LEXINGTON, KY – Winless since this time a year ago, Ironhorse Racing Stable’s Bucchero successfully repeated in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Woodford Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select at Keeneland.
Breaking well from post 2 as the 3/1 favorite under Fernando De La Cruz, the defending champ settled well along the inside a handful of lengths behind early leader Rocket Heat, who posted opening fractions of :21.80 and :44.77. Tipping off the rail midway through the far turn, Bucchero hit the top of the stretch running three-wide and strode forward to challenge the pacesetter. Taking command inside the final 1/16, Bucchero continued to run on strongly and held off a late rally from Will Call to win by a 1/2-length at the wire. The final time for the Tim Glyshaw trainee’s triumph was 1:04.04 for the 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the good turf course.
“Things worked out good,” De La Cruz said. “I just put him behind the speed, let him get comfortable in the stretch, and just pick it up last 1/16 to get to the wire. I was thinking (more horses would show early speed), but he was in a great position and it worked out good for me.”
The race for third was tight, with Extravagant Kid running best of all along the rail to beat out Angaston and Win Lion Win by a neck each. Rocket Heat yielded in the stretch and crossed in sixth ahead of Undrafted, with Vici and Kid Perfect close behind. Done Deal and Machismo completed the order of finish. Holding Gold was scratched.
Bucchero’s win was his first in six starts this year, all against stakes company, and improved his overall record to 30-11-6-3. The 6-year-old son of Kantharos improved his lifetime bankroll to $937,936 and seems ready to take on the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for the second straight year after finishing fourth by only a length in last year’s edition.
“He’s just an iron horse,” Glyshaw said. “He’s very special to us. To have an Indiana-bred come in here for the second year in a row and win on the national stage, that’s something we are very proud of. He just became the all-time money-earning (leader) in Indiana history – something that’s important to me as well. I just can’t thank Ironhorse for allowing me the opportunity to train him.”
Bucchero returned $8.40 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.20 to show. Will Call brought back $6.20 to place and $3.80 to show, while Extravagant Kid paid $4 to show.