July 14, 2024

Tiz the Bomb, Averly Jane book Breeders’ Cup tickets at Keeneland

Tiz The Bomb wins the Bourbon Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Favorites obliged in Sunday’s $200,000 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races for turf juveniles at Keeneland, but Averly Jane had a more straightforward time in the Indian Summer S. than Tiz the Bomb did in the Bourbon (G2).

Bourbon (G2)

Backers of 2.90-1 favorite Tiz the Bomb had to be worried when he broke through the gate prior to the start. The Ken McPeek pupil strode out in a fit of exuberance, but jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. minimized his energy loss and brought him back to be re-loaded. That proved a clutch save, for Tiz the Bomb went on to earn his free pass to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

“It’s not a good omen, typically, and yeah, it makes a trainer nervous when it happens,” McPeek said, “but Brian did a great job wrangling him up and keeping him under control. It’s worse if he comes off or something like that. This horse has got a lot of talent and we’re fortunate to have a guy like Brian who handles things on the oval. He does a great job.”

Hernandez explained what happened:

“We were ready, we were set up, and as the last horse was walking in, I turned his head to set him to where we could leave the gate in good order. When he did he got a little anxious and just charged forward one step and the gate popped open.

“Most of the time when that happens horses have a hard time recovering from it, but when we finally reloaded and he left the gate in good order the second time, we were able to get around the first turn in good order. I was really confident in him, and he took care of it from there.”

By Hit It a Bomb, who won the Juvenile Turf here in 2015, Tiz the Bomb was well placed in fourth early as Heaven Street rattled off splits of :22.94 and :47.54 on the good course. When the leader reached six furlongs in 1:12.86, however, Tiz the Bomb began to lose position.

Red Danger passed him on the outside, and Credibility cut the corner on his inside flank. If appearances suggested that Tiz the Bomb was tiring from his extracurricular activity, Hernandez later revealed that it was pure inexperience that found him out around the second turn.

Meanwhile, Play Action Pass took over from a weakening Heaven Street swinging for home, and fellow stalker Dowagiac Chief was also on the move. But they were overhauled in turn by the surging Red Danger.

Then Tiz the Bomb got himself organized. Gaining momentum in deep stretch, the Phoenix Thoroughbred colt drove clear to complete 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.69.

Stolen Base flashed home from far back to take second, just three-quarters of a length off the winner, and boost his Breeders’ Cup credentials. Credibility kept on another half-length back in third, relegating Red Danger to fourth. Dowagiac Chief wound up fifth, followed by Rocket One; Play Action Pass; McPeek’s other runner, Lucky Boss; On Thin Ice; Brit’s Wit; Martini’nmoonshine; Heaven Street; Fast N Steady; and the tailed-off Waita Minute Hayes. Also-eligibles Red Run and Vivar did not draw into the field.

Tiz the Bomb was extending his winning streak to three, after a 14 1/4-length off-the-turf maiden conquest at Ellis Park and the Sept. 6 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile. His scorecard stands at 4-3-0-0, $447,841.

McPeek was celebrating a second “Win and You’re In” victory of FallStars Weekend, after Rattle N Roll’s convincing display in Saturday’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1). Although he has mentioned the possibility of skipping the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) with Rattle N Roll, Tiz the Bomb is more intent on advancing to Del Mar for the Juvenile Turf.

“I think for this horse, definitely the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Turf) is ideal,” McPeek said. “Everything happens for a reason. You could have made the case that Tiz the Bomb could have run yesterday for sure, and Rattle N Roll – of course, they’re apples and oranges. It’s a high-level problem we’ve got right now. We’re just going to enjoy this, relish the moment and make those decisions as we get closer.”

Bred by Spendthrift Farm, the home of sire Hit It a Bomb, Tiz the Bomb was purchased by McPeek for $330,000 as a Fasig-Tipton yearling. His dam, Tiz the Key, is a daughter of Tiznow and the multiple stakes-placed A.P. Indy mare Cabbage Key.

Indian Summer S.

Averly Jane wins the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland (Photo by Coady Photography)

Wesley Ward has won the past two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), and the trainer will be well represented again after unbeaten Averly Jane dominated the Indian Summer. Stablemate Kaufymaker rallied up the rail to make it a Ward exacta.

The 9-10 favorite in her turf debut, Averly Jane broke on top and never looked back. Tyler Gaffalione guided the daughter of Midshipman through swift fractions of :21.64 and :44.50, and she held sway by three lengths. Averly Jane finished 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.65, a stakes record since the Indian Summer was re-established as a turf sprint in 2018.

Kaufymaker, the 3.20-1 second choice, edged the 47.50-1 Circle Back Jack by a neck in a blanket finish for the minors. Also necks apart were Detroit City and Pure Panic in fourth and fifth, respectively. Next came Roman Poet, Big Boss Ben, Bonus Appreciation, and Diamond City. Sonnyisnotsofunny was withdrawn.

Now 4-for-4 by a combined margin of 22 1/4 lengths, Averly Jane has bankrolled $313,140. The Hat Creek Racing runner aired in her debut on the Keeneland main track in April and beat the boys in the Kentucky Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Averly Jane wasn’t seen again until Saratoga, when the Aug. 20 Skidmore S. was supposed to be her turf audition. But the Skidmore was transferred to the Spa’s main oval, and she romped in wire-to-wire style.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Gaffalione said of her surface versatility. “She’s just a quality filly. She’s got a tremendous amount of speed, and she just keeps going. She’s one of the fastest (out of the gate) I’ve ever been on. She almost throws you in the back seat. She’s a lot of fun.”

Averly Jane was bred by the University of Kentucky and sold for $35,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling. She is a half-sister to Chattel, who won the Skidmore in 2018. They were produced by the Richter Scale mare Sh Sh Shakin’ from the family of 1998 Dewhurst (G1) star Mujahid. Further back on the page come Grade 1 heroes Graydar and Ron the Greek as well as millionaire Musket Man.