08/04/2017 10:46AM

Bound for Nowhere seeks redemption in Prix Maurice de Gheest

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Bound for Nowhere wins an April 20 allowance at Keeneland.

Bound for Nowhere had a rude introduction to European racing at Royal Ascot in June, finishing a troubled fourth in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup for 3-year-old sprinters.

Following that race, Bound for Nowhere was sent back to trainer Wesley Ward’s Kentucky base. He worked so well in July that Ward put the colt back on a plane for France last week, targeting Sunday’s Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf at Deauville Racecourse.

The clincher was a five-furlong workout on turf in 1:00.40 at Keeneland on July 25. Ward said Bound for Nowhere worked in company with the stakes winner Undrafted and finished in front of his workout partner.

“I own him, and I wouldn’t come over unless I thought I had a big chance,” Ward said by phone from France on Thursday.

“He’s done everything right. The last time I breezed him, he was an easygoing guy. He’s like a pony to gallop.”

Undrafted, who won the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, is entered in Sunday’s Troy Stakes at Saratoga.

Bound for Nowhere has won 2 of 3 starts, beginning with a maiden race at Turfway Park in January and an allowance race for turf sprinters at Keeneland in April. In the Commonwealth Cup on a straightaway course, Bound for Nowhere raced in traffic at a pivotal point in the final furlong and was beaten by 4 1/4 lengths by Caravaggio, the heavy favorite.

Caravaggio, trained by Aidan O’Brien, is the odds-on favorite for the $449,500 Prix Maurice de Gheest. Caravaggio has won 6 of 7 starts, losing for the first time when fourth in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket Racecourse in England on July 15, his first start outside of his age group.

The Prix Maurice de Gheest will be the first start against older horses for Bound for Nowhere, who was a 12-1 shot with European bookmakers as of Thursday.

Signs of Blessing, the 2016 Prix Maurice de Gheest winner, and Rosa Imperial, a 4-year-old filly trained by Andre Fabre who is unbeaten in three starts, are two other contenders.

Ward is fully aware of the difficult assignment Bound for Nowhere faces.

“It’s a tough race, like any Grade 1 would be,” Ward said. “He’s coming into the race very good, especially now that’s he’s run on a straight course.”