10/07/2011 1:29PM

Keeneland: Maiden win stamps Monastic contender in wide-open Bourbon

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes is not one of the many Win and You’re In races that Keeneland was hosting on a three-day “FallStars Weekend” that opened the fall meet, but it might as well be. The depth of this edition of the Bourbon, combined with the relative inexperience of 2-year-olds specializing in turf, figures to make its winner an automatic contender for the BC Juvenile Turf.

Not that Tom Proctor – who will send out one of the top threats Sunday for the $150,000 Bourbon in a gelding named Monastic – much cares.

“I’m really not into preps and such,” said Proctor. “I’m into winning the race right in front of me.”

Monastic, with Garrett Gomez to ride from post 4, comes off a 3 1/2-length maiden romp over the Arlington turf and looks as good any in a wide-open running of the 1 1/16-mile turf race, which drew a field of 13, including one also-eligible. Monastic, by Rock Hard Ten, is out of the mare Motokiks, which makes him a half-brother to stakes winners Keertana and Snow Top Music.

“He doesn’t look like any of them,” said Proctor. “But they all have one quality in common. They all can run.”

Another top threat in the Bourbon is Here Come Frazier, who earned a field-high 88 Beyer Speed Figure in winning a Polytrack sprint at Arlington in his lone start. Trainer Ken McPeek said he is not altogether sure about the colt switching into a turf route, “but he trains like any kind of horse and acts like he’ll run on anything.” McPeek said he opted for the Bourbon after the colt was excluded from the Breeders’ Futurity on Saturday and a projected allowance race did not fill.

Yet one more key possibility is Lucky Chappy, a two-time winner in Italy making his stateside debut for Team Valor International.

Other logical threats in the 21st Bourbon include Animal Spirits and Gold Megillah, both narrowly beaten in maiden turf routes in New York; Burn the Mortgage and Splendiferous, both decent fifths in recent graded turf stakes; and Smart Ellis, a maiden winner on the Del Mar turf.

The Bourbon (5:13 p.m. Eastern post) directly precedes the Grade 1 Spinster as the eighth of 10 Sunday races. First run in 1991 as the Hopemont Stakes, the Bourbon counts Gio Ponti (2007) as its most accomplished winner. The 2010 winner was Rogue Romance, trained by McPeek.