Steve Asmussen-trained Copper Bullet made his
first start in more than a year Friday at Churchill Downs, and the effort was what owners
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing had anticipated.
It was also enough to point the 3-year-old More Than Ready Colt to the Grade 1, $300,000 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita Park.
“We always thought that if we could get him back in time and if he performed well enough off the layoff, the Malibu was a possibility or consideration. If not that, he’s got his whole 4-year-old year ahead of him,” said Winchell’s racing manager, David Fiske.
“He was a really good horse last year and just had a shin that bothered him, and that’s about it.”
Copper Bullet, the 2017 Saratoga Special (G2) winner, was the
5-2 second choice behind Honorable Treasure in Race 2, an $82,000 seven-furlong
allowance for 3-year-olds and up. He broke a step slow on the rail, but jockey
Ricardo Santana Jr. engaged him in the race early. Copper Bullet moved up to
challenge Wild Shot on the lead before shaking him off and pulling clear.
The final time was 1:21.86.
Wild Shot held for second over Honorable
Treasure and Knights Key.