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Barn Notes: Sunday, December 28

 

IN TODAY'S NOTES: BOURBON COWBOY POSSIBLE FOR LECOMTE; RISE UP AND KISS TO REMEMBER EXIT WINS WELL, TO SHORTEN UP; DELAUNAY COULD RESURFACE IN BONAPAW


BOURBON COWBOY POSSIBLE FOR LECOMTE

            Holmark Stables VI’s Bourbon Cowboy came out of his game runner-up performance in last week’s $50,000 Sugar Bowl in fine shape, according to his conditioner Richie Scherer.  His excellent showing – losing by a half-length to multiple stakes-winning favorite Cinco Charlie after a stretch-long battle – may have opened some doors for the colt whose connections previously believed he could possibly be a turf horse. 

“He’s doing really well,” Scherer said.  “He came out in good shape and right now our plans are up in the air.  It is really surprising how well he handles dirt.  It’s a lot better than I thought he would.”

By multiple Grade II-winning turf and synthetic specialist Cowboy Cal and with a  female family containing prominent names like Nijinsky II and Red Ransom, it is understandable that the colt’s connections would be surprised that Bourbon Cowboy moved forward so much on dirt. 

In the Sugar Bowl the Kentucky-bred earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure – the 10th-highest of any juvenile in 2014 – and a 101 Equibase Speed Figure.  To put such data into perspective, his best Equibase number in his previous five races – all on synthetic – was an 88.

“No doubt, it was his best race,” Scherer said.  “He showed himself as a different kind of horse where he really stalked and responded, but he’s still figuring out what’s going on.  We’re still not sure what we’ll do with him, but we nominated to the (Grade III $200,000) Lecomte (Stakes on Jan. 17) and we are also eligible for the stakes at Ocala.”  Being a $50,000 purchase at Ocala Breeders’ Sale in April of this year, he is eligible to compete in the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 27 over its Safetrack synthetic surface.

So far in his career, Bourbon Cowboy has finished in the exacta in four of six starts and placed in two stakes, while also finishing fourth in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity in September.  The only blemish on his record was an uncharacteristically dull performance when fifth in the Listed $125,000 Display Stakes in November at Woodbine.

RISE UP AND KISS TO REMEMBER EXIT WINS WELL, TO SHORTEN UP

            According to meet-leading conditioner Tom Amoss, both of his stakes winners from Saturday’s card – Paul Van Doren’s Rise Up and Maggi Moss’ Kiss to Remember – are in good shape after their wins in the rained-off $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes and $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes, respectively.

“They both came out of their races well,” Amoss said.  “There’s nothing specifically planned for them right now, but it would be entirely possible that we shorten both of them up.”

            Both Rise Up and Kiss to Remember have shown distance limitations in the past and the one-mile distances of each of their races yesterday may have been at their collective ceiling.  Prior to Saturday, Kiss to Remember had scored all of her wins between the distances of 5½ furlongs and seven furlongs and was 0-for-4 beyond.  In addition to finally winning at a mile, the daughter of Big Brown also cured a bad case of ‘seconditis’ that comprised runner-up finishes in her five previous runs – including four stakes.

Rise Up, on the other hand, has won stakes from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles – including four around two turns.  Such a statistic makes him a prime candidate for stepping him up against handicap horses in Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Louisiana Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 17, but Amoss is very practical about his talented son of Rockport Harbor.

            “I think he’s better going shorter,” Amoss said.  “So, we’ll probably keep him there.”

DELAUNAY COULD RESURFACE IN BONAPAW

            Maggi Moss’ Delaunay put in his second consecutive impressive work since gobbling up the Thanksgiving Handicap field by seven lengths on Nov. 27 when he sped a half-mile on Christmas Eve in :48 flat for trainer Tom Amoss.  Said work followed an equally as impressive :48.20 work at the same distance on Dec. 13 – third-best of 104 moves at the distance. 

The 7-year-old son of Smoke Glacken is coming off an age-defying performance that provided him with the highest Beyer Speed Figure (111) of his career and third-highest Equibase Speed Figure of his career (116) under jockey James Graham.  After said win, his connections remarked that he would most likely partake in other Fair Grounds stakes this season. 

“He’s doing well right now,” Amoss reported.  “We’re probably going to try going short on the grass with him on (January) 3rd (in the $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes).”

            Scheduled at 5½ furlongs on the grass, the Bonapaw represents two interesting aspects for the Maryland-bred bay gelding and his trainer.  First, it gives Delaunay a chance to return to a surface over which he’s performed admirably in the past – including a third-place finish (the last time he took to the turf) in the 2012 $75,000 Mister Diz Stakes to the brilliant Ben’s Cat.  Secondly, it could once again become an example of Amoss playing the part of an incredibly astute weatherman if the race is rained off the turf and onto the gelding’s preferred main course.

            Either way, it is a chance for the Fair Grounds fans to see one of their favorite equine athletes perform once again.  Appropriately, it would take place in a race named after Bonapaw – a Fair Grounds-based stalwart like Delaunay who ran for many seasons, beat the best sprinters in the country when at his best and continued to compete like a warrior through nearly 50 starts and earn over $1 million in the process.