07/01/2017 6:46AM

Ten City takes advantage of clean trip to win Bashford Manor

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Coady Photography/Churchill Downs
Ten City wins the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes on Friday, the first of three stakes wins on the card for jockey Robby Albarado and the first of three straight victories for trainer Ken McPeek.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bettors thought the Bashford Manor Stakes was a two-horse race, and they were right. Ten City, the 1-2 favorite, was a decisive winner over 7-5 second choice Copper Bullet, although the final margin probably could have been closer.

Take nothing away, however, from Ten City, who did little wrong Friday night in a 1 1/2-length triumph in the 116th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs. Always in the clear while Copper Bullet kept finding trouble, Ten City validated a flashy maiden win for owner Tommie Lewis and trainer Kenny McPeek.

“He was there when I needed him,” said winning jockey Robby Albarado, who recorded his first stakes victory since returning from injury June 8. “He outran a good one. I think you’ll see both these horses up the road somewhere.”

Ten City returned $3 after beating four other 2-year-olds, finishing six furlongs in 1:10.45 over a fast track.

Copper Bullet rushed up to engage longshot I’m Corfu down the backstretch, and had to check behind that rival at the quarter pole after momentarily conceding him the lead on the turn. By then, Ten City was in full flight on the outside, and Copper Bullet couldn't regain his momentum in time.

Copper Bullet finished 6 3/4 lengths ahead of third-finisher Hardworkcleanlivin, who was followed by Fig Jelly and I'm Corfu. Mo Diddley was an early scratch.

Florent Geroux was aboard Copper Bullet, trained by Steve Asmussen. Geroux said his mount did not run off with him in the opening quarter-mile and that it was his own decision to go on the attack.

“It didn’t work out the way we’d hoped,” said Asmussen. “He’s a good horse, we know that. We’ll go on to the next stop.”

Whereas the next stop for Copper Bullet figures to be one of the graded stakes at the Saratoga meet, those races are unlikely for Ten City. McPeek said he is intent on bypassing Saratoga to wait on the Iroquois, a Win and You’re In event to be run at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 16 at Churchill.

“My job is to teach this horse how to rate, and he’s been doing really well in his training,” said McPeek. “I’m not going to completely rule out Saratoga, but waiting for the Iroquois is my first instinct. We don’t need to get in any hurry with him.”

Ten City, by Run Away and Hide, was a seven-length winner of his April 19 debut at Keeneland. Bred by the Phillips Racing Partnership, the dark bay colt was purchased for a mere $12,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sales last October.

For Albarado, the graded win was his first since he rode Purely a Dream for McPeek in the Bourbonette Oaks on the March 25 Spiral card at Turfway Park. The 43-year-old veteran was sidelined nearly seven weeks after suffering a fractured tibia and fibula in an April 23 spill at Keeneland.

The Bashford Manor was the first of three stakes on closing night of the 38-day Churchill spring meet. The race has been contested by six eventual Kentucky Derby winners, the latest being Grindstone in 1995.

The $2 exacta (6-5) paid $4 and the $1 trifecta (6-5-2) returned $3.60.