Rigney Racing’s Warrior Johny, an eye-catching 8 ½-length allowance winner one month ago at Saratoga, will test stakes company for the first time in Saturday night’s second running of the $275,000 Bourbon Trail at Churchill Downs.
The Bourbon Trail, won last year by King Fury, was carded as Race 10 of 11 with a post time of 10:42 p.m. (all times Eastern). The 1 3/16-mile event is one of four stakes races on the Downs After Dark card. The race will share the Saturday night spotlight with the $275,000 Dogwood (GIII), $275,000 Harrods Creek and $160,000 Seneca Overnight Stakes. First post is 6 p.m.
Warrior Johny demolished a field of seven in a first-level allowance at Saratoga. The Phil Bauer-trained son of Cairo Prince broke his maiden by 12 ¾ lengths on June 18 at Churchill Downs. Two weeks later, Warrior Johny returned in a first-level allowance beneath the Twin Spires and closed from 13 lengths off the early pace to finish just two lengths behind fellow Bourbon Trail rival Gilded Age. Jockey Joe Talamo will have the mount and break from post No. 4.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher entered Saint Tapit in the Bourbon Trail to try two turns for the first time. Owned and bred by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm, Saint Tapit is out of Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. The regally-bred son of Tapit began his career June 26 at Belmont Park with a convincing four-length victory in a maiden special weight contest. Six weeks later, Saint Tapit scored a 1 ½-length first-level allowance win at Saratoga. Tyler Gaffalione will have the call from post 3.
Here’s the complete field for the Bourbon Trail from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Maximum Impact (Rafael Bejarano, Lynn Cash); Home Brew (Ricardo Santana Jr., Brad Cox); Saint Tapit (Gaffalione, Pletcher); Warrior Johny (Talamo, Bauer); War Campaign (Corey Lanerie, Phil Sims); Ethereal Road (Mitchell Murrill, D. Wayne Lukas); Gilded Age (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott); Creative Minister (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); and Big Blue Line (Martin Garcia, Paul McGee).
The Bourbon Trail is one of only four open-company 3-year-old route stakes left in the nation this year. The others are Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (GI), Sunday’s $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (GIII), the $250,000 Zia Park Derby on Nov. 22 and the $150,000 Discovery Stakes on Nov. 27.
Wagering is available on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Inc. and the Kentucky Derby.