Phipps Stable’s Boisterous, winner of the Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) and Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIT) this summer, is looking to get back to the winner’s circle in the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park Sept. 7 following a rare dismal performance in the Sword Dancer Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 17.
The 6-year-old son of Distorted Humor–Emanating, by Cox’s Ridge had won four of six starts, with two seconds (all graded stakes) beginning last October, which made his Sword Dancer all the more perplexing.
Boisterous, who carries top weight of 122 pounds, drew the rail in the six-horse field and will concede four to seven pounds to his opponents. Regular rider John Velazquez will be back aboard.
Bred by Cynthia Phipps, Boisterous has compiled a solid record of 11 victories in 26 starts, with three seconds and two thirds for earnings of $1,299,625 and has spent the past two years in the shadow of his more heralded stablemate Point of Entry , who is on the comeback trail following an injury earlier in the year.
Though he will have only five opponents, the Bowling Green is not an easy spot, as all are more than capable of winning the 1 1/4-mile event.
The horse to beat could be the Chad Brown-trained Hyper, who is owned by the red-hot Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who have been sending out major stakes winners recently as if they’re coming off an assembly line. Unlike most of them, Hyper is by Victory Gallop and not the Ramseys’ machine of a sire, Kitten's Joy .
In his last start, Hyper, a winner of nine of 20 career starts, won the restricted John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga. It followed a second in the Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIT) to London Lane, who also is in the Bowling Green field. The son of Langfuhr sprung a 50-1 upset at Colonial Downs before tiring to finish sixth in the Sword Dancer, won by the Ramseys’ Big Blue Kitten.
Hyper will break from post 4 under 117 pounds and will be ridden by Javier Castellano. London Lane gets Jose Ortiz, under 118 pounds, and drew post 3.
There are a pair of intriguing former foreign horses to watch. Farhaan, a son of Jazil owned and bred by Shadwell, was a promising 2-year-old, but raced only three times at 3, and in his only start at 4, won an allowance/optional claimer by a nose at Saratoga in his U.S. debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Junior Alvarado has the mount.
The other is the Chilean-bred Quick Casablanca, a grade I winner in Argentina who has been in the money in 13 of his 14 career starts. In the U.S., he has two thirds on grass and a poor performance in the Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) on dirt. In his last start, he was third to Hyper in the John’s Call for trainer Christophe Clement. Luis Saez has the mount.
Rounding out the field is the late-closing Finnegans Wake, whose last victory came in an allowance race last June, but since then, he has finished in the first four in five grade I stakes, including a fast-closing fourth, beaten only 2 1/2-lengths, in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) in his most recent start.
$250,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 8, 3YO and Up, 1 1/4 miles (Turf)
1. Boisterous (KY), J.R. Velazquez, C. McGaughey
2. Quick Casablanca (CHI), L. Saez, C. Clement
3. London Lane (MD), J.L. Ortiz, L. Murray
4. Hyper (KY), J.J. Castellano, C. Brown
5. Farhaan (KY), J. Alvarado, K. McLaughlin
6. Finnegans Wake (KY), C. Velasquez, D. Romans