By Gene McLean
LOUISVILLE, KY (June 30, 2017) – Kenny McPeek is not known in the Thoroughbred racing circles as an impatient man, or trainer for that matter. In fact, if truth be known, he is known for taking his time with all his pupils, especially those of the equine variety.
But Ten City has been an exception. That’s because Ten City is exceptional.
On Friday night, the talented 2-year-old colt proved just how exceptional – once again. Ten City drug his rider, Robbie Albarado, and his trainer, McPeek, all the way to the winner’s circle, running away with a 11/2-length victory over the highly acclaimed Cooper Bullet in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs.
“Kenny (McPeek) has always been high on this colt,” said Albarado, who also won the Bashford Manor with Limehouse in 2003 and Kantharos in 2010. “He told me once he gets his legs stretched out he’ll come with a run. I saw the horse in front was stopping rather quickly so, I got my horse in a good position and everything worked out well today.”
I’m Corfu, a winner over Presque Isle Downs’ synthetic surface, broke fastest from the gate in the field of six 2-year-olds and took the early lead, with Fig Jelly showing speed and Copper Bullet advancing from the inside to put pressure on the leader. I’m Corfu and Copper Bullet covered the first quarter mile in a blistering :21.97.
Breaking from post No. 6, Ten City hopped in the air at start but quickly recovered to settle a couple of lengths off the leaders and raced in the clear on the outside.
As the horses entered the far turn, Copper Bullet briefly dropped back as I’m Corfu spurted clear, but Ten City was a menacing presence as he ranged up on the outside.
Ten City finally took the lead as he exited the turn, and never looked back. Copper Bullet re-rallied once he shifted away from the inside and kept trying the down the lane, but was no match for the winner.
“It was just a tough trip,” said Copper Bullet’s rider Florent Geroux. “He worked his way up there on the inside and there was a lot of stuff going on in very a short field. He ran great. He was probably the best today, but the trip didn’t help.”
Oh, contraire. The best on this day, undoubtedly, was Ten City – a son of Run Away and Hide and out of the Rock Hard Ten mare Maiden America. He was bred in Kentucky by Phillips Racing Partnership.
“I was so proud to pick a horse this talented out of the (yearling) auction for only $12,000,” McPeek said. “This horse has shown a lot of talent throughout the early stages of his career. It’s a horse that trainers dream to be around. I’ve sort of changed up my training over the last couple of years with these younger horses so there’s a good chance we’ll take it easy on him over the summer and wait to run him next in the Iroquois.”
The $150,000 Iroquois (GIII), a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs on Sept. 16, is typically the first scoring race on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” – the series of races that will ultimately determine the field for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on Saturday, May 5, 2018.