Trainer Mark Hennig could not have been more excited to get Strike Power back to the winner's circle following an eight-month layoff.
Owned by Courtlandt Farm, the 4-year-old son of Speightstown was victorious in a six-furlong allowance event on April 25 at Gulfstream Park – his first start since a distant ninth in the Better Talk Now over the turf at Saratoga.
Last year, Strike Power gave Hennig some hopes and aspirations for the Kentucky Derby with a solid-runner up effort behind Promises Fulfilled in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth but was a distant eighth next out in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.
“It was great,” Hennig said of Thursday's triumph. “He was having some throat issues and it was to the point where we had to take care of it, so we did a tie-back surgery. It's always nerve-racking because you don't know how they'll react to it until they run again. He handled it well and it was really gratifying for his sake. He looked like he was happy in the stretch and it was just nice to see him breathe real air.”
Hennig said the Grade 2, $250,000 True North on June 7 at Belmont Park is a possibility for Strike Power.
“He ran a big number and he's got to ship back up north. The earliest we would look at is the True North,” Hennig said.
A homebred, Strike Power is out of the graded stakes placed Medaglia d'Oro broodmare Gold d'Oro.
Bourbon War, on the outside looking in for Saturday's Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby, breezed a half-mile in 48.33 seconds at Belmont Park on Thursday morning and will now likely target the Grade 3, $300,000 Peter Pan on May 11 at the Elmont oval.
“He worked super,” Hennig said. “We were trying to beat the rain and he worked well. We'll see how the Peter Pan and the [Grade 1 $1.5 million] Preakness [on May 18 at Pimlico Race Course] come up. I'll talk it over and discuss it with all of our clients.”
Fourth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30 last time out, the talented Tapit colt was beaten three-quarters of a length behind Code of Honor in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Both races were contested at Gulfstream Park.
Owned by Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable, Bourbon War is the first foal out of Grade 1-winner My Conquestadory and was acquired for $410,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November Mixed Sale from Lanes End's consignment barn. He was bred in Kentucky by Conquest Stables.
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