Balance the Books broke last and picked off all 11 horses on his way to glory in the eventful Grade 3, $150,000 Bourbon at Keeneland on Sunday. The son of Lemon Drop Kid went off as the heavy 4-5 favorite and managed to overcome being bumped in the stretch to pay $3.80, $2.80 and $2.40 to his backers.
The Chad Brown-trained two-year-old had to overcome being angled outside in the stretch as the second-place finisher Really Sharp swerved out noticeably with a furlong to go, disrupting the race. The bay colt seemed to brush off the incident as he kept on charging and was able to pull off the win by a nose in a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
"He's a wonderful horse, wonderful owners -- Seth Klarman (Klaravich Stables) and Bill Lawrence," Brown said. "All three of this horse's races have been good. He is a Keeneland sales grad; got him here in the spring and brought him back here and won a stakes. It's been great.
"This horse is getting bigger and stronger, and it's on to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf."
Balance the Books chased the field and pacesetter Road Agent, who posted fractions of :23, :47 2/5 and 1:13 2/5. The eventual winner was able to cover 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:45 with Julien Leparoux aboard.
"He's a very nice horse," Leparoux said. "He didn't break too sharp today, but he was relaxed and he made his run like he usually does."
An inquiry was posted after the race concerning Really Sharp's interference in the stretch run with several rivals. The stewards disqualified Really Sharp from second to sixth for the incidence, allowing Brown Almighty to move up to second and Sonofasamurai to third. Summit County, Strike the Note, Fredericksburg, Roman's Avenue, Ruler of Love, Slamarama, Army Hero and Road Agent rounded out the order of finish.
"(The bumping) hindered me a lot," said Francisco Torres, rider of Brown Almighty. "Inside the eighth-pole we had dead aim on them and all of a sudden we had the room taken away from us and it stopped his momentum. He picked it up once we were clear."
Balance the Books broke his maiden last time out in only his second career start in the Grade 2 With Anticipation. Now with back-to-back graded wins he increased his lifetime earnings to $227,000. He has hit the board in all three of his starts and has a career line that now reads 3-2-1-0.
Bred by Scott C. Heider and Knowles Bloodstock in Kentucky, the bay colt was purchased as a Keeneland September yearling for $37,000 before being sold as a Keeneland April two-year-old in training for $160,000.
Balance the Books is out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Kreisleriana, and his second dam is Irish and German champion Kooyanga. Her other descendants include multiple Louisiana-bred stakes scorer Reyina and classic-placed Princess Sinead, the third-place finisher in this season's Group 1 Irish One Thousand Guineas. Further back in the family, one finds South African champion Kundalini, ancestress of Grade 2 queen Diamond Diva; Group 3 winners Lime Gardens and Experience; and Roland Gardens, hero of the Group 1 Two Thousand Guineas in 1978.