Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
The last time Katherine Ball’s Limousine Liberal trained at Keeneland and shipped to New York, he won a seven-furlong graded stakes in capturing the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship by a neck on . Trainer Ben Colebrook said he’s hoping the 6-year-old gelding follows suit in Grade 1, $600,000 Forego, one of six Grade 1 races on a stacked Travers Day card.
The ultra-consistent Limousine Liberal has finished on the board in his last 11 starts dating to 2016 and has won six of his last 10 starts overall, including a victory by a head over fellow Forego contender Warrior’s Club in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs at seven furlongs on . After stretching out to a mile in running third in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day , the Kentucky homebred returned to Belmont’s Big Sandy for a come-from-behind win by a neck over Whitmore in the Belmont Sprint Championship.
“I think every time you lead him out there, you can count on him giving you his best effort,” Colebrook said. “The times he hasn’t, it’s probably my fault and not his. He’s a very consistent horse and lays it on the line every time. He’s a very neat horse to be around.
“He’s doing great; his last two works have been phenomenal heading into the race,” he added. “He got a bit of a mini break coming off Belmont. We’re just expecting a good effort.”
Limousine Liberal drew the rail in the eight-horse Forego. He was installed as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind 9-5 favorite City of Light and will have jockey Jose Ortiz in the irons.
“The post is what it is; I probably wouldn’t have chosen 1, but he has won from there before [including the Belmont Sprint]. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of speed, so maybe he can get a good break,” Colebrook said. “There’s not a whole lot of pace, so maybe he’ll be a little closer than he normally is, but that will be up to Jose.”
Limousine Liberal is 5-2-1 in 10 career starts at the Forego distance, which Colebrook said suits his running style.
“As he’s gotten older, seven furlongs might be his best distance,” Colebrook said. “Earlier on, I would have said 6 to 6 ½ because he was just such a fast horse. Now, he’s learned to restrain his energy a little bit and come with that run late. As an older horse, he knows where the wire is. He’s always battling at the end in all his races and really lays it on the line. He’s been an amazing horse for us.”
A “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, the Forego could allow Limousine Liberal to punch his ticket to another Grade 1 held near Colebrook’s base of operations in Kentucky, with Churchill hosting the two-day event in November.
“We stayed close to home and let him win a bunch of races last year and get some confidence with the idea of the Breeders’ Cup being in his backyard as a 6-year-old,” Colebrook said, “so we really just focused and tried to figure out the best way of getting him there,” Colebrook said.