05/01/2009 12:00AM

Bullsbay reels in Cool Coal Man

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Barbara D. Livingston
Bullsbay, with jockey Jeremy Rose up, pulls clear of Cool Coal Man to win the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill.

Bullsbay's non-effort in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park remains a puzzler to trainer Graham Motion, but as long as the 5-year-old horse can deliver performances like he did Friday at Churchill Downs it will be easier to forget.

Under a patient, ground-saving ride by Jeremy Rose, Bullsbay rallied along the rail and outfinished the multiple stakes winner Cool Coal Man to win the Grade 3, $170,400 Alysheba Stakes by three-quarters of a length. It was one length back to longshot Star Guitar, who got third by a nose over Informed. Macho Again, the 5-2 favorite, finished sixth.

It was the first graded stakes victory for Bullsbay, a 5-year-old son of Tiznow owned by Mitchell Ranch LLC, Frank Lewkowitz, and Joe Rice.

"The biggest question for me is why he ran so badly in the Donn," Motion said by phone from Maryland, where he watched the Alysheba on television. "As long as that race was a throw-out I thought he should be very competitive with those horses."

Having watched Calvin Borel win two races earlier on the card along the rail, Rose wanted to get Bullsbay to the inside as quickly as possible. He was able to do that early on, and Bullsbay sat in fifth position while Informed set the pace and was chased by Cool Coal Man.

Rose kept his position even as the field began to bunch up around the far turn. In upper stretch, Cool Coal Man took over from Informed on the outside, but Rose had Bullsbay rallying along the inside. Bullsbay and Cool Coal Man hooked up at the sixteenth pole, with Bullsbay drawing clear late. Bullsbay covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.29 and returned $8.40.

"I had such a big strong horse, I figured if I could get his head in there, as big as he is, even if they tried to make it tight he's going to push them out of the way,'' Rose said.

Now 3 for 3 at Churchill Downs, Bullsbay will try Grade 1 competition again in the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap here on June 13, Motion said.