WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing’s Bulletin shot to the front out of the gate and never trailed Thursday, posting a 1 1/2-length victory over Real News to win the inaugural running of Keeneland's $100,000 Palisades Turf Sprint before a Spring Meet opening-day crowd of 11,601.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, Bulletin covered the 5 1/2 furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:02.92 to remain undefeated in three starts. The victory extended Pletcher’s Keeneland record for stakes wins to 54.
Up next: Royal Ascot?
"That’s kind of what we’re looking at," said Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar Farm. "We’ll huddle up with Todd, let him do his job. He did a great job getting (Bulletin) ready for today. The horse was three (lengths) in front at the eighth pole, and I knew he wasn’t going to get beat then.
"He’s a very talented horse. We’d be honored to go to Royal Ascot.”
Bulletin was pressured early by Yes I Am Free as he raced through the first quarter of a mile in 22.10. Second choice Abyssinian took up the chase on the far turn only to have Bulletin kick clear at the head of the lane and cruise home.
A Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate, Bulletin closed his brief 2018 campaign with a similar front-running victory in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.
A Kentucky-bred son of City Zip out of the Woodman mare Sue’s Good News, Bulletin has earned $655,570, including Thursday’s $60,000 check.
“He always breaks very sharp from the gate and we were hoping he would get a good position, which he did," said Ginny DePasquale, assistant to Pletcher. "He was in the perfect spot and we are really pleased with his effort and Javier’s ride. Everything just came together. He has been training exceptionally well in Florida so we would have been disappointed if he didn't win because he has been doing so well.”
Sent off as the favorite in the field of 12, Bulletin rewarded his backers with payoffs of $4, $3 and $2.40. Real News, who rallied for second under Joel Rosario, returned $5.60 and $3.60 with Abyssinian finishing another 2¼ lengths back in third under John Velazquez and paying $2.80 to show.
It was another neck back to Vivid Verse in fourth with Uncapped, Tobacco Road, Yes I Am Free, Vogt, Mick’s Star, Dom Carlos (IRE), Strike Silver and Joyful Heart following in order.