07/30/2011 4:03PM

Del Mar: Bourbon Bay going back to turf

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Benoit & Associates
Bourbon Bay, with Joe Talamo riding, wins the Cougar II.

DEL MAR, Calif - Bourbon Bay, the multiple stakes winner on turf, changed surfaces on Friday and won the $125,000 Cougar II Handicap on Del Mar’s Polytrack synthetic surface in track-record time. It was a temporary surface switch.

After the race, trainer Neil Drysdale said that Bourbon Bay will revert to turf for his next start, most likely the $200,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on Aug. 28.

“We wanted to get his confidence back up,” Drysdale said. “We thought this race would suit him.”

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Bourbon Bay ($6.40) closed from fifth in a field of seven to win by 2 3/4 lengths over pacesetter Dahoud. Setsuko, the 3-2 favorite, finished third after racing alongside Bourbon Bay on the turn.

Bourbon Bay ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:29.39, lowering Temple City’s stakes and track record of 2:30.46 set in 2010. “He quickened,” Drysdale said. “It’s nice to see him have a good trip.”

The winner of the Cougar II Handicap received a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Marathon on the main track at Churchill Downs in November, but Drysdale said that race was not in the plans for Bourbon Bay, who races for David and Jill Heerensperger.

“He’s more of a turf horse,” Drysdale said.

BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners »

The Cougar II Handicap was Bourbon Bay’s first win since the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes on turf at Santa Anita in January and his fifth career stakes win. Between those races, Bourbon Bay lost four turf races, including an 11th-place finish in the $5 million Sheema Classic in Dubai in March and a fourth in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 2.

Bourbon Bay won for the first time on a synthetic track in the Cougar II, having finished fourth in the 2009 Sham Stakes on a synthetic track at Santa Anita. A 5-year-old gelding, Bourbon Bay has won 7 of 20 starts and $684,424.