at Fair Grounds, the half-brother of Grade 1 winner Girvin continues to progress for trainer Grant Forster. While the conditioner wasn’t expecting such a wide margin of victory, Forster knew the gelding was on the improve, and he backed it up with a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure. “Our goal for him was to have him turn into a top-class 4-year-old this year,” Forster said. “He kind of hinted at it in the latter part of last year. Your hope is that when they turn from 3 to 4 they take that next jump. “We freshened him up and he had been training brilliantly. I was expecting a big race from him. We were ecstatic with the way he ran.” Now Forster’s making next race plans, saying “all options are on the table,” but that Fair Grounds’ Feb. 15 Mineshaft Stakes (G3) looks most logical. It won’t require a ship, but could mean matching up with Saturday’s dominant Louisiana Stakes (G3) hero, Silver Dust. Girvin, who won the local Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2), raced just once as an older horse, so there’s no way to know how he might have progressed. But the dam, Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon, continues to produce top horses. “It’s a very classy family,” Forster said. “Cocked and Loaded is another sibling who was also a graded stakes winner. (Pirate’s Punch) has got every right to turn into a top-class horse.” A three-time winner in 11 career starts, Pirate’s Punch was purchased by Gulliver Racing for $90,000 at the Keeneland September 2017 yearling sale. He currently runs for owners Gulliver Racing, Craig Drager and Dan Legan. Forster took over Pirate’s Punch’s training after he failed to break his maiden and dropped to maiden claiming company for former trainer Jeff Mullins. Since the barn switch, he hasn’t missed the board in five starts, winning twice with a placing in Louisiana Downs’ Super Derby (G3). “He’s an absolute lovely horse to be around. He’s just a really cool dude,” Forster said. “There could not be a nicer guy to work with. He’s the ultimate student.”


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