Joseph Sutton's Bradester will look to ride his three-race win streak all the way into Saratoga's closing weekend in the Grade 1 Woodward.
Trained by Eddie Kenneally, the 6-year-old son of Lion Heart has been perfect in all three of his starts this year, winning the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup, the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs and the Majestic Light at Monmouth. All resulted triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. In 2015, Bradester notched victories in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile and the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup before ending his season with a ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
“He had plenty of racing last year, so after the Breeders' Cup we thought we would give him a little extra time over the winter and focus on a summer-fall campaign with him this year,” said Kenneally. “So far it's working good. He's a fresh horse, a lightly raced horse this year. He's grown up again and he's even more mature now than he ever was.”
Last Saturday, Bradester breezed a half-mile in 48.71 seconds on the main track, his third local work since winning the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on a sloppy and sealed track by 2 ½ lengths on July 31.
“[It was] real good,” said Kenneally of the move. “Just maintenance. Nothing too fancy, nothing too fast. Just keeping him fit, keeping him sound, keeping him ticking. It was just what we wanted, really. He's a fast horse but he did that well within himself.”
Ridden in each of his victories by “Jersey Joe” Bravo this year, Bradester has proved to be the prevailing speed, although Kenneally notes, it is not a set-in-stone strategy for the Woodward, where he will face down the speedy Frosted.
“We'll play it by ear,” said Kenneally. “Depending on the post positions, the break, see how the race unfolds. He's shown some speed in his races but there's other horses in there that have speed as well. So we'll just play it by ear and see how the race unfolds and leave it up to Joe Bravo, who rides him with a lot of confidence. We try to not change too much.”
Grade 3 Sanford winner Bitumen earned the bullet for his final work Monday morning ahead of his closing weekend assignment, the Grade 1, $350,000 Hopeful on September 5. The 2-year-old Mineshaft colt covered four furlongs in 48.65 seconds on the main track, the fastest of 46 at the distance.
“He worked super,” Kenneally reported. “He likes the track. He's had a while since the Sanford and he's done well training here this summer. He's trained along nicely here all summer and hasn't missed a beat since the Sanford. He's still has an advantage over some of the other horses, he's ran twice. Some of them have only run once. So the timing is ideal, really.”
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