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Ten City Holds Off Copper Bullet in G3 Bashford Manor; Sunny Skies Wins Debutante

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LOUISVILLE, KY – Tommie Lewis’ promising juvenile Ten City followed up his 7-length maiden win in April with a professional 1 1/2-length triumph as the 1-2 favorite in Friday night’s 116th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Bashford Manor Presented by GE Appliances – the first of three stakes events on closing night of Churchill Downs’ 38-day Spring Meet.

Trained by Kenny McPeek and ridden by Robby Albarado, Ten City ran 6 furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10.45 to beat the 7-5 second choice Copper Bullet.

“Kenny (McPeek) has always been high on this colt,” said Albarado, who also won the Bashford Manor with Limehouse in 2003 and Kantharos in 2010. “He told me, once he gets his legs stretched out, he’ll come with a run. I saw the horse in front was stopping rather quickly, so I got my horse in a good position and everything worked out well today.”

I’m Corfu, a winner over Presque Isle Downs’ synthetic surface, broke fastest from the gate in the field of six 2-year-olds and led the way early, with Fig Jelly also showing speed and Copper Bullet advancing from the inside to apply pressure after a first 1/4-mile in :21.97. Breaking from post 6, Ten City hopped in the air at the start but quickly recovered to settle a couple of lengths off the leaders and raced in the clear on the outside.

As the horses entered the far turn, Copper Bullet briefly dropped back as I’m Corfu spurted clear, but Ten City was a menacing presence as he ranged up on the outside. Ten City took the lead as he exited the turn, clocked a 1/2-mile in :45.28, and never looked back. Copper Bullet re-rallied once he shifted away from the inside and kept trying the down the lane, but he was no match for the winner in the end.

“It was just a tough trip,” said Copper Bullet’s rider Florent Geroux. “He worked his way up there on the inside, and there was a lot of stuff going on in a very short field. He ran great. He was probably the best today, but the trip didn’t help.”

Ten City’s triumph was worth $62,000 and increased his bankroll to $98,000 with a perfect record in two starts. Previously, Ten City was a dominant and runaway winner at Keeneland when he won his 4 1/2-furlong debut on April 19 in :51.34 while in hand.

“I was so proud to pick a horse this talented out of the (yearling) auction for only $12,000,” McPeek said. “This horse has shown a lot of talent throughout the early stages of his career. It’s a horse that trainers dream to be around. I’ve sort of changed up my training over the last couple of years with these younger horses, so there’s a good chance we’ll take it easy on him over the summer and wait to run him next in the Iroquois.”

The Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs on September 16, is typically the first scoring race on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” – the series of races that will ultimately determine the field for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

Last year’s Bashford Manor winner was eventual 2-year-old champion Classic Empire, whose most recent starts were fourth in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness.

As for Copper Bullet, his Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said that the trip “was not what we were hoping. He’s a good horse, and hopefully, we’ll get on track.”

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Copper Bullet finished 6 3/4 lengths in front of the Texas invader Hardworkcleanlivin under Corey Lanerie. Fig Jelly and I’m Corfu completed the order of finish. Mo Diddley was scratched.

Ten City is a 2-year-old son of Run Away and Hide out of the Rock Hard Ten mare Maiden America. He was bred in Kentucky by Phillips Racing Partnership.

Ten City returned $3, $2.10, and $2.10. Copper Bullet brought back $2.20 and $2.10, while Hardworkcleanlivin paid $2.10 to show.

 

Sunny Skies Wins Weather-Delayed Debutante

Normandy Farm’s homebred Sunny Skies gave trainer Kenny McPeek and jockey Robby Albarado a sweep of Friday’s 2-year-old stakes races on closing night at Churchill Downs when she cruised on the front-end in the slop to beat longshot Upset Brewing by 1 3/4 lengths in the 117th running of the $100,000 Debutante Presented by Finlandia Vodka.

Sunny Skies, the 6-5 favorite, beat 11 other 2-year-old fillies with a front-running triumph in 1:11.83 over a sealed “sloppy” racetrack, which was :01.38 slower than Ten City’s run over a “fast” track two races prior. The race was delayed for about an hour when a severe thunderstorm hit Louisville at 9:29 p.m. Eastern. The dozen 2-year-old fillies were held in the paddock during the weather delay and remained there as Track Superintendent Jamie Richardson and his team sealed and groomed the racing surface following the heavy downpour.

When racing resumed just after 10:30 p.m., Rockin Royalty broke fastest of all from post 2 as Sunny Skies closely pursued from the rail. Sunny Skies put a head in front after the first 1/4-mile in a swift :21.48 and put away that rival leaving the far turn as an alert Waki Patriot drew even with the eventual winner. After a 1/2-mile in :46.09, Sunny Skies kicked away at the head of the stretch and drew clear from Waki Patriot, then turned back a challenge from the 17-1 outsider Upset Brewing, who rallied wide from far back after being bothered at the start and encountering mild traffic trouble down on the inside during the first 1/4-mile.

Red Dread, Lady O’Toole, Amberspatriot, She’s a Julie, Patrona Margarita, Genuwine, Caroline the Great, Chelada, and Rockin Royalty completed the order of finish. Therighttobeararms was scratched.

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Sunny Skies is a 2-year-old daughter of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom out of the Marquetry mare Skyscape. She was bred in Kentucky by her owner Nancy K. Polk, who races under Normandy Farm. The victory was worth $57,660 which increased the 2-year-old filly’s earnings to $93,660 with a perfect record in two starts. Prior to her Debutante triumph, Sunny Skies broke her maiden at Keeneland on April 27 by a dominating 9 lengths.

Sunny Skies returned $4.60, $3.40, and $2.80. Upset Brewing brought back $10 and $6.20, while Waki Patriot paid $5.20 to show.

Albarado Sweeps Stakes Aboard Limousine Liberal

Two races later in the $70,893 Kelly’s Landing, jockey Robby Albarado scored a stakes hat trick aboard Katherine Ball’s homebred Limousine Liberal, rolling to a 2 3/4-length score over The Truth Or Else.

One of the top sprinters in the country, Limousine Liberal joined Finley’sluckycharm as the only three-time stakes winners at the Spring Meet. The 5-year-old gelded son of Successful Appeal ran 7 furlongs in 1:23.08 under Albarado, who earlier that evening also took home the Grade 3 Bashford Manor and the Debutante.

Trained by Ben Colebrook, Limousine Liberal banked $42,187 and improved his record to 16-6-5-1—$847,687. Earlier at the meet, he scored a 13-1 upset in the Grade 2, $500,000 Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard, then won the Grade 3, $100,000 Aristides on June 3.

After trailing the field early, The Truth Or Else rallied late to finish a neck ahead of The Player, who was followed in order by WyethFish Trappe RoadVapormanRecountEasy to Say, Wapel, and BayerdHebbronvilleSchivarelliSolitary Ranger, and Woodland Walk were scratched.

Limousine Liberal returned $4, $3, and $2.20. The Truth Or Else brought back $7.20 and $3.80, while The Player paid $3.20 to show.

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