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Bashford Manor Preview: Copper Bullet, Ten City Ready to Throw Down

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Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will attempt to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Bashford Manor Presented by GE Appliances for an impressive fifth time when he saddles his eye-catching, 8-length maiden winner Copper Bullet.

A field of six, including Mark Casse’s Mo Diddley and Kenny McPeek’s Ten City, are entered in Friday night’s 116th renewal of the 6-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds, the first of three stakes events on closing night of Churchill Downs’ 38-day Spring Meet.

Copper Bullet is a Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready that Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC, and Willis Horton Racing purchased for $200,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He recorded one of the nation’s top speed figures for juveniles when he won the second race of his career, a 5-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs on May 25, by a widening 8 lengths in :57.76. Of the over 188 juvenile winners in North America to date in 2017, Copper Bullet earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 75. The only others to have earned at least a 75 are Dream It Is (84), He Hate Me (78), Mel’s Gone Wild (78), Gold Label (77), Earth (76), Psychoanalyze (76), and Gorgeous Ginny (75).

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Top Choice

#5 Copper Bullet – He’s a super-fast horse who completely dominated a maiden special weight field last time out at Churchill Downs to win by 8 lengths. After debuting to finish second at Keeneland against a highly-regarded Todd Pletcher colt, it was obvious that this horse was solid. This race could set him up for a big summer at Saratoga if he runs well. All signs coming into the race look positive for him, as he’s bounced out of his romp last time out with a couple of solid local works. It could come down to a match race between he and Ten City, but Copper Bullet gets the slight edge because of Asmussen, who has a history of success with 2-year-olds.

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#6 Ten City – He entered his debut race at Keeneland very hyped and did not disappoint, running away from the field to win by 7 lengths. This horse had to enter a stakes next time out after that great effort, and this is a really good spot for him, as it could set him up for a big summer. I also like that he drew outside of the favorite, Copper Bullet, because this race could turn into a duel between the top two. That favors the outside horse. After debating which of the two colts to put on top, it was hard to ignore the talent of Copper Bullet coupled with Asmussen.

Exotic Plays

#3 Mo Diddley –  Speed figure-wise, his debut maiden special weight win left a little to be desired, but it should be noted that he did have a bit of trouble in that race. After missing the break, he was rushed up while running wide and was narrowly to draw clear to get the win. That kind of trip was not ideal for him, and with a clean break and a less eventful journey here, that speed figure should improve. He’s the value of the race if looking to take a shot against the two solid favorites. Also noteworthy: his trainer, Mark Casse, won this last year with Classic Empire.

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Party Crashers

#2 Hardworkcleanlivin – Definitely the biggest question mark of the field, this colt won very impressively on debut, but that win came at Lone Star Park. The competition gets much tougher for him in this spot, so will his form in Texas translate to success in the Bluegrass State? Expect him to show good early speed from this inside post position. I like that jockey Channing Hill has the mount for this one.

Throw Outs

#1 I’m Corfu – With a race like this, it’s always hard to throw out any horses because they are just starting out their careers. I’m Corfu could end up being a decent horse, but it took four tries for him to break his maiden, and when he did win, it was over a synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs. He looks overmatched in this spot.

#4 Fig Jelly – His lone dirt effort wasn’t good, but he did break his maiden impressively last time out over the synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs. It’s tough to know how that form will transfer here, though, which is why I’m taking a wait-and-see approach with him.

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