A field of seven 3-year-olds passed the entry box for Saturday's $200,000 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Stakes on Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster (gr. I) Day card. Derby Trial Stakes winner over the strip Don't Get Mad, and WinStar Farm's Unbridled Energy top the field set to run 1 1/16 miles.
The Ron Ellis-trained Don't Get Mad is the most accomplished of the group and should have the edge. His devastating kick in the Derby Trial was the subject of much conversation on the Churchill backstretch prior to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and his strong late run to get fourth in that contest showed he is one to be reckoned with around two turns.
Bred in Kentucky by Milton and Beth Hendry, the son of Stephen Got Even
runs in the purple and orange silks of B. Wayne Hughes who purchased the bay colt for $350,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s 2004 spring selected sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Ellis has kept his charge on the grounds since his arrival for the Derby trial in late April. A solid workout Sunday (5f, Fast, 1:02.60, B, 10/22) there should be a good sign for some very strong connections.
Gary Stevens gets the call for a trip from post two.
WinStar Farm's Unbridled Energy looks to be the main threat to challenge Don't Get Mad for the top spot. He retains the services of Rafael Bejarano who will guide the gray/roan colt from post five.
Bred in Kentucky by Dr. Charles S. Giles, the son of Unbridled's Song
has won three of four starts including a neck score in the Marine Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine in his last effort. He has stalked in all three of his wins and should get his preferred trip given the small field.
Trained by Elliott Walden, Unbridled Energy broke his maiden at Turfway by 4 1/4 lengths last October with that meet's leading rider Bejarano up.
The always-dangerous connections of Juddmonte Farms, Bobby Frankel, and Jerry Bailey will send out the speedy First Word from the sixth starting position.
The son of Chester House has won his last two, including an allowance under Bailey on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) weekend.
Bred in Kentucky by Juddmonte Farms, the homebred colt has shown good early speed in his last races and should get out to the lead.
Bucharest, by Victory Gallop
; Real Dandy, by Yankee Victor
, second in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds (gr. III); Crimson Stag, by Glitterman
, second in the Lafayette Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland; and Secret Woods, by Sea of Secrets
round out the field from the rail out.Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, $200,000, Appx. post time 4:29 p.m. EST.
PP--Horse, weight, jockey
1--Bucharest, 116, Pat Day
2--Don't Get Mad, 120, Gary Stevens
3--Real Dandy, 116, Mike Smith
4--Crimson Stag, 116, Robby Albarado
5--Unbridled Energy, 120, Rafael Bejarano
6--First Word, 116, Jerry Bailey
7--Secret Woods, 116, Corey Lanerie