Giving fresh meaning to the term “news flash,” unbeaten Bulletin sped to another front-running victory in the $100,000 Palisades Turf Sprint during Thursday’s opener at Keeneland, and Real News completed the media-themed exacta.
WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing’s Bulletin is making a habit of winning inaugurals. Hero of the first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint last fall, the Todd Pletcher trainee returned to action in this freshly minted stakes, a potential stepping stone to Royal Ascot.
The projected rematch with Breeders’ Cup runner-up Chelsea Cloisters in the Palisades didn’t materialize after her withdrawal. Her trainer, Wesley Ward, also scratched Hawaiian Noises, who was cross-entered to Friday’s Transylvania (G3), leaving the filly Abyssinian as his sole representative here. Gladiator King was a vet scratch at the gate, while the second also-eligible Front Office stayed in the barn.
Bulletin, the even-money favorite, broke like a shot from post 10 for Javier Castellano and took charge. The rail-drawn Yes I Am Free tried to match strides early, but couldn’t hang with the pacesetter through the opening quarter in :22.10 on the firm course. The stalking Abyssinian appeared to have more in hand as they swung for home, and the 3-1 second chance briefly attempted to take a run at Bulletin after passing the half in :45.65.
Considering that Bulletin was spotting the filly 10 pounds as the 123-pound highweight, he did well to re-break in midstretch, and opened up at the five-furlong split in :57.03. The only rival to prevent a gaudy margin was the 6-1 Real News, who rallied to cross the wire 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Abyssinian barely salvaged third from the fast-closing 44-1 shot Vivid Verse. Next came Uncapped, Tobacco Road, Yes I Am Free, Vogt, Mick’s Star, Dom Carlos, Strike Silver, and Joyful Heart.
After clocking 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.92, Bulletin increased his earnings to $655,570 from his three-for-three mark. He’d also scored on debut in a Gulfstream Park stakes retooled as a five-furlong turf dash, the September 29 Hollywood Beach S., so all three outings have come in black-type events. Should connections opt to pursue Royal Ascot, the logical spot would be the June 21 Commonwealth Cup (G1) for sophomores at six furlongs.
Bulletin was bred by CresRan in Kentucky and sold for $250,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. The City Zip colt is out of the Grade 3-winning Woodman mare Sue’s Good News, making him a half-brother to Grade 1 vixen and millionaire Tiz Miz Sue. This is the extended family of multiple Group 1-winning highweight Hawkbill as well as Grade 1 scorer Free Drop Billy.
Quotes from Keeneland
Co-owner WinStar Farm’s President, CEO and Racing Manager Elliott Walden: “Any time you have a (talented) horse at two and they turn three, they don’t always hold their form. His run in the Breeders’ Cup was special, so we were hoping that he would come back good. We’re just real excited to see him come back to the form that he showed in the Breeders’ Cup.”
On the prospects of advancing to Royal Ascot in June: “That’s kind of what we’re looking at. We’ll huddle up with Todd (Pletcher), let him do his job. He did a great job getting (Bulletin) ready for today. The horse was three (lengths) in front at the eighth pole, and I knew he wasn’t going to get beat then. He’s a very talented horse. We’d be honored to go to Royal Ascot.”
Ginny DePasquale, Todd Pletcher’s assistant, on Bulletin: “He always breaks very sharp from the gate and we were hoping he would get a good position, which he did. He was in the perfect spot and we are really pleased with his effort and Javier’s ride. Everything just came together. He has been training exceptionally well in Florida so we would have been disappointed if he didn’t win because he has been doing so well.”
Winning rider Javier Castellano: “This horse did it the right way. He was pretty sharp out of the gate. He’s a special horse. You don’t see too many horses like that. He’s got so much talent. I just enjoyed the ride.”
On expecting Bulletin to pick up down the stretch: “Absolutely. The way he did it in the first part of the race – :22, :45 – I felt like he did it the right way. When I asked him, he responded so well. You have to encourage him a little bit because he’s the kind of horse who looks around a little bit. But this time he put it together. I like the way he did it today.”
Jockey Joel Rosario on runner-up Real News: “He broke sharp and was there with the group. In the turn, he fell back a little bit and they kind of got away from me. Turning for home, he was running. The winner got away a little bit in the turn, and I couldn’t catch him in the end. But (my horse) was running. It was a good race.”
Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez on Abyssinian’s effort in third: “Perfect trip. She broke a little slow, but that was perfect because I knew (Bulletin) is pretty fast and I wanted to make sure I had a target in front of me. But he was too much.”