A full field of 12 juvenile thoroughbreds will contest the 20th running of the $100,000 Bourbon Stakes (G3) at Keeneland Sunday with the winner earning a berth in the starting gate of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) to be run at Churchill Downs on November 6.
Stormy Rush and the also eligible entry of Banned are the lukewarm 4-1 morning line co-favorites.
I like Stormy Rush who ships in from Woodbine for trainer Roger Attfield. In his last outing, Stormy Rush closed from fifth place at the top of the stretch to finish third in the Summer Stakes (G3) at Woodbine.
Stormy Rush is a descendant of the Northern Dancer sire line and since 1990 there have been seven horses from that line to win the Bourbon: Bittel Road (2008), Gio Ponti (2007), Gateman (1999), Pineaff (1998), Red Shadow (1995), Star of Manila (1993) and The Real Vaslav (1992).
Stormy Rush’s sire, Stormy Atlantic, sired the Bourbon winner Bittel Road. Stormy Atlantic’s juvenile runners have 16 wins in 43 starts for 37 percent.
I like the pedigree of long shot Voodoo Storm (8-1) and he’s my favorite in the Bourbon. Voodoo Storm comes into the race off of a gate-to-wire maiden win in an 8 ½ - furlong turf race at Saratoga.
Voodoo Storm is also a descendant of the Northern Dancer sire line. His sire, Storm Cat, is the grandsire of Bourbon winners Bittel Road and Gio Ponti. Voodoo Storm's damsire, Kingmambo, sired the Bourbon winners Rey de Café (2004) and Overview (2000).
Another long shot I like is Cozy Kitten (9-2) who comes into the race with a win in his maiden debut – an 8-furlong turf race at Monmouth Park on September 4. Cozy Kitten is stepping way up in class but if he lives up to his breeding, I believe he has the potential to pull off the upset at a nice price.
Cozy Kitten is also a descendant of the Northern Dancer sire line. His sire is the 2004 Eclipse Champion Male Turf Horse Kitten’s Joy and his damsire, Cozzene, won the same award in 1985. Theatrical, the sire of Cozy Kitten’s second dam Jodie Faster, won the turf award in 1987.
The juvenile runners of Kitten’s Joy have 15 wins in 32 starts for 47 percent.
Rogue Romance (5-1) comes into the Bourbon off of a maiden win in an 8 ½ - furlong turf race at Saratoga. Rogue Romance raced the same day that Voodoo Storm ran and covered the same route of ground a few ticks faster so I look for him to be competitive in the Bourbon.
Rogue Romance is a descendant of the Mr. Prospector sire line and since 1990 there have been four horses from that line that have won the Bourbon: Interactif (2009), Twilight Meteor, Rey de Café and Overview.
Rogue Romance’s sire is the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones – his juvenile runners have 6 wins in 36 starts for 17 percent.