Bullards Alley taking the 2016 Louisville Handicap

Bullards Alley taking the 2016 Louisville Handicap

Coady Photography

Bullards Alley Seeks Repeat in Louisville Handicap

Defending champ Bullards Alley could face stiff challenge from Danish Dynaformer.

Bullards Alley will attempt to defend his 2016 victory in the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (G3T) for older horses going 1 ½ miles on the turf at Churchill Downs May 20, with a dozen entrants signed up for the contest.

The bad news for Wayne Spalding and Faron McCubbins' Bullards Alley is he hasn’t won since taking the Louisville last May 21, when he ran close to the pace before kicking clear late. For the most part, he has been racing further back in the pack since, and his late move hasn’t been good enough. He comes off a non-competitive sixth in the Elkhorn (G2T) over yielding turf at Keeneland, which was his 10th straight loss.

Danish Dynaformer has a class advantage in the Louisville. He has been racing exclusively against graded stakes competition but hasn’t threatened against horses like The Pizza Man, Taghleeb, and Wake Forest. He last won in July in the Singspiel (G3T) going 12 furlongs, one of his two victories at the Louisville distance. He was an even fourth in the Elkhorn last out.

Reporting Star should have the early lead. He has been sent to the front in his last two, giving way late in the April 1 Pan American Stakes (G2T) to finish fifth. He ran a close third to Wake Forest in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2T) two back.

At age 8, Twilight Eclipse may be feeling the effects of his 39-race career. He has failed to make an impact in his recent graded-stakes efforts, and was flat last out in the Mac Diarmida. Two back he showed interest in the W.L. McKnight (G3T) when a close-up fourth, and ran third behind Flintshire twice last summer.

Kaigun, at 7, is another veteran looking to rebound. He won the Pan American last year but has come up empty in seven starts since. He has a win and three seconds from five starts at the distance but needs to turn back the hands of time a bit here. Some in Tieme makes his fourth U.S. start following a tough-luck second in a Keeneland allowance going 1 1/16 miles in which he was far back, then blocked in upper stretch while making a move that would carry him within a neck of the win at the wire. Some in Tieme won a group 1 in his native Brazil in 2015. He would benefit from a fast pace.

Generous Kitten owns an 11-furlong win over the course in allowance company a year ago, but his efforts in graded company don’t quicken the pulse. He has taken to dropping far off the pace lately, but with only modest gains late. Street Fashion scored at 12 furlongs at Saratoga last summer in allowance optional claiming company and has been on the shelf since a fourth in the Sycamore (G3T) last October. Patrick's Day steps into stakes company for the first time but just missed by a nose at the distance in a Keeneland allowance last out.

Gold Shield is another who is unproven against this type of company and has never been the distance. Grey Wizard and Nessy, the full brother of Bullards Alley, likewise appear to be stepping up over their pay grades.

Entries: Louisville H. (G3T)

Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 20, 2017, Race 11

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/2m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:51 PM (local)
11Generous Kitten (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMiguel Mena115Michael J. Maker8/1
22Grey Wizard (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDavid Romero Flores113Jose Fernandez20/1
33Nessy (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.111Ian R. Wilkes20/1
44Some in Tieme (BRZ)Manoel R. Cruz116Kenneth G. McPeek10/1
55Kaigun (ON)Edgard J. Zayas118Mark E. Casse5/1
66Twilight Eclipse (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJames Graham120H. Graham Motion5/1
77Reporting Star (FL)Joseph Rocco, Jr.118Brendan P. Walsh6/1
88Street Fashion (PA)Chris Landeros115H. Graham Motion10/1
99Danish Dynaformer (ON)Gabriel Saez119Roger L. Attfield4/1
1010Patrick's Day (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDeclan Cannon114Jordan Blair12/1
1111Bullards Alley (KY)Marcelino Pedroza116Tim Glyshaw8/1
1212Gold Shield (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateShaun Bridgmohan115Claude R. McGaughey III15/1