Trainer Tim Glyshaw reflected on his first graded stakes victory with Bullards Alley in Saturday’s Louisville Handicap (Grade III) – a race that he originally intended to compete in only if weather conditions were to force it off the turf.
“We entered with the idea of running main track only,” Glyshaw said. “The owners (Wayne Spalding and Farron McCubbins) wanted to give him a try, which I was a little apprehensive of because he’s the best horse in our barn, we weren’t going to know what type of shape the turf course would be in and we didn’t know what would happen with all the rain we got. At the end of the day I made a deal with the owners that I would call (jockey) Francisco (Torres) and tell him that if the horse doesn’t like what it feels like and not handling well to just get him home safe, but by all means if he’s liking it to try and win. He had the worst of it; he was around three turns and was four wide. At the end of the day that was a good part of the track.”
The 4-year-old son of Flower Alley was going into Saturday’s race following an allowance victory at Churchill Downs on May 12, only nine days before the Louisville Handicap.
“It was asking a lot of him coming back in nine days,” Glyshaw said. “Going into this race I told the owners that if he runs in this race, we aren’t running him until July. Nine months to a year down the road, if we’re in the same type of situation, at least we know that he’s capable of doing it.”
Glyshaw was not in attendance for his first graded stakes victory. Instead, he was at Indiana Grand saddling a new horse in his stable that he has high hopes for.
“We had an Indiana-bred named Bucchero run up at Indiana Grand (Saturday) that we just got from (trainer) Michael Trombetta,” Glyshaw said. “He’s a really nice horse, he’s won an open stakes up there last year and it was his first race back for the year and I still wasn’t too sure that we would still run Bullards Alley until 15 minutes before Lasix time.”
Bucchero finished second Saturday.
Glyshaw believes that Bullards Alley does his best running when going 1 ½ miles, the distance of the Louisville Handicap.
“He just really likes that distance,” Glyshaw said “The problem is there aren’t that many races like that that are a mile-and-a-half on the dirt or turf. The biggest thing he has going for him is that he likes to run all day, but in the right situation he could probably win at a mile-and-a-sixteenth. A mile-and-a-half is great for him though, there are just few and far between options for that.”
Glyshaw will point Bullards Alley for a race on July 16: either the Michael Schaefer Memorial or the Warrior Veterans, both $100,000 listed events at Indiana Grand Race Course.
“We’ll probably run at Indiana Grand,” Glyshaw said. “We’ll try to find something in August and then Kentucky Downs ($600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup on Sept. 10). I guess a long range goal would be the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, even though it’s not really a Breeders’ Cup race anymore. Natalie (Glyshaw) had dinner and talked with the owners last night and we’re not aiming for anything huge. This is a really, really nice win for us. It helps the morale around the barn for sure.”
THATCHER STREET TO TARGET WISE DAN FOLLOWING SATURDAY’S VICTORY - Randall L. Bloch, Phil Milner, and John Seiler’s Thatcher Street will compete in the $200,000 Wise Dan (GII) on June 18 following his triumph in the Opening Verse Stakes on Saturday afternoon.
“I think we’ll just keep him at home and run him here in the Wise Dan,” trainer Ian Wilkes said. “He just got better. Last year we finally got him on the turf and now this year, we’re trying to get him to stay consistent.”
Wilkes was happy with the 5-year-old son of Street Sense’s victory on Saturday.
“He ran well, he’s very consistent,” Wilkes said. “It was a pretty nice race for a $65,000-added (overnight stakes). It was a very salty race. The second-place horse (Pleuven) is a nice horse so to beat him is a big performance.”
Thatcher Street’s racing career began on the dirt before Wilkes changed tactics and made the switch to the grass in his 10th career start.
“I don’t need to run him on the dirt,” Wilkes said. “I think the horse is just happy doing this. He ran good numbers on the dirt so naturally you would think he’s a dirt horse, but he just wasn’t getting it. Finally I said that we have to try him on the turf and he started running really good races on the turf.”
The Opening Verse was the horse’s third win in five starts over the Matt Winn Turf Course. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. spoke on the horse’s affinity for the Churchill lawn.
“He loves Churchill’s turf course for some reason,” Hernandez said. “Since Ian put him on the grass he’s just gotten better and better. We always thought that he was a nice horse, it was just getting him on the grass that was the key. He’s the type that will position himself wherever we need him to be. It makes him a lot easier to ride him because you can ride him with confidence, and when you call on him, he’ll be there.”
SEVEN-POUND BUG EZEQUIEL RIVERA SCORES FIRST U.S. VICTORY ON SATURDAY – Ezequiel Rivera, a 16-year-old native of Panama City, Panama, won his first race as a jockey in the United States in Saturday’s first race aboard Only One Wish for trainer Joe Sharp.
“It felt great, I was very happy,” Rivera said through jockey Francisco Torres. “It was very special to get my first win here at Churchill Downs. I came here because I wanted to come and ride with some of the leading riders. I’m going to keep on riding here and hope everything keeps working out. The trainers have been very helpful to me.”
Rivera is named the rider on Dollar Doblado in Race 7 on Sunday afternoon.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Albaugh Family Stables’ Brody’s Cause put in his first workout since a seventh-place effort in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on Sunday morning. The son of Giant’s Causeway breezed five furlongs in 1:01.00 for trainer Dale Romans. Churchill Downs clockers caught Brody’s Cause in :24 and :48 with a six-furlong gallop out in 1:15.20. He is expected to join stablemate and Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine in the June 11 Belmont Stakes. … Gunpowder Farms LLC’s Divisidero, winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI), went five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Buff Bradley. Divisidero’s splits were :14, :26.80 and :39 with a six-furlong gallop out in 1:15. … Tom’s Ready, 12th in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Dallas Stewart, breezed a half-mile in :49 in company with stablemate Lemon Drop Title. They went the first quarter mile in :25 and Tom’s Ready galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.60. … A visitation for the late Fred Bradley, the longtime Frankfort, Ky. breeder and owner of two-time female sprint champion Groupie Doll and Grade I winning-gelding Brass Hat, will take place Tuesday at Harrod Brothers Funeral Home in Frankfort, Ky. (312 Washington St., Frankfort, Ky., 40601) from 4-8 p.m. The funeral will take place Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Church of Ascension (311 Washington St., Frankfort, Ky., 40601). The 85-year-old Bradley - father of trainer William "Buff" Bradley - passed away on Friday, May 20.