Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's Bourbon War, a debut winner at the Big A on November 14, is making great strides towards a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby.
Trained by Mark Hennig, Bourbon War graduated in a one-mile race moved off the turf as the Tapit colt posted a 2 ¼-length win on the fast main track. The bay colt picked up a single Derby qualifying point when fourth in the Grade 2 Remsen following a wide trip and was subsequently freshened ahead of a victorious return in a January 18 optional claiming tilt at Gulfstream Park.
Last time out, in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, Bourbon War rallied from ninth in a talented field of 11 to finished second, defeated less than a length, by Code of Honor. The Kentucky-bred added 20 Derby qualifying points for the effort, bringing his tally to 21, which is good for eleventh in the points standings.
Hennig said the well-bred Bourbon War, out of the Grade 1-winning dam My Conquestadory, has made great strides.
“He's made great progress. I think that first race really woke him up a lot. He's a horse that was never really enthusiastic as a training horse prior to running,” said Hennig. “Once he ran, the light came on for him. It's been quite a wake up for him. He's a typical Tapit that was bored of all the training and was ready for some race experience.”
Bourbon War has shown an ability to rally from off the pace in all four of his career starts. Hennig said he was particularly impressed with how his young charge completed the Fountain of Youth under regular pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr.
“He's very relaxed. He's not in any rush. The effort didn't surprise me. The only thing that surprised me was that last sixteenth when he was really finishing very quickly,” said Hennig.
Hennig said that Bourbon War is slated to make his next start in the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby set for March 30 at Gulfstream Park. The improving colt breezed four furlongs in 49.88 seconds this morning at the Hallandale oval in his final prep for the key Derby prep which offers 100-40-20-10 Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers.
“We're trying to earn points. He needs a good effort in the Florida Derby to warrant going forward,” said Hennig. “He's been happy here and trained well. The timing is good, and we get five weeks to the Derby provided he moves on.”
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