Bright One, one of the more exciting 3-year-olds based at Churchill Downs this year, rebounded from an uncharacteristic performance in the Indiana Derby (gr. II) with an authoritative victory in a money allowance event Nov. 2 at his home track.
With Mark Guidry in the saddle, Bright One took command early in the 1 1/16-mile event, got hooked by stalking Little Cliff near the top of the stretch and drew away with ease to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:44.09 on a track rated fast. Little Cliff held second, while I'm Waiting for U checked in third.
During the Churchill spring meet, Bright One (by Dance Brightly) broke his maiden by 9 1/2 lengths and won the one-mile Forestry Handicap by 7 1/4 lengths. Then, in his first race around two turns, the colt won the 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby (gr. III) by an easy 5 3/4 lengths at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort.
The colt missed the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga and was pointed to the Oct. 7 Indiana Derby in the home state of his owners, Carolyn Sue Bruder and Delmar Daubs. Bright One, heavily favored in a 10-horse field, had a rough, wide trip on the seven-furlong track at Hoosier Park and finished seventh, beaten 14 lengths.
Trainer Dale Romans said the colt was closely examined after the race and nothing was found to be wrong. Now, the connections will set their sights on the Nov. 24 Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill.
"The plan was to run him here and wheel back in the Clark," Romans said after the Nov. 2 allowance win. "We wanted to confirm that there's nothing wrong with him, and I think he did that. I couldn't find a thing wrong with him (after the Indiana race). He has been doing great."
Mike Bruder, husband of Carolyn Sue Bruder and breeder of Bright One, said there is no explanation for the colt's Indiana Derby performance, but the comeback effort was more like it.
"Mark (Guidry) said he didn't get after him," Bruder said. "He just took off (in the stretch)."
Bright One pushed his career earnings to $575,074 with fours wins and a second in six starts.