Bourbon War ‘Just Hitting His Stride’ In Florida Derby Prep

by | 03.15.2019 | 2:24pm
Bourbon War wins an allowance race at Gulfstream Park

Bourbon Lane Stable and Late Star Stable's Bourbon War tuned up for a scheduled start in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30 during a half-mile breeze at Gulfstream Park Friday morning.

The Mark Hennig-trained 3-year-old colt was timed in 50.50 seconds for his first workout since finishing a fast-closing second in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream March 2.

Hennig, who delayed the work from 7:30 to 9 a.m. due to an early-morning rain, said he was opted to give Bourbon War a maintenance breeze.

“I thought the track might be a little heavy. I wanted to go with a maintenance work this week and we can sharpen him up next week, kind of what did last time prior to the Fountain of Youth,” Hennig said.

In the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, Bourbon War settled well off the fast pressured pace set by Hidden Scroll before advancing on the far turn, swinging wide off the turn into the homestretch, and making a strong run through the stretch. The son of Tapit finished three-quarters of a length behind victorious Code of Honor before offering an impressive gallop-out under Irad Ortiz Jr.

“I was very impressed. I think he was just hitting his stride,” Hennig said. “I thought it took him a little while to transition off the turn. He kind of had to swing a little wider than he wanted to. Irad also mentioned that he had to wait on the turn when those horses were backing up and didn't want to make his move and have to check. He said he waited and tried to be patient rather than move too soon and be forced into where he'd be stopped and have to be restart. He felt like he could definitely been closer.”

Bourbon War had previously won a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance by 2 ¼ lengths going away Jan. 19 at Gulfstream. The Kentucky-bred colt broke his maiden at first asking by 2 ¼ lengths in a mile race originally scheduled for turf at Aqueduct Nov. 11. Three weeks later, he worked his way through traffic to finish fourth in the Dec. 1 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct.

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