Strike Power On Target For Grade 1 Vanderbilt, Bourbon War To Switch To Turf

by | 07.17.2019 | 6:00pm
Strike Power wins the 2018 Swale Stakes

Courtlandt Farms' homebred graded stakes winner Strike Power breezed four furlongs in 47.82 seconds on the Saratoga main track on Saturday and remains on target for the Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on July 27, trainer Mark Hennig said.

A 4-year-old son of Speightstown out of graded stakes-placed mare Gold d'Oro by Medaglia d'Oro, Strike Power won the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream as a 3-year-old before going on the Kentucky Derby trail to finish eighth in the 2018 Florida Derby and subsequently cutting back to seven furlongs, finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont. Following a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Amsterdam, Strike Power tried turf, finishing ninth in the Better Talk Now.

Strike Power kicked off his 2019 campaign with an allowance victory at 6 ½ furlongs on the dirt at Gulfstream Park in April, and followed with a strong second in the Grade 2 True North, recording a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He's going to breeze again this weekend but we should be on schedule for the Vanderbilt,” said Hennig. “He's been continuing to do well out of the True North. That was a good effort and if he runs back to that race we should he should be very competitive. We'll take it day-by-day, but he's continuing to do well.”


Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's 3-year-old graded stakes-placed Tapit colt Bourbon War finished second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in March and fourth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

He then contested two-thirds of the Triple Crown, running eighth in the Grade 1 Preakness and most recently 10th in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

Hennig said Bourbon War will bypass the $100,000 Curlin on July 26 and instead breeze on the turf with the $100,000 Better Talk Now as a target on Sunday, August 25.

“We're not targeting the Curlin,” said Hennig. “He hasn't breezed yet following the Belmont and just came back in after a short layoff. We're going to get him back going and breeze him on the grass. If that goes well, we would consider something like the Better Talk Now.”

Hennig also reported 3-year-old Achilles Warrior for owner David Merjan would target the Grade 2 $200,000 Amsterdam on Sunday, July 28.

The Warriors Reward colt won his debut at Saratoga in August of 2018 before entering the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont, where he finished 10th. Following an eight-place finish in the Juvenile Stallion at Churchill Downs in October he returned to finish second in an allowance race in his first start of the year on April 7.

Following up with a fifth-place finish in an allowance race at Belmont on May 10, Achilles Warrior won a first-level allowance on June 30 at Belmont by 2 ¾ lengths recording a career high 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He's doing well,” said Hennig. I think he wants to start stretching out a little bit, but we'll try the Amsterdam first and he's on target for that race.”

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