09/11/2012 2:36PM

Louisiana Downs: Java’s War, Brown Almighty likely to meet again at Keeneland

Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Java's War (left) beats out Brown Almighty in the Sunday Silence Stakes.

Java’s War and Brown Almighty, who finished a neck apart in the $150,000 Sunday Silence last Saturday at Louisiana Downs, will likely have a rematch at Keeneland. The Grade 3, $150,000 Bourbon at 1 1/16 miles on turf is the next spot penciled in for both horses, their trainers said Tuesday. The Bourbon is Oct. 7, and it is a Win and You’re In race, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Java’s War earned a stout Beyer Speed Figure of 83 for his win in the Sunday Silence, a one-mile turf race in which he closed from eighth to catch Brown Almighty. Java’s War covered the distance in 1:36.60. The win was the second in three starts for Java’s War, who won his maiden at a mile on turf and before that was fifth in a maiden special weight turf sprint won by eventual Tyro Stakes winner Rip Roarin Ritchie.

“He’s always done everything right,” said Ken McPeek, who trains the Churchill-based Java’s War for the horse’s breeder, Charles Fipke. “I needed to get him stretched out on the turf. The last two races were perfect. More than likely, we’ll point towards the Bourbon at Keeneland. If not, we may try the Breeders’ Futurity.”

The $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity on the main track at Keeneland on Oct. 6 is a Win and You’re In for the $2 million BC Juvenile on Nov. 3.

McPeek said the BC Juvenile Turf might suit Java’s War better than the Juvenile.

“I would say the grass would be better for the female family, but I won’t rule out the dirt,” he said. “I’ve got to discuss it with Mr. Fipke. My preference is the grass right now.”

Brown Almighty suffered his first loss in the Sunday Silence. He was the favorite off a pair of turf route wins, the $50,000 Sunny’s Halo at Louisiana Downs and a maiden special weight at Arlington Park. Brown Almighty returned Monday morning to his Arlington base, said his trainer, Tim Ice.

“We’ll get him ready for the Bourbon,” said Ice.

Brown Almighty was moved to the lead on the first turn of the Sunday Silence after some of his rivals drifted out, and he proceeded to set a strong pace before being caught near the wire. Ice felt the swift opening quarter-mile of 22.80 seconds took its toll late on Brown Almighty.

“He was rushed up on the lead in the first turn, and that’s not how he runs,” said Ice. “The horse ran a heck of a race. It’s a tough loss. [But] he got another race, got more experience.”

Brown Almighty is the first stakes winner for his sire, Big Brown. In the Bourbon he will likely be ridden by Francisco Torres, said Ice. Torres was aboard Brown Almighty for his maiden win, while Mark Guidry has ridden the horse in his two starts at Louisiana Downs.

Gantry still likely for BC

In the immediate wake of Gantry’s surprising loss at 1-5 in the $50,000 Temperence Hill last Saturday at Louisiana Downs, his trainer, Ron Faucheux, said the horse was “not a definite” to advance to the $1.5 million BC Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. But after reviewing the race, which he said he would before making a final decision, Faucheux is now more open to the BC.

“It’s still undetermined,” he said Tuesday, “but I think it’s more than likely that we’ll head that way.”

Gantry won the Grade 2, $400,000 Smile Sprint prior to the Temperence Hill, a race that was his first out in two months and that was meant to serve as his prep for the BC. He raced along the rail to the late stages, sitting in third behind the eventual winner, Delaunay, who controlled the pace. For his effort, Gantry earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

“We know what he’s capable of doing,” said Faucheux. “He was the same horse going into this race as the last one, I feel. It’s just circumstances didn’t put him in the winner’s circle. The horse that beat him is a nice old horse. That horse was capable of running a big race and big numbers, and to close on a horse like that with such a slow pace would be difficult for almost any horse to do.

“When you look at it as a whole, this race was meant to be a prep,” Faucheux said. “If we continue and go to the Breeders’ Cup, it’s a perfect prep. He came out of the race fine. We didn’t change his running style. He’s the same horse that won the Smile by five lengths and won going 1:08 and 2 at Fair Grounds.”

◗ Trainer Scotty McNair will attempt to win his ninth consecutive race when she sends out first-time starter Cagun Show Girl in the third on Thursday at Louisiana Downs.