12/26/2015 7:39PM

Bullards Alley charges late to win Woodchopper

Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Bullards Alley wins the Woodchopper Stakes by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Tim Glyshaw entered Bullards Alley in an allowance race and in the Woodchopper Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds, and when the Woodchopper was rained off turf, Glyshaw chose the stakes over the allowance. Good call. Saving ground all the way under Marcelino Pedroza, Bullards Alley ran down Oak Brook in the final strides and won the $75,000 Woodchopper by three-quarters of a length.

Glyshaw said Bullards Alley is being pointed to the $200,000 John Connally Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on turf Jan. 30 at Sam Houston, and he mainly was looking for the right race to serve as a stepping-stone to that spot.

“We needed a race to bide our time until the end of January,” Glyshaw said. “The big worry today was going one mile.”

Bullards Alley actually appeared to have little trouble keeping up with fractions of 24.34 seconds and 47.78 set by Oak Brook and Chilango, the former on the rail and the latter in the two path.

“He doesn’t want to be close, but I put him close, and after that, I got a perfect trip,” said Pedroza.

Indeed, Bullards Alley saved ground all the way around the track, came one path off the fence to tackle Oak Brook after turning into the homestretch, and pushed past just in time to get up in a one-mile race ending at the sixteenth pole. Oak Brook, making his first start since May 30, stayed on well to finish second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Belomor. The winner ran one mile on a muddy, sealed track in 1:38.64 and paid $10.80 to win.

Bullards Alley, by Flower Alley out of Flower Forest, is owned by Wayne Spalding and Faron McCubbins. He won for the third time in 13 races and pushed his career earnings near $150,000, not bad for a 3-year-old that cost just $11,000 at auction.