10/06/2013 4:08PM

Keeneland: Poker Player gets Catalano another stakes win in Bourbon

Coady Photography
The gray Poker Player (left) pulls a 23-1 upset under Channing Hill in the Bourbon Stakes on Sunday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Neither rain nor a drop in temperature at Keeneland could cool off trainer Wayne Catalano, one of the hottest trainers in North America in recent weeks. Amid dreary weather, Catalano was a winner again Sunday when Poker Player rallied for a 23-1 upset in the 23rd running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Bourbon Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race transferred from turf to the main Polytrack surface because of the weather.

“We’ve been really fortunate to be sending out some live horses,” said Catalano, easily the leading trainer at the recent Arlington Park and Kentucky Downs meets. “This one was a nice one.”

Poker Player, ridden by Channing Hill, returned $48.40 after finishing in 1:43.46.

Bashart, winner of the With Anticipation on the Saratoga turf in his last start and the 5-2 second choice, got the best of the rest after racing near the lead. The Todd Pletcher-trained Bashert finished a length behind the winner and a nose before 34-1 shot Bon Accord in a field of 13 2-year-olds. Boji Moon, an Iowa-bred colt sent off the 2-1 favorite, was part of the pace before fading to sixth for his first career defeat in four starts.

Poker Play, a gray Harlan’s Holiday colt owned by Gary and Mary West, “really put me in a good spot,” said Hill, a 26-year-old Nebraska native who was posting his first Keeneland stakes victory. “It got a little jumbled down the backside, but when I tipped him out, I knew he would be real tough to beat.”

Poker Play was coming off a maiden victory at Kentucky Downs in his second career start.

The Bourbon was supposed to be a Win and You’re In race toward the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, but according to Breeders’ Cup rules, the berth was rescinded because of the switch in surfaces. Still, Catalano said he thought the Wests and racing manager Benny Glass will want to take a shot at the BC Juvenile Turf.

The $2 exacta (10-5) paid $237.40; the $1 trifecta (10-5-8) returned $3,083.40; and the 10-cent superfecta (10-5-8-3) was worth a whopping $3,823.49.