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LEXINGTON, KY – Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Tiz the Bomb brings strong backclass that includes an impressive stakes score into Sunday’s $200,000 Castle & Key Bourbon Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.
The Bourbon is a 1 1/16-mile turf route restricted to 2-year-olds that serves as the grand finale on a 10-race card with a local post time of 5:46 PM. The race is also a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, awarding an automatic berth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar this November.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Bourbon:
1. Brit’s Wit 30/1 – He hesitated at the start and spotted the field 17 lengths but managed to rally strongly in the stretch to win his debut in a 7 1/2-furlong turf route at Indiana Grand. Trainer Andrew McKeever is 0 for 10 when attempting a repeat victory, but his dam won her lone start on turf and foaled five other turf winners, and sire English Channel is a solid but stone-cold turf route producer.
2. Stolen Base 10/1 – His connections supplemented him into the field after he finished second as the favorite in a 1-mile Kentucky Downs optional claiming event, his turf debut, behind a rival who returns here. He won his career debut going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Saratoga dirt but was beaten 16 1/2 lengths in the 6 1/2-furlong Saratoga Special Stakes (G2). His dam and one sibling won on grass.
3. Dowagiac Chief 20/1 – The first of two from trainer Tom Amoss wired maidens going 6 1/2 furlongs at Kentucky Downs in his fourth start last time out. However, the 60 Beyer Speed Figure that he earned was lower than the 66 he received for finishing fourth in a 1 1/16-mile Saratoga turf route in his second start. Jockey James Graham, aboard in his sixth-place debut effort on dirt, returns.
4. Martini’nmoonshine 10/1 – Amoss’ second runner also exits a gate-to-wire maiden-breaking effort on turf, an accomplishment he achieved in his third start while covering 1 1/16 miles on Saratoga’s inner turf. He earned a 73 Beyer that ranks among the best in this field and jockey Tyler Gaffalione rides for the third straight start while winning at a 20% overall clip for Amoss since 2020.
5. Rocket One 8/1 – He rallied from as many as 12 lengths back to defeat Kentucky Downs maidens going 1 mile last time out, improving greatly upon his third-place finish the start prior in a 1 1/16-mile Ellis Park turf route. Julien Leparoux rides for the third straight start and trainer Bill Mott wins 24% with last-out victors, and his dam finished first or second in 6 starts on synthetic.
6. Credibility 20/1 – He broke his maiden on debut in a Gulfstream Park turf mile route, then stayed in the field for the off-turf Armed Forces Stakes but finished a well-beaten fourth. The first of two from trainer Mark Casse should improve returning to turf, but he’ll need to greatly improve upon the 52 Beyer from his debut. His dam was 0 for 5 on turf, but sire Nyquist produces 15% turf winners.
7. Fast N Steady 30/1 – He broke his maiden at third asking last time out, splitting rivals in the stretch to capture a Gulfstream Park 7 1/2-furlong turf route by a 1/2-length 1 start after finishing fifth as a maiden in the Proud Man Stakes. His dam’s lone win was a turf route and sire Fast Anna won his only turf try, an ungraded sprint stakes, though he produces just 9% turf winners overall.
8. Waita Minute Hayes 30/1 – He was a well-beaten fifth on debut in a 5-furlong turf sprint at Evangeline Downs, then wired off-turf runners in the slop while going a mile next time out. This level of competition is much stronger than what he faced in the past, but he’s bred to route, sire Tiznow produces 11% turf winners, his dam was 1 for 5 on turf, and his older sibling won his lone grass start.
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9. On Thin Ice 15/1 – Casse’s second runner broke his maiden on debut by 5 1/2 lengths in a gate-to-wire romp routing 7 1/2 furlongs on the Gulfstream Park turf. The runner-up returned to win the Proud Man and the Armed Forces, but this runner’s second start didn’t go nearly as well, finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile Stakes. His 2 starts earned 58 and 59 Beyers.
10. Red Danger 7/2 – He’s undefeated on turf heading into his two-turn debut, having defeated maidens in a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint at Saratoga in August before gutting out a 3/4-length score in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint Stakes. The $17k bargain purchase keeps Luis Saez aboard for the fourth straight start; expect Saez to navigate a close stalking trip before pouncing off the far turn.
11. Heaven Street 8/1 – After failing to hit the board in a pair of Churchill Downs dirt sprints to start his career, he won 2 of 3 starts on grass including a 1-mile optional claiming event last out at Kentucky Downs. His lone defeat came when setting the pace and fading to third in the 6 1/2-furlong Soaring Free Stakes at Woodbine 2 starts back, but a repeat of his latest effort makes him tough here.
12. Tiz the Bomb 3/1 – The betting favorite exits a 3/4-length victory in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile while making his turf debut after spending 2 months away from the races. Trainer Kenny McPeek wins at a 20% clip with runners making second starts after similar layoffs and this colt fired a bullet 4-furlong work over this turf course that proved co-best of 12 that day with Dowagic Chief.
13. Lucky Boss 8/1 – McPeek’s second runner makes his turf debut after 3 making 3 starts on dirt, including a maiden-breaking Ellis Park mile-long route against off-turf rivals 2 starts back. He cut back to a one-turn, 7-furlong configuration at that track last time out and finished second by a 1/2-length in the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes; the runner-up next finished ninth in the Iroquois Stakes (G3).
14. Play Action Pass 10/1 – He broke his maiden at second asking in a 1 1/16-mile Ellis Park turf route, then pressed the pace before yielding late and finishing third in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile. He earned a career-high 73 Beyer that day and Edgard Zayas retains the mount for the second start. His dam foaled five other turf winners, including a Grade 2 champ, but this post does no favors.
15. Vivar (Also Eligible) 8/1 – He broke his maiden by 1 3/4 lengths at second asking in a 1-mile event over a yielding Kentucky Downs turf last time out but only earned a 60 Beyer. He was fourth behind a pair of these rivals in his debut, a 1 1/16-mile Ellis Park turf route, but if he draws into the field, trainer Brad Cox repeats with last-out winners at a 30% clip.
16. Red Run (Also Eligible) 10/1 – Heaven Street’s stablemate with Steve Asmussen is also the first call ride for Ricardo Santana Jr., the barn’s top jockey – if he draws into the field. He broke his maiden on debut going 5 furlongs in the Churchill Downs slop, then finished off the board in the 6-furlong Bashford Manor Stakes (G3), the 6 1/2-furlong Saratoga Special, and the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile.
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