BOURBON STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | 2-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 3 | 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)
Balance the Books captured the $150,000 Bourbon Stakes as the 4-5 favorite after much bumping in the stretch run of the 1 1/16-mile test of 2-year-olds on the Keeneland turf Oct. 7.
Really Sharp, who lost a photo for the win with 4-5 favorite Balance the Books by a nose, was disqualified to sixth after ducking out mid-stretch and interfering with several horses.
Balance the Books was bumped slightly while carried out as he rallied on the outside when several runners came together. He recovered under Julien Leparoux to get up at the wire in a dash home with Really Sharp.
The Bourbon has been an eventful race for Leparoux the past two years. The Frenchman was thrown over the Keeneland turf rail during the stretch run of last year's Bourbon while leading the field aboard Here Comes Frazier.
Brown Almighty was moved up to second, with Sonofasamurai slotted in third, and Summit County fourth. All three horses were severely compromised by the interference, as was Strike the Note, who was moved up to fifth.
The victory in the 1 1/16-mile test over firm ground was accomplished in 1:45.15. It secures Balance the Books a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park under the Cup's "Win & You're In" challenge series.
Trained by Chad Brown for owners Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, Balance the Books heads into the Breeders Cup with back-to-back graded scores. He tallied in the With Anticipation Stakes by a head over Joha Aug. 30 at Saratoga Race Course.
"This horse is getting bigger and stronger," Brown said, "and it's on to the Breeders' Cup."
Balance the Books was entered a day earlier in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity on Keeneland's Polytrack but was scratched from the race, which was won by Joha.
Hopping at the break, Balance the Books raced at the rear of the 12-horse field as 80-1 shot Road Agent got the lead over Really Sharp and Strike the Note while carving early fractions of :23.13, :47.57, and 1:13.40. Balance the Books still had just one beaten on the far turn before rallying wide in the stretch.
"He's a very nice horse. He didn't break too sharp today, but he was relaxed and he made his run like he usually does," Leparoux said.
Really Sharp assumed the lead in the stretch as the pacesetter gave way and several horses closed in. Really Sharp shifted left when struck by the right-handed whip by Elvis Trujillo, then swerved out impeding Sonofasamurai and squeezing Strike the Note, who bounced into Summit County, Brown Almighty, and Balance the Books.
Brown Almighty, ridden by Francisco Torres, was 1 1/2 lengths back at the wire, with Sonofasamurai and David Cohen two lengths farther behind.
"[The bumping] hindered me a lot," Torres said. "Inside the eighth pole we had dead aim on them and all of a sudden we had the room taken away from us and it stopped his momentum. He picked it up once we were clear."
Bred in Kentucky by Scott Heider and Knowles Boodstock, the winning son of Lemon Drop Kid out of the Seeking the Gold mare Kreisleriana was sold twice at auction. The bay colt brought $37,000 during the 2011 Keeneland September Yearling sale to Vinery Bloodstock from the consignment of Hill 'n' Dales Agency. Klaravich Stables paid $160,000 at this year's sale of Keeneland sale of 2-year-olds in April. Balance the Books was sold by Niall Brennan Stables, agent.
His dam is a daughter of European champion 3-year-old filly and classic winner Kooyonga.
Balance the Books has now won two of three starts including a runner-up debut on the Saratoga turf Aug. 4. He has banked $227,000.
The lone graded stakes winner in the field, Balance the Books carried top weight of 122 pounds and paid $3.80, $2.80, $2.40. Brown Almighty, runner-up in the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs Sept. 8 for trainer Tim Ice, returned $4.60 and $3.40, The exacta was worth $19.80. Sonofasamuria was $4.40 to show.
Fredericksburg finished seventh, followed by Roman's Avenue, Ruler of Love, Slamarama, Army Hero, and Road Agent. Craving Carats and Joha scratched.