A game second-place effort behind multiple graded stakes winner Da Big Hoss in the $594,180 Kentucky Turf Cup (Grade II) on Sept. 10 has given trainer Tim Glyshaw confidence that Bullards Alley can spin back in three weeks for the $175,000 Lukas Classic (listed) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Oct. 1.
“He’s going to run here,” Glyshaw said. “In the past he’s proven that he can come back from short-time spans and run real well. I think he’s equally as good on the dirt than on the turf so I don’t think that’s much of a concern. I just think it has more to do with how tough the race comes up. He always gives it is all; he’ll run through a brick wall for you.”
The 4-year-old son of Flower Alley notched his first graded stakes victory in the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (GIII) at 1 ½ miles on turf at Churchill Downs in May, which also was the first graded stakes win for Glyshaw, who was not surprised by his horse’s most recent effort over 1 ½ miles on turf at Kentucky Downs.
“He’s always capable of running those kinds of races,” Glyshaw said. “He’s run the hardest he can all the time and he proved last year that he likes the surface at Kentucky Downs so I wasn’t totally surprised. The margin of defeat to Da Big Hoss was a little bit of a surprise (1 ¼ lengths). I literally thought that about midway through the stretch that we had a chance to win the race and even when Da Big Hoss passed us, he fought back and it looked like he was going to go at him again. (Da Big Hoss) is what (trainer) Mike (Maker) said, ‘The second best marathon horse in the country behind Flintshire.’ That’s a very big race. Hopefully, if you’re one of those kinds of handicappers, the turf-to-dirt angle will do him a little bit of good, too. Obviously he likes Churchill’s dirt and turf surfaces so it’s not a bad spot for him.”
The 1 1/8-mile Lukas Classic will be Bullards Alley’s 10th start this year, and his third start in three months. Prior to the Kentucky Turf Cup, he ran sixth in the $100,000 West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup Stakes at Mountaineer Park on Aug. 6.
“If there’s one horse in our barn that can do it, it’s him,” Glyshaw said.
FOREVER UNBRIDLED, TOM’S READY BREEZE; NEXT STARTS TO BE DETERMINED – The Dallas Stewart-trained duo of Forever Unbridled and Tom’s Ready breezed five furlongs on the Churchill Downs main track Saturday morning.
Forever Unbridled, most recently third behind Cavorting in Saratoga’s $695,000 Personal Ensign (Grade I), went five furlongs in 1:00.00 while her stable mate Tom’s Ready, a distant ninth behind Drefong in the $500,000 King’s Bishop (GI) at Saratoga, made his move in 1:00.60.
Stewart is still deciding on where both horses will make their next start. The $400,000 Beldame (GI) at Belmont Park on Oct. 1 is an option for Forever Unbridled, who entered her 4-year-old campaign with two graded stakes wins in the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic (GIII) at Sam Houston on Jan. 30 and the $600,000 Apple Blossom (GI) at Oaklawn Park on April 15. Tom’s Ready, winner of the $500,000 Woody Stephens (GII) at Belmont Park on June 11, could see action in either the $100,000 Ack Ack Presented by TwinSpires.com (GIII) on Oct. 1 at Churchill Downs or the $350,000 Kelso (GII) at Belmont Park on Oct. 8.
“Both horses worked great,” Stewart said. “We’re keeping all our options on the table.”
COX LOOKS AHEAD WITH RECENT MAIDEN WINNER MAS MISCHIEF – Trainer Brad Cox is in the process of eyeing a next start for recent turf maiden winner Mas Mischief, who is possible to see action during the latter part of Keeneland’s Fall Meet or the beginning of the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs.
The 2-year-old son of Into Mischief won Friday’s fifth race via disqualification after original winner Giant Payday veered out into the path of third-place finisher Unlimited Play in mid-stretch.
“(Chris) Landeros (rider of Giant Payday) came over on the Midwest horse (Unlimited Play) that was third,” Cox said. “Looked like he shut him off, but it worked out well for us.”
Mas Mischief made his first start on turf as well as going two turns on Friday. His prior start was a well-beaten fifth at Ellis Park behind promising Dale Romans-trainee Singing Bullet.
“We knew he wanted two turns when we started him first time out,” Cox said. “He really moved forward (Friday) and I don’t think that he has to have the turf so we’ll see how he comes out of it. We’ll look for something like a first-level allowance late during the Keeneland meet or something during the first part of the Fall Meet.”
DOWN THE STRETCH – The fields for next Saturday’s three stakes races are beginning to take shape. Known probable starters for the $175,000 Lukas Classic, a 1 1/8 mile event for 3-year-olds and upward, according to stakes coordinator Dan Bork: Bradester, Breaking Lucky, Bullards Alley, Hawaakom, Honorable Duty, Noble Bird and Rocket Time. Probable starters for the $100,000 Jefferson Cup (listed), a one mile event for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course include Baharona, Bondurant, Conquest Daddyo, Cutacorner, Don’t Be So Salty, Keystoneforvictory, Surgical Strike and Zapperini. The $100,000 Ack Ack (GIII), a one mile event on the main track for 3-year-olds an upward will likely attract reigning Champion Sprinter Runhappy and Schivarelli. … Saturday night’s Downs After Dark program at Churchill Downs includes a Single 6 Jackpot of $24,752 on Races 3-8. … “Inside Churchill Downs,” co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher, Kevin Kerstein and Darren Rogers, will air Sundays from 9-10 a.m. (all times Eastern) on ESPN 680. The one-hour program, which typically features multiple guests, will air every Sunday through the conclusion of the Fall Meet on Nov. 27. Those outside the Louisville radio market can listen live online at http://www.espnlouisville.com/. Podcasts of the shows also will be available on the website.