11/27/2008 1:00AM

Bourbon Bay needs more focus


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A late burst of speed nearly carried Bourbon Bay to victory in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on Nov. 6. After running erratically on the turn, he made up more than five lengths in the final furlong of the one-mile turf race to miss by a head.

For Saturday's $100,000 Generous Stakes, Bourbon Bay will be fitted with blinkers for the first time. The equipment change may be what the 2-year-old gelding needs to stay focused through the one-mile turf race.

The recent loss was a frustration for trainer Neil Drysdale and jockey Garrett Gomez.

"Garrett said he didn't want to go around the turn for some reason," said John O'Donoghue, Drysdale's assistant. "He closed well in the stretch."

Owned by David and Jill Heerensperger, Bourbon Bay made his first start for Drysdale in that optional claimer. Bourbon Bay was pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, but did not start after developing mucus, O'Donoghue said.

"We thought the extra time would help," he said.

Bourbon Bay has run exclusively on turf in his four-race career. His lone win came in a one-mile maiden race at Ellis Park on Aug. 16, his second start.

In the Generous Stakes, Bourbon Bay is part of a field of eight. With Gomez riding in New York on Saturday, jockey Rafael Bejarano has the mount.

Bourbon Bay may not be favored. Bittel Road, winner of turf stakes at Saratoga and Keeneland earlier this year, may be the choice. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Bittel Road finished eighth in the BC Juvenile Turf. Bittel Road was near the front until the final furlong when he faded to finish 6 3/4 lengths behind Donativum.

Bittel Road will have pace to follow from Mr. Rod, winner of a six-furlong maiden race on turf here Nov. 1. Trained by Dan Hendricks, Mr. Rod was second in the Barretts Juvenile Stakes at Fairplex Park in September, his only other stakes appearance.

Hendricks said he would have preferred to run Mr. Rod in an allowance race for turf sprinters, but did not expect one to be offered.

The Generous will be the U.S. debut of Battle of Hastings. Now trained by Jeff Mullins, Battle of Hastings won consecutive minor handicaps in England in August and September.