Lunarpal Works Hard for Kentucky BC Victory

(from Churchill Downs report)
Heavily favored Lunarpal, ridden by Shane Sellers, led from start to finish and held off a stretch charge by Consolidator to take a neck victory in Saturday's co-featured $132,088 Kentucky Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

Coming off a win in the Three Chimneys Juvenile on Kentucky Derby Day, the son of Successful Appeal  covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.07 and paid $2.20 and $2.10 as the overwhelming 1-9 favorite.

Consolidator, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, launched a late bid in the stretch but just missed catching the winner and paid $2.10 to place. There was no show wagering. Smoke Warning and Cat Tourn rounded out the order of finish in the four-horse field.

Owned and bred by the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and trained by Steve Asmussen, Lunarpal earned $86,025 to increase his lifetime bankroll to $182,993. The colt provided Asmussen with a record third consecutive victory in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup after winning the race in 2002 with Posse and last year with Cuvee.

Lunarpal had won his first two races by a combined 12 lengths, but assistant trainer Scott Blasi, who saddled the colt for Asmussen, was pleased with the way the unbeaten colt handled his first challenge from an opponent.

"He's won a couple of his races without having to do much," said Blasi. "He got a little sick on us after the Three Chimneys and I missed a work with him, and then he came back and trained great. It was a great race under 121 pounds."

Sellers hustled Lunarpal to the lead and was shadowed by 17-1 outsider Cat Tourn as they went through the opening quarter mile in :22.22. Consolidator moved into second while going four wide in the turn. Lunarpal increased his advantage to two lengths at the top of the stretch. Bejarano sent Consolidator to the inside and was gaining late along the rail, but could not catch the winner.

(Chart, Equibase)