LEXINGTON, KY – Showing no signs of rust from his five-month layoff, trainer Todd Pletcher’s Bulletin broke beautifully and never relinquished his early lead before taking Thursday’s inaugural running of the Palisades Turf Sprint Stakes at Keeneland Race Track.
Shooting sharply out of gate 12 as the even-money favorite under Javier Castellano, Bulletin raced two-wide early due to the rail-breaking Yes I Am Free‘s initial presence to his inside. Dispatching of that foe as he entered the far turn after an opening 1/4-mile in :22.10, Castellano gave Bulletin a shake of the reins at the top of the stretch and he began driving away. Well in hand late, Bulletin crossed with a 1 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:02.92 for the 5 1 /2-furlong sprint over the firm turf course.
“This horse did it the right way,” Castellano said. “He was pretty sharp out of the gate. He’s a special horse. You don’t see too many horses like that. He’s got so much talent. I just enjoyed the ride. The way he did it in the first part of the race – :22, :45 – I felt like he did it the right way. When I asked him, he responded so well. You have to encourage him a little bit because he’s the kind of horse who looks around a little bit. But this time he put it together.”
After making a four-wide run from mid-pack in the far turn, Real News closed strongly to take second, well-clear of the photo finish for third. Abyssinian necked out Vivid Verse for the show honors, with Uncapped just a nose behind them in fifth. Tobacco Road headed a weakening Yes I Am Free for sixth, while Vogt did the same to Mick’s Star for eighth. Completing the order of finish came Dom Carlos, Strike Silver (who won the Indian Summer Stakes over the lawn here last October), and Joyful Heart.
Chelsea Cloisters, Front Office, Gladiator King, and Hawaiian Noises were all scratched.
Bulletin’s win keeps his unbeaten streak alive with 3 wins in as many starts, but what’s especially interesting is that he’s done it all against stakes company while earning $655,570 for co-owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing. The 3-year-old son of City Zip took home his debut in Gulfstream Park’s Hollywood Beach Stakes on November 29 before winning the first-ever Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in November.
“Any time you have a (talented) horse at 2 and they turn 3, they don’t always hold their form,” said Elliott Walden, the President, CEO, and Racing Manager of WinStar Farm. “His run in the Breeders’ Cup was special, so we were hoping that he would come back good. We’re just real excited to see him come back to the form that he showed in the Breeders’ Cup.”
Bulletin returned $4 to win, $3 to place, and $2.40 to show. Real News brought back $5.60 to place and $3.60 to show, while Abyssinian paid $2.80 to show.