09/26/2012 3:38PM

Breeders’ Cup Turf: Bourbon Bay suited to the distance

Benoit & Associates
Earlier this year, Bourbon Bay won 2 of 3 starts on turf at Santa Anita.

The 6-year-old Bourbon Bay may try something new this fall – a Breeders’ Cup race.

Trainer Neil Drysdale has the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 as a goal for the seven-time stakes winner. A key test comes in Sunday’s $150,000 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita.

The Grade 2 John Henry, at 1 1/4 miles, is run over a course that Bourbon Bay adores. A gelding owned by Dave and Jill Heerensperger, Bourbon Bay has won 7 of 9 starts at Santa Anita, including six stakes ranging in distance from 1 1/4 miles to about 1 3/4 miles.

At this stage of his career, the John Henry Turf Championship may be too short for Bourban Bay, Drysdale said.

“We know that he’s better over a mile and a half,” Drysdale said. “Provided he runs well, we would be looking to run in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Earlier this year, Bourbon Bay won 2 of 3 starts on turf at Santa Anita. He won the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes over 1 1/2 miles and the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3/4 miles, races he also won in 2010.

After the San Juan Capistrano on April 22, Bourbon Bay was sidelined.

“He had a foot problem after the San Juan,” Drysdale said. “We decided to give him some time off. He’s been training really well.”

The John Henry field also will include Casino Host, winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf Aug. 25. Casino Host is another candidate for the BC Turf, which is run over 1 1/2 miles.

In New York on Saturday, Point of Entry can win his third consecutive Grade 1 stakes in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic over 1 1/2 miles at Belmont Park. Trained by Shug McGaughey, Point of Entry won two Grade 1 stakes in New York earlier this year – the Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park and the Sword Dancer at Saratoga.

Currently, Point of Entry is considered America’s best chance to win the BC Turf, a race that is certain to include participation from European-based runners. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Oct. 7 will provide clues on the European raiding party.

Trailblazer, fourth in the 2011 Japan Cup, is a BC Turf candidate. A 5-year-old, Trailblazer will have a prep race at Santa Anita in the $150,000 Arroyo Seco Mile on turf Oct. 6.