Boisterous seeks another autumn achievement in Bowling Green
By Jon Forbes | 09/05/2013 03:21 PM ET
In 2011 and 2012, Boisterous rebounded from a disappointing start in a Grade 1 in August to win a graded stakes during Belmont Park's fall meeting. On Saturday, the 6-year-old will attempt to continue that tradition when he competes in the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green Handicap for turf horses 3-years-old and up.
Two years ago, Boisterous finished fifth in the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga Race Course and returned to Belmont to pick up his first graded stakes win in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker. Last year, he was ninth in the Arlington Million before adding a second win in the Knickerbocker.
After Boisterous finished eighth, beaten 7 ¼ lengths, in the 2013 Sword Dancer on August 17, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey elected to bring back the Phipps Stable homebred in the 1 ¼-mile Bowling Green instead of waiting for the 1 1/16-mile Knickerbocker in October. If Boisterous runs well in the Bowling Green, he likely will make his next in the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on September 28, according to McGaughey.
"I decided [the day after the Sword Dancer] to run in the Bowling Green," said McGaughey. "I brought him back to Belmont, and he seems to do be doing fine. He didn't run any good in the 2011 Sword Dancer or last year's Arlington Million, so I hope he just didn't like training at Saratoga. He's always runs well in the fall."
How well? Boisterous has won five of six starts from September-December in his career. He also has six wins from nine starts on the turf at Belmont, including a triumph in the Grade 1 Man o' War in July, his final start prior to the Sword Dancer.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, aboard Boisterous for his past three starts, will have the assignment once again in the Bowling Green. Boisterous will depart from the rail as the 7-5 morning-line favorite and 122-pound highweight.
The 5-2 second choice on the morning line is Hyper, who won the restricted John's Call by 1 ¾ lengths on July 31 at Saratoga in his most recent start. Trained by Chad Brown for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Hyper has not finished off the board in six starts this year and seeks the first graded stakes win of his career.
Javier Castellano will ride Hyper, assigned 117 pounds, from post position 5.
Also exiting the John's Call is Pablo Gomez's Quick Casablanca, a Group 1 winner in Chile and Brazil who is winless in three starts in the United States. Since arriving in Christophe Clement's barn, the 5-year-old has finished third in the Good Reward overnight stakes in May at Belmont, eighth in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap in June on Belmont's main track, and third, beaten 3 ¾ lengths, in the John's Call.
In the John's Call, Quick Casblanca was forced to come from farther off the pace than usual after clipping heels with Hyper in the early stages of the race.
"He's training well," said Clement. "Obviously, it's a very ambitious spot. [Luis] Saez is riding him, which is exciting, but winning a graded race in New York is never easy. I thought he ran well [in the John's Call]. Last time was a mile and five eighths, and this time we're going a mile and a quarter. He won't be too far from the pace."
Quick Casablanca, 8-1 on the morning line, will tote 116 pounds from post 2.
Finnegans Wake, trained by Dale Romans, aims for an elusive win in the Bowling Green, having gone 0-for-10 in his previous graded stakes starts. The Donegal Racing color-bearer has placed in three of those races and enters the Bowling Green off fourth-place finishes in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap in June, Grade 1 Man o' War in July, and Grade 1 Arlington Million.
Cornelio Velasquez will ride Finnegans Wake from post 6. The colt was tabbed at 4-1 on the morning line and assigned 117 pounds.
Farhaan will attempt to remain unbeaten in the United States, having rallied from eighth to take a one-mile, second-level optional claimer by a nose on August 15 at Saratoga. The Shadwell Stable homebred son of Belmont Stakes victor Jazil was a two-time winner in England.
"It's a big step up, but he's a really nice horse," said McLaughlin. "It looked like a good spot. It's tough, but we thought we should give it a try. There's not much pace. We came from last, but I think he just broke a little slow coming from Europe. Hopefully, he'll break better and not be last. We think he'll run well. We feel like he should improve because his last start was his first of the year."
Junior Alvarado takes over on 12-1 Farhaan, who drew post 5 and was assigned 115 pounds.
The field also includes London Lane, who registered a 50-1 upset in the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup in June and was sixth in the Sword Dancer.
The field for the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green Handicap: