Four Star Graduate Shoot Craps Bashford Manor contender

Reprinted from Bloodhorse

Runaway maiden winner He’s Comin in Hot headlines a field of eight 2-year-olds entered in the 114th running of the $100,000 Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) June 27 at Churchill Downs.

The six-furlong Bashford Manor is one of four stakes events on the 11-race “Downs After Dark” closing-night program of Churchill’s 38-day spring meet.

Douglas Scharbauer’s He’s Comin in Hot enters the Bashford Manor off a front-running five-furlong maiden special weight victory at Churchill Downs by 4 1/2 lengths in :57.96. It took three tries for the gelded son of Early Flyer bred in Texas by the Scharbauer family’s Valor Farms to notch his first win, but the Bret Calhoun-trained gelding was impressive, repulsing a challenge on the turn and drawing away down the stretch.

Calhoun began Wednesday as the national leader in 2-year-old wins with 14, including three of nine juvenile starters at Churchill Downs.

Among the challengers to He’s Comin in Hot are Shoot Craps (by Trappe Shot ) and Show Bound (Warrior’s Reward ), the respective first- and third-place finishers in a recent five-furlong maiden turf test at Belmont Park.

PTK LLC’s Shoot Craps, trained by Dane Kobiskie, and Jerry Durant’s Show Bound, conditioned by Steve Asmussen, hooked up in a speed duel before the winner took over leaving the eighth the pole to win by three-quarters of a length.

Asmussen, who also has entered Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen’s Sapphire Storm (Primal Storm), has won the Bashford Manor four times—Lunarpal (2004), Kodiak Kowboy (2007), Kantharos (2010), and Cinco Charlie (2014)—and another victory would equal Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ record for the race.

Coming in off a maiden victory at Pimlico is Patrick Rocks, owned by Hidden Hill Farm and Herman M. Braude. The Florida-bred son of Awesome of Course won the 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight in stalking fashion by one length. His trainer, John “Jerry” Robb, had Bashford Manor success two years ago with Debt Ceiling.

Patrick Rocks, Roman’s Chance (Sun King), and Shoot Craps were supplemented to the race for $3,000 each.

In another stakes race on the card, Asmussen has entered a trio of 2-year-old fillies—Adhara, Areolite, and Thievery—in the 115th renewal of Debutante Stakes, which the trainer has won four times. The six-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies drew eight entries.

Winchell Thoroughbreds homebreds Adhara and Aerolite each won their career debuts at Churchill previous to the Debutante.

Adhara, a daughter of Cowboy Cal, crushed well-backed Assoulin by 6 3/4 lengths in her May 28 bow, a 5 1/2-furlong race clocked in 1:04.96. Areolite, a gray/roan daughter of Tapit , beat fellow Debutante entrant Cosmic Evolution by a length in a five-furlong maiden special weight on May 21 in :58.82 as the even-money favorite.

Ackerley Brothers Farm’s Thievery, a Texas-bred daughter of Valid Expectations, won her debut at Indiana Grand, a 4 1/2-furlong sprint on May 12 in which she defeated Dad’s Kiddo by 2 3/4 lengths. The runner-up returned two weeks later to win by 6 3/4 lengths.

A Texas-bred has won the last two Debutantes: Fiftyshadesofgold (2013) and Promise Me Silver (2014), who were conditioned by Bret Calhoun.

A win by Asmussen on Saturday would equal Lukas’s five-win Debutante record. Asmussen’s previous success in the race came with Cashier’s Dream (2001), Effectual (2005), Richwoman (2006) and Rated Fiesty (2007).

Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, who has ridden sparingly since he sustained a foot injury in a May 30 training mishap, returns to the saddle to ride Cosmic Evolution, a daughter of Proud Citizen owned by Stephen Fidel and trained by Lon Wiggins. Borel was aboard the filly in her race against Areolite, with Cosmic Evolution leading through at 19-1 odds before being outrun down the lane.