Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Bravazo, the only horse other than Justify to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown, also showed up to compete in the Haskell (G1), Travers (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G1).
In next month’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, the son of Awesome Again will give an edge in experience, but not necessarily seasoning, to his older rivals. And this time, he’ll get to stay home and run at Churchill Downs, which trainer D. Wayne Lukas “always” considers an advantage.
“What’ll happen in the Classic is, horses coming from all over the country have had things pretty much their own way in a lot of those races,” Lukas said. “When they all get in there together, there will be a little pressure early in the race, and some of those horses will have to reach for their hole card that last eighth of a mile.”
It’s in deep stretch that Lukas hopes to see Bravazo closing strong, and the 3-year-old colt is giving indictions he’s ready.
“He looked very good,” Lukas said of a five-furlong Wednesday work. “He’s always been a good work horse. I don’t know how that stacks up with how the rest of them worked, but we lie to you guys all the time. No matter how they work, it’s always a good work.”
The time confirmed it as Bravazo, a Calumet Farm homebred, recorded the bullet breeze for 5/8 of a mile in a minute flat.
Bravazo has banked more than $1.1 million in earnings, with his season highlights a win in Fair Grounds’ Risen Start (G2), plus a rallying runner-up finish just a half length behind Justify in the Preakness Stakes. He missed the board last out in the Pennsylvania Derby at nine furlongs.
“I think he could be a little bit effective because of the extra eighth of a mile,” Lukas said of the Nov. 3 Classic. “The mile and a quarter is going to help him a little bit. He’s a grinder and he closes.”
Bravazo also appeared recently as a nominee to Keeneland’s Oct. 27 Fayette Stakes (G2), which Lukas called the “backup plan.”
The Hall of Fame trainer plans to saddle a second Breeders’ Cup contender in Warrior’s Club, who he has pointing to the Dirt Mile going around one turn.
“It’s an elongated sprint in a lot of ways,” Lukas said, “and I don’t think he has enough tactical speed, probably, to stay with those sprinters.”
Campaigned by the Churchill Downs Racing Club, 4-year-old Warrior’s Club was sixth in Churchill’s Ack Ack Stakes (G3) but earlier this year broke through to win Keeneland’s Commonwealth (G3) for his first graded stakes score.