10/10/2010 4:52PM

Rogue Romance spurts from last to first in Bourbon

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Rogue Romance displayed a good closing kick under Julien Leparoux to win the Bourbon Stakes.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rogue Romance rallied from last to show a welcome new dimension and earn a trip to the Breeders’ Cup with a clear-cut victory Sunday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland.

With Julien Leparoux in non-panic mode, Rogue Romance was shuffled back at the start before settling into a nice rhythm, saving ground on the far turn when commencing his rally, then blowing past the field when widest of all to stamp his ticket to the Nov. 6 BC Juvenile Turf, for which the Bourbon served as a Win and You’re In event.

“He was very relaxed,” said Leparoux. “I was very impressed with him. He’s got a nice kick.”

Rogue Romance, owned and co-bred by Catesby Clay, returned $8.80 as a tepid favorite in a field of 12 2-year-olds, finishing the 1 1/16-mile turf race in 1:42.78. Cozy Kitten, the 7-2 second choice was second, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner, with Ocasta, an 82-1 shot, another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Rogue Romance, a chestnut Kentucky-bred by Smarty Jones, was exiting a maiden win over the Saratoga turf, a two-turn race in which the colt was on or near the lead throughout.

“I’m not convinced that grass is his only game, but he does have the two-turn thing down pat,” said winning trainer Ken McPeek. Asked whether he would go on and run in the Juvenile Turf, McPeek laughed and said: “I guess we’re in.”

This was the 20th running of the Bourbon, which has won three years ago by Gio Ponti. McPeek won a 1998 division with Pineaff.