January 28, 2023

West Will Power makes all in closing day Fayette at Keeneland

West Will Power wins the Fayette Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Encountering no opposition up front, West Will Power set a modest pace and then sped off to a commanding lead in the stretch to capture the $350,000 Fayette S. (G2), the closing day feature of Keeneland’s fall meet on Saturday.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, West Will Power got away with fractions of :25.17, :49.17, and 1:13.93. Drawing off in upper stretch, the Brad Cox trainee passed the wire 6 3/4 lengths in front of stablemate Fulsome, completing nine furlongs over a fast track in 1:50.68.

A homebred racing for Gary and Mary West, West Will Power paid $4.74. Following runner-up Fulsome were Last Samurai, King Fury, and First Captain, who was narrowly favored over West Will Power.

The Fayette was the second win in three starts for West Will Power since joining the Cox stable. Previously with Kelly Breen, West Will Power’s best finish in a stakes for that conditioner was a second-place effort in the 2021 Philip H. Iselin (G3).

“We had to back off of him last fall, he had a couple minor issues,” Cox said. “They were patient and patience pays off in this game.”

West Will Power returned from a 10-month layoff in the Aug. 6 R.A. Cowboy Jones S. at Ellis Park, missing by a head. He rebounded with a wire-to-wire allowance victory at Churchill Downs going 1 1/8 miles in late September.

Bred in Kentucky, West Will Power is a five-year-old by Bernardini and out of the Grade 3-winning Wild Promises, a Wild Event half-sister to Grade 2 scorer Icy Atlantic.

Bryan Station S. (G3)

Balnikhov wins the Bryan Station Stakes at Keeneland (Photo by Coady Photography)

Second time in Kentucky was the charm for California invader Balnikhov, who was up in the final strides to defeat the favored Wit in the $271,088 Bryan Station S. (G3) for three-year-olds on the turf.

Last but one and 11 lengths behind at the quarter pole, Balnikhov put in a sustained rally to edge the 2-1 choice by a neck under Tyler Gaffalione. Wit had a half-length on 18-1 chance on Axthelm.

Owned by the partnership of Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables, and Old Bones Racing, the Phil D’Amato-trained Balnikhov paid $15.28 after completing one mile over the firm turf in 1:35.48.

Runner-up in the American Turf (G2) back in May in his first trip to the bluegrass, Balnikhov was scoring his first graded stakes win in the Bryan Station. Imported from France following a juvenile campaign during which he won three of eight starts, the dark bay gelding missed by a nose in his U.S. debut, the Singletary S. at Santa Anita in early April.

Following the American Turf in May, Balnikhov finished fourth in the Cinema S. back at Santa Anita, won the restricted Oceanside S. at Del Mar, and was most recently fourth as the favorite in the Del Mar Derby (G2).

Bred in Ireland by T. de la Heronnierre and Gestut Zur Kuste, Balnikhov is by Adaay and out of Leeward, by First Defence.

Bowman Mill S.

Super Chow turned the $200,000 Bowman Mill S. into a runaway as the two-year-old colt led from the start and expanded his advantage to five lengths at the finish of the six-furlong dash.

Ridden by Chantal Sutherland, Super Chow covered the course in 1:12.06 and paid $10.96 as the fifth choice in a field of six. Bourbon Bash finished second by 1 3/4 lengths over Raise Cain, who had three parts of a length on favorite Sir Lancelot.

Owned by Lea Farms and trained by Jorge Delgado, Super Chow has now won three of four starts. A winner on debut at Gulfstream on July 2, Super Chow was a distant third in the Saratoga Special (G2) in his next start. He’s now won two in a row, preceding this with a 6 1/4-length allowance win at Pimlico on Sept. 10.

Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, Super Chow is by Lord Nelson and out of Bonita Mia, a Warrior’s Reward half-sister to Grade 1 winner Carina Mia and Miss Match.