Bwana Charlie scores third straight win in Lafayette.

Bwana Charlie scores third straight win in Lafayette.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Bwana Charlie Wins Lafayette in Stakes Debut

Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Bwana Charlie fought off Quick Action after a blistering half-mile to win the $109,500 Lafayette for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs at Keeneland Sunday.

Ridden by Shane Sellers, Bwana Charlie won his third straight while finishing 3 1/4 lengths in front of Quick Action and Pat Day. Tales of Glory, the slight 2-1 favorite over Bwana Charlie, was third, 10 1/4 lengths behind the winner. The final time on a fast track was 1:24 3/5.

The Texas-bred bay colt by Indian Charlie–Shahalo (by Halo), trained by Steve Asmussen, was making his stakes race debut.

Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and trainer Steve Asmussen earned a second consecutive victory in the Lafayette. They won with Posse last year.

Quick Action popped the gate first and led briefly before being tackled by Tales of Glory, Wulpe and Bwana Charlie. The four dueled for the lead through a sizzling opening quarter mile of :21 3/5 and a half in :44. As they hit the turn, Quick Action and Bwana Charlie left the other two in the dust. The leaders fought it out until reaching the top of stretch, Quick Action taking the lead briefly on the outside.

Bwana Charlie responded to a crack of the whip from Sellers and took command at the head of the stretch. In the final eighth, Bwana Charlie ducked out while tiring a bit, but he was well clear of the runner-up and drew off after straightening course under right-handed urging.

Tales of Glory was off a step slowly and was hustled to the front by jockey Jerry Bailey after the first furlong, but weakened gradually after the fast opening half-mile.

Call Me Shane rallied from last to be fourth, followed by Perpetual Peace and Wulpe.

Bwana Charlie had recorded five consecutive in-the-money performances at 2 before finally breaking his maiden in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 8 at Fair Grounds. He won a one-mile allowance optional claiming event a month later in New Orleans by 11 3/4 lengths.

Sellers has ridden by colt in all three of his victories this year.

"The first time I rode him he won," he said. "Then he came back going a mile and won easily. I wasn't surprised with his race today. He's a big strong horse with a good turn of foot."

Scott Blasi, assistant to Asmussen, agreed with Sellers.

"He was pretty immature as a two year old and he took a while to come around physically. We had a couple of setbacks with him at Saratoga. We gave him plenty of time between his 2 and 3-year-old years and he's just come back brilliantly."

The winner's share of $67,890 doubled Bwana Charlie's career earnings to $134,350. He has a record of 3-2-3 in eight starts. Bwana Charlie was purchased for $240,000 in March 2003.

The winner paid $6.60, $3.60 and $2.60. Quick Action returned $5.20 and $3. Tales of Glory's show was $2.60.

(Chart, Equibase)