The Bourbon Trail ($300.000 Purse)
CD- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and Three Sixteenths on the Dirt
September 23, 2023
The Bourbon Trail is a race for three-year-olds that want to go long, sending them almost a mile and a quarter around the main track here at CD. It’s a newer event on the schedule, having first appeared in 2021 when it ran for a $275.000 purse, making it a lot like the Harrods Creek in that respect. Also like that race, this will be the first time that it runs for $300.000, so there is more than enough incentive to encourage trainers to enter here. The 2022 race was won by The Hook, doing so for Arindel, but the gelding was unable to build on that even further despite quality opportunities to do so. He was claimed recently by Fractious and has not appeared yet for that trainer. We will have seven taking part in this year’s race, so let’s get to know them a little more!
#1- Poolside Brave (Nakamura Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- Spent his last two races up north, taking part in the $150.000 Plate Trial Stakes at WO and winning it. But that did not earn him any points for the Kings Plate itself, though he still finished respectably in that prestigious event. This is not the Kings Plate, so maybe the same type of effort will be enough to get the win here, but I just do not have enough confidence in him to pick him. If he was a little stronger heading into the Plate Trial, I could be, but Poolside Brave has not won enough, just twice in nine starts to get me to pick him, though I do think he gets a piece of the purse.
#2- Hurricane Fly (Fractious, ridden by A Ayuso)- After finishing third in the Champagne last year, there was hope that he could be get into the KYD. He took part in several prep races, and he wasn’t necessarily poor in them, he just wasn’t as good as he needed to be to take that next step. After winning the Winn (Grade 3) in June, he got his chance to take on a TC-worthy field in the Haskell, and that was a nightmare for him. Maybe moving to the turf would help? Well, maybe not, as the Sword Dancer was also a poor race for him, albeit on soft going. That’s a tough pair of races to coming here off of, and I do think he is much better horse than that.
#3- Face The Lunatic (Martyparty, ridden by A Cedillo)- Struggled on debut, but would then win three of his next four races, with two of them being ungraded stakes, with the bigger one being the $110.000 Ocala Sophomore. In between that, he was a disappointment in the Holy Bull, but he would still get his chance to run in another prep and was only a little better in the BG Stakes. Improved in the Barrera, setting off a string of four races where he has finished in the money in each of them. Wish he was a little more competitive in the optional claimer he was in last month, where Spirited Stride beat him by essentially two lengths while carrying five more pounds.
#4- Magical Sunset (Riggins Racing, ridden by J Loveberry)- For his return, Riggins Racing has made a lot of good pickups in multiple ways. Magical Sunset, for now, is an example that there will be duds along the way when taking that approach. He was picked up for $550.000 in private sales and so far, has not done much of anything in eight starts other than eat up nomination fees that only increase the expense that he has been. Earlier this month, he was third of five in the $50.000 GV Breeders Stakes for NY-Breds, the lowest spot Riggins had ever entered him, and still didn’t impress. Works are great, but at some point, that needs to show on the track. Until then, he’s a morning glory.
#5- At The Gates (Mb Stables, ridden by F Prat)- Ran in several prep races for the KYD, and he did show potential when he placed second in the SA Derby. Unfortunately for him, that did not happen enough in the other preps, and when you are in this barn, you need to show more. He still went to the Peter Pan and looked to be a good option for that race and did wind up with a solid third place effort there. Most recently, we saw him in the Travers, though you may not have remembered seeing him because he was a complete non-factor in the race. Did he just not like the slop? That’s a possible factor, considering he ran just as poorly in the Winn. Weather should be good here, and At The Gates should be as well.
#6- Sunrise Bay (Royalty Stables, ridden by J L Ortiz)- Picked up in April for $22.500 in a maiden claimer, a race that he ended up winning by four lengths. Right away, Royalty Stables knew that he had a good one, and he’s picked up one win in three races since then. That was a nice score at SAR in a N1X allowance, a race that sent him to the WV Derby. He was a 90/1 longshot that day, and despite running near the lead early, he fizzled in the stretch. Therefore, this becomes a pretty pivotal race for him, as it can go a long way in determining if he can get it done at this level. I see the potential, but want to see how he handles this field, first.
#7- State Of Fury (Alydar Stables, ridden by D Van Dyke)- This horse could be the poster child for inconsistency. Second in the RP Springboard Mile and second in the PRK are the highlights, but when he’s bad, he doesn’t just miss by a little bit. In that same stretch where he won those races, he has four finishes of tenth or worse, and that includes the BEL, where he was dead last and beaten by twelve lengths. That’s the last time we’ve seen him out there, and I hope the three-month layoff allowed the trainer to figure out how to make State Of Fury be more consistent. This could be a good horse, if so.