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A large field of 14 juveniles will contest this Sunday’s running of the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. The 1 1/16-mile turf race, as well as two other Sunday events at Keeneland, will be televised on NBC at 4:30 PM ET.
The red-hot Peace Achieved headlines the field after winning two straight coming into this event. After two losses at Churchill Downs, the Mark Casse-trained colt broke his maiden at Ellis Park before shipping to Kentucky Downs and taking home the Gainesway Farm Juvenile Stakes. He faced what seemed to be an evenly-matched field, but he made short work of his competition with a 2 1/2-length win at odds of 5/1. His main challenge could come from another Kentucky Downs meet winner, Art Collector, who looked impressive in a maiden special weight. Luis Saez picks up the mount on Art Collector for trainer Joe Sharp.
The winner of the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes will receive an automatic position in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
Here is a look at the full field:
#1 Hurts So Good – This colt ships in from Canterbury Park and moves back to the turf after a failed dirt experiment last time out. On debut, he was able to capture a maiden special weight on the turf going 7 1/2 furlongs, winning by a neck. We’ll see how his Canterbury form transfers to Keeneland.
#2 Gear Jockey – This maiden will give Grade 3 company a shot after a solid turf debut last time out. His first race was a total non-effort on the dirt, but he nearly won his next start in wire-to-wire fashion on the Saratoga lawn. That effort hints that turf is his best surface.
#3 Doc Boy – After a solid Mid-Atlantic campaign, this colt will ship to Keeneland for a tougher challenge. Three races back, he broke his maiden at Laurel Park, then took home the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Colonial Downs. Last time out, he finished third in the Laurel Futurity, losing by less than a length. Both stakes efforts were going this race’s distance.
#4 The Third Secret – An impressive Kentucky Downs maiden special weight score last time out earned him a shot against graded stakes company. After a solid runner-up debut effort at Ellis Park, he shipped to Kentucky Downs with great success, winning by 2 1/4 lengths. That kind of effort shows that he is ready to move up in class to a race of this magnitude.
#5 Fighting Seabee – So far, this horse has been perfect, with two impressive wins against solid competition. His first came at Ellis Park in a maiden special weight going 1 mile, where he won by 2 lengths. He then shipped to Saratoga and took the With Anticipation Stakes (G3) by a length in wire-to-wire fashion. This is the obvious next step for him as he looks to move on to the Breeders’ Cup.
#6 Field Pass – This colt has been very consistent so far in his career. Three races back, he was able to break his maiden at Saratoga, which then led to a runner-up performance last time out in the With Anticipation Stakes (G2). Last time out, he was fourth at Laurel Park in the Futurity but was only defeated by a length.
#7 Nettleton – We’ll see if this lightly-raced horse can handle this kind of competition. He lacks experience, but he was an impressive maiden special weight winner at Belmont Park in his only start. The competition is usually solid at Belmont Park, so he could be prepared for the stiff jump up in class here.
#8 Deviant – He is perfect in two turf starts after losing three straight on the dirt early in his career. However, he’ll be making a jump up in class after winning races at Retama Park and Louisiana Downs. Last time out, he was able to win the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs by 2 lengths.
#9 Prince of Thieves – After a solid debut win at Ellis Park going 5 1/2 furlongs on the lawn, trainer Mark Casse sent this horse to the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes next, where he finished a solid third. He’ll stretch out in distance for this start, which could be a good thing, considering he comes from way off the pace.
#10 Peace Achieved – He comes into this race red-hot, dominating two in a row. The first came at Ellis Park in a maiden special weight, which led to winning the Gainesway Farm Juvenile Stakes at Kentucky Downs in his next start. He was nowhere close to losing in either of those races, which were his first going two turns.
#11 Kid Mercury – This colt struggled on debut at Monmouth Park, finishing fourth, but he put things together in his next start at Kentucky Downs. He defeated maiden special weight foes by a length that day, stalking the pace early before taking over down the stretch. That race should serve as a solid prep for this event.
#12 Art Collector – His impressive maiden special weight win at Kentucky Downs last time out turned a lot of heads and gave his connections confidence to run in this tougher spot. He also gave a solid showing on debut, finishing second in a maiden special weight at Saratoga. This seems to be a rising star who might be coming into form at the perfect time to blossom at the Breeders’ Cup.
#13 Ete Indien – So far, so good for this colt who won on debut at Gulfstream Park. Despite having a pedigree that is better suited for two-turn races, this colt was able to win at 5 furlongs. He fell well behind early in the race before closing with a strong rally, winning by a neck. The stretch out in distance should only help him here.
#14 Vitalogy – He made his North American debut last time out at Woodbine, finishing third in the Summer Stakes (G1). He fell a little too far behind in the early stages of the event, which left him too much to do. He will benefit from having that race under his belt and will likely be better prepared for a strong effort in this spot.
The Dixiana Bourbon Stakes serves as one of 15 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this weekend at Keeneland, Santa Anita Park, and Belmont Park. Here is the full schedule for this coming weekend:
The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events come to a close on Wednesday, October 9, with the running of the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland. That race will be a “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
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