Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's Bourbon War registered a dominant 2 ¼-length victory in Friday's featured ninth race at Gulfstream Park, establishing himself as a horse to watch on the road to the Triple Crown.
Trained by Mark Hennig, the son of Tapit ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.54 to notch his second win in three career starts in the optional claiming allowance race for 3-year-olds.
The $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream March 2 is the most likely target for Bourbon War.
“I think you'd have to. We're going to see how it stacks up, but we'll nominate him up to all these 3-year-old races,” Hennig said. “I think he's ready to take the step back into graded-stakes company.”
The 3-2 favorite settled off the pace in a tightly packed field of nine before advancing between horses on the turn, finding a seam between pacesetter Bourbon War and second-choice Cutting Humor at the top of the stretch and drawing off to post a comfortable victory under Irad Ortiz Jr.
“I was glad he kind of got through that little hole. I was like, 'Is there a hole here turning for home, or not? Don't get stopped.' It worked out good,” Hennig said.
Bourbon War debuted with a 2 ¼-length triumph in a mile optional claiming allowance at Aqueduct Nov. 14 before stepping up to finish a wide fourth in the Remsen (G2) Dec. 1.
“He got some schooling in the Remsen and I think Irad made a point of schooling him a little bit (today),” Hennig said. “I asked him if he did anything wrong today and he said, 'Not a thing,' so that's good.”
Todd Pletcher-trained Cutting Humor finished second under John Velazquez.
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