Southern California invader Phantom Boss inched clear in the final eighth of a mile to win Saturday's 118th running of the $125,000 Bashford Manor (Grade III) on closing day at Churchill Downs' 38-day Spring Meet to beat Rowdy Yates by three-quarters of a length.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Phantom Boss ran six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10.78 for trainer Jorge Periban and owners Bada Beng Racing, Tom Beckerle, Terry Lovingier and Amanda Navarro.
Phantom Boss broke alertly from post position No. 1 but he settled nicely behind early leaders Verb and Rowdy Yates. Before the pacesetters hit the first quarter-mile marker in :21.84, Phantom Boss switched to an outside tracking position in third with Snell Yeah just to his inside. Leaving the turn in :45.51, Phantom Boss made a four-wide move to draw even with the bunch. He inched away with a furlong to run and proved to be best.
“I always believed in this horse since I started working him as a baby,” said Bejarano. “He has always been so intelligent ever since I got on him. He debuted for maiden special weight in open company and ran an awesome race. The one thing that has been so special about this horse is not only has he been improving in his performances on the track but he's been improving mentally. Today, breaking on the rail, I knew there would be some speed to my outside. We were able to sit a great trip just behind them and get around them at the top of the lane.”
Phantom Boss' triumph was worth $75,950 and increased his bankroll to $131,850 with a record of two wins and a second in three starts. Previously, he broke his maiden at Santa Anita with an easy 2 ½-length score in a California-bred maiden special weight.
“I told my wife this is the best place in the world to be,” said Periban. “It is such a beautiful track and I hope to be back here in the spring. When we debuted this horse in open company and he only got beat a nose I knew we had something special. I told the owners that he could have a very bright future. Today's performance was unbelievable. I love Kentucky and can't wait to come back.”
Phantom Boss returned $5, $2.80 and $2.20 as the 3-2 favorite. The Steve Asmussen-trained Rowdy Yates, second under Ricardo Santana Jr. as the 8-5 second choice, paid $3.20 and $2.60 and finished two lengths in front of Verb who paid $3.20 to show under James Graham at 5-1.
Silent Malice, Snell Yeah and Rookie Salsa completed the order of finish. Alec and Arthur missed the start and was distanced. Jamming Cameron and Finnick the Fierce were scratched.
First run in 1902, the Bashford Manor is named for the former Louisville Thoroughbred breeding and racing farm that dominated the American racing scene in the early 1900s. George J. Long, a wealthy foundry owner, purchased Bashford Manor Farm in 1887 and developed his Thoroughbred operation that provided him two Derby wins as an owner, 1892 (Azra) and 1906 (Sir Huon), and three as a breeder, 1892 (Azra), 1899 (Manuel) and 1906 (Sir Huon). In addition, Bashford Manor also won the Kentucky Oaks in 1894 (Selika) and 1915 (Kathleen). The original Wilder family owned Bashford Manor. The Wilders were direct descendants of Lord Baltimore, whose English home was also called Bashford Manor. Long died in 1930 and the farm was eventually sold in 1973 to make way for the development of a mall complex, fittingly named Bashford Manor, that formally closed in 2003.
The Bashford Manor was the last of three stakes races on Saturday's closing day card at Churchill Downs.
Earlier, heavily-favored Magic Dance collared California invader Cholula Lips with a furlong to run and won the 119th running of the $125,000 Debutante (Listed) for 2-year-old fillies by 1 ½ lengths. She clocked six furlongs in 1:10.26. Ricardo Santana Jr. rode the winner for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and Goncalo Torrealba's Three Chimneys Farm LLC.
In the 10th running of the $120,600 Kelly's Landing Overnight Stakes, recent $62,500 claim Line Judge returned immediate dividends to owner Tom Kagele and trainer Peter Miller with a 3 ¼-length romp over Transatlantic Kiss by running seven furlongs in a stakes record 1:21.35 under leading rider Corey Lanerie.
Lanerie was the Spring Meet's leading rider for the 17th time with 43 wins, 14 more than runner-up Miguel Mena. Steve Asmussen collected his record-extending 21st crown as Churchill Downs' champion trainer with 28 victories, 10 more than Eddie Kenneally. There was a three-way tie for leading owner between Calumet Farm (10th local title), Maggi Moss (sixth local title) and the track's all-time win leaders Ken and Sarah Ramsey (record-extending 32nd local title) with six wins apiece.
Racing in Kentucky will shift to Ellis Park on Sunday. Action at Churchill Downs will return Friday, Sept. 13 for the seventh annual 11-date September Meeting, which will continue through Sept. 29.
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