Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) — Race 11 (5:56 p.m. ET)
Tiz the Bomb showed in a controversial edition of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) earlier this month to be the leading two-year-old grass horse based in the U.S. His connections will find out if it will be worth switching gears to the dirt over the winter and point to the Kentucky Derby (G1) if he first outruns 13 rivals in the $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
The 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club not only offers 2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the respective top four finishers, but coincides with Pool 1 of the 2022 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW). Five individual KDFW betting interests are among Saturday’s field, including Tiz the Bomb.
An easy maiden winner in an off-the-turf event at Ellis Park in early July, Tiz the Bomb next won the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile and Bourbon (G2), both over the grass. In the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, the son of Hit It a Bomb rallied late to edge Mackinnon for second in the Juvenile Turf won by English import Modern Games, who raced for purse money only. Tiz the Bomb was the “winner” for pari-mutuel purposes.
“He’s handled really anything we’ve thrown at him so far so going back to the dirt shouldn’t be a problem for him,” McPeek said.
Classic Causeway, an impressive debut winner at Saratoga by more than six lengths, went favored in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last time. Leaving from post 13, Classic Causeway broke fast and set a strong tempo, but weakened late to third behind the McPeek-trained Rattle N Roll.
“He’s always been a horse that breaks sharp from the gate,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “Last out in the Breeders’ Futurity, he was hung wide from the gate and he battled pretty hard on the lead through fast fractions. I thought he gamely held on for third after the field closed in on him.
“Going into this start I’ve been trying to get him to relax a little bit in his training. I’ve worked him behind horses and in company so he doesn’t have to be on the engine.”
Howling Time enters the Kentucky Jockey Club with two wins in as many starts, including a 3 1/4-length decision in the Oct. 31 Street Sense S. over the track and distance.
“(Trainer) Dale (Romans) said he’s doing even better going into this race than the last one,” jockey Joe Talamo said. “He has the right mind to him. Coming out of a sprint in his first start he had every right to get tired going two turns for the first time but he was all class.”
The other KDFW entries in Saturday’s heat are Smile Again, a McPeek-trained son of Runhappy who won first out by 5 1/2 lengths, and the Dallas Stewart-trained Ben Diesel, who scored on debut by 3 1/4 lengths. The latter is a Willis Horton homebred by Will Take Charge.
Others to watch for in the field include a pair of recent allowance winners. White Abarrio invades from Gulfstream, where’s he won both starts by a combined margin of 10 3/4 lengths for trainer Saffie Joseph. Texas Red Hot rebounded on the first Stars of Tomorrow card to win a one-mile allowance after a fourth-place run in the Ellis Park Juvenile.
In the $200,000 Lively Shively S., a 6 1/2-furlong dash for juveniles earlier in the card, the stakes-placed allowance winners Tejano Twist and Chattalot figure to dominate the betting market.