10/08/2010 1:07PM

Z Appeal facing test of two turns

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Z Appeal wins the Chenery Stakes at Colonial Downs.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Dale Romans took some of his best horses to Saratoga this summer, although Paddy O’Prado and First Dude stayed behind to train at his main Churchill Downs base. It may or may not be revealing that a promising 2-year-old turf horse named Z Appeal also stayed in Louisville, although, at the very least, he was keeping excellent company.

“I thought maybe he could learn a little something by watching those good horses,” joked Romans.

Actually, Z Appeal had “a little bit of a bruised foot,” said Romans, after the Ghostzapper colt easily won the Chenery Stakes on the July 17 Virginia Derby undercard at Colonial Downs. Duly healed, Z Appeal will return to action Sunday in a highly contentious 20th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland.

The Bourbon is a Win and You’re In event toward the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 6 at Churchill.

“If he runs big, we’ll run back in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Romans, who won the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf last year at Santa Anita with Tapitsfly for longtime client Frank Jones Jr., the owner of Z Appeal.

Z Appeal, with Kent Desormeaux to ride, is part of a full field – and one of at least a half-dozen viable contenders – in the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon, which directly precedes the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes as the eighth of 10 Sunday races. Unbeaten in two starts, Z Appeal has shown a terrific turn of foot, which he must demonstrate he can carry around two turns.

“That’s the obvious question, how far he can carry that speed,” said Romans.

Most of the opposition has shown ability over a distance of ground, although many will be making their first starts outside of maiden company Sunday. Those notable rivals include Stormy Rush, a decent third in the Grade 3 Summer Stakes at Woodbine; Rough Sailing, runner-up as the favorite in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity; Monzon, a romping allowance winner at Delaware Park; and one-time winners Moment of Weakness, Cozy Kitten, Voodoo Storm, Mesonic, Rogue Romance, Forum, and Banned.

In all, 14 are entered, although only as many as 12 can start. Rough Sailing, who was entered in the Breeders’ Futurity here Saturday, and Banned are the two also-eligibles.