Churchill: Asmussen Juveniles Poised For Closing Night Stakes

Trainer Steve Asmussen has sent most of his Churchill Downs string of horses to Saratoga for the summer but a pair of impressive juveniles, Copper Bullet and She’s a Julie, remain and look to jumpstart their careers with stakes victories in Friday night’s $ 100,000 Bashford Manor Presented by GE Appliances (Grade III) and $ 100,000 Debutante Presented by Finlandia Vodka (Listed), respectively.

The Bashford Manor – one of Churchill Downs’ most storied races – kick-starts the closing night stakes tripleheader in Race 6 at approximately 8:30 p.m. The $ 100,000 Debutante, a listed six-furlong event for 2-year-old fillies, goes as Race 8 at 9:39 p.m. The $ 70,000-added Kelly’s Landing, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, is scheduled as Race 10 at 10:42 p.m.

Copper Bullet, listed as the 8-5 favorite on Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds, was an eight-length victor in his second career start on May 25 at Churchill Downs under jockey Florent Geroux.

“We won very easily that day,” Geroux said. “We had a bit of a tough trip in the debut but at Churchill he won very impressively.”

The $ 200,000 Keeneland September Sale purchase recorded one of the nation’s top speed figures for juveniles when he won the second race of his career, a five-furlong maiden special weight in :57.76.

“He actually looks like a 3-year-old,” said Churchill Downs’ official clocker John Nichols, who observes and records all workouts between 6-10 a.m. daily. “He’s just a big, good-looking, strapping colt. He’s got a lot of size to him. He’s one I think that might kind of like the grass down the line but the way he won his second start here … he cleared that easy and the rider (Geroux) just really never asked him.

“He’s come back and trained well since. He’s been working head-and-head the last three weeks with She’s a Julie, who Asmussen is putting in the Debutante; she’s a nice filly – probably his best at this time of the year right now.”

The Bashford Manor field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): I’m Corfu (Arienne Cox, 12-1); Hardworkcleanlivin (Channing Hill, 6-1); Mo Diddley (Corey Lanerie, 5-2); Fig Jelly (Sophie Doyle, 12-1); Copper Bullet (Geroux, 8-5); and Ten City (Albarado, 2-1).

Whispering Oaks Farm’s She’s a Julie, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Elusive Quality who won a five-furlong maiden special weight sprint by 5 ¼ lengths on May 26, was named in honor of Asmussen’s wife Julie, who was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer in September 2015. After months of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, Julie Asmussen was cancer-free in March 2016.

“She’s a very special horse,” Asmussen said. “I think she has a bright future in front of her.”

The $ 160,000 Keeneland September Sale purchase was Asmussen’s 600th victory at Churchill Downs.

The Debutante field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line): Sunny Skies (Robby Albarado, 4-1); Rockin Royalty (Channing Hill, 20-1); Upset Brewing (Shaun Bridgmohan, 20-1); Red Dread (Arienne Cox, 30-1); Caroline the Great (Eddie Martin Jr., 20-1); She’s a Julie (Geroux, 4-1); Patrona Margarita (Chris Landeros, 8-1); Genuwine (Sophie Doyle, 50-1); Amberspatriot (Paco Lopez, 7-2); Therighttobeararms (James Graham, 30-1); Lady O’Toole (Corey Lanerie, 9-2); Chelada (Jesus Castanon, 30-1); and Waki Patriot (Jon Court, 5-1).

Racing – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

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