Two decades ago, a talented juvenile named Summer Squall captured the Kentucky S. for Dogwood Stable and trainer Neil Howard. On Friday, the same owner/trainer team sent out LOU BRISSIE (Limehouse) in the $110,300 Kentucky Juvenile S. (G3) at Churchill Downs. While Lou Brissie has some way to go before matching the exploits of Summer Squall, the promising colt emulated that past Dogwood star by winning the dash to remain perfect from two starts.
Ridden for the first time by John Velazquez, Lou Brissie was reserved in fourth early, just off the torrid early pace. Up front, 4-5 favorite Twelve Pack Shelly (Deputy Storm) sizzled an opening quarter in :21 4/5, and in the process, the speedy Maryland shipper burned off her would-be pace rival Nina Fever (Borrego). Wetzel (Successful Appeal) then ranged up to challenge the pacesetter on the turn, but Twelve Pack Shelly rebuffed him as well.
In the stretch, Lou Brissie began to gather momentum. After racing greenly for a few strides, he straightened up in midstretch and drew alongside Twelve Pack Shelly through a half in :45. Lou Brissie gained strength the farther he went, overpowering the filly en route to a 1 1/2-length decision. The 7-2 third choice in a scratch-reduced field of five, Lou Brissie finished five furlongs in :57 4/5 on the fast track and paid $9.40, $4.80 and $2.80.
"Nothing bothers him -- it's unbelievable," Velazquez said. "I broke out of there. I didn't want to be too far back and have too much dirt hitting him and get discouraged. Once I got him in the clear and the five-sixteenths pole, he got into a good rhythm and I just kept him there. Down the lane I just had to keep his mind on running. The way his personality is, in the future going longer will be better."
The first-time starter Boys at Tosconova (Officer) made an encouraging start to his career to garner runner-up honors. Far back in last in the opening stages, the 10-1 outsider rallied strongly inside the final furlong to catch Twelve Pack Shelly by a neck. Boys at Tosconova returned $7.20 and $3 and ended the $72.40 exacta. Twelve Pack Shelly gave back $2.40 to show. The trifecta was good for $188, and Wetzel rounded out the $470 superfecta (2-5-9-3) by crossing the wire another 2 1/2 lengths back in fourth. Nina Fever brought up the rear another head back. Final Mesa (Sky Mesa), Saturday Dance (Roman Ruler), The Freak (Perfect Soul [Ire]) and Weekend Wildcat (Lion Heart) were all withdrawn.
Lou Brissie was a debut maiden winner at Keeneland on April 15, despite the fact that things didn't go exactly according to plan. Off slowly from the gate, Lou Brissie found himself six lengths behind at the first call. Although his rider dropped the whip, the chestnut still managed to make up ground in deep stretch to score by three-quarters of a length. With North America's first graded stakes of the season for juveniles under his belt, Lou Brissie has bankrolled $98,386.
Howard commented on his colt's professional bearing.
"That's what they do at Dogwood -- they spend the time with them," the horseman noted. "He acts so much more mature than what he is. He's a very mature-acting kind of horse. When he ran the first time he really surprised me. He trained OK and he was ready to run, but I didn't think he would do that. He was so reserved. He broke a lot better today.
"When I got him, I ran him right away, because he already ran in the Trials (in Aiken, South Carolina)."
Bred by Gulf Coast Farms in Kentucky, Lou Brissie went to his current connections for $100,000 as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July. He is a half-brother to a precocious juvenile of 2009, Fearless Cowboy (El Corredor), who landed the Colin S. and placed in the Saratoga Special S. (G2) and Victoria S. They are out of the Forest Wildcat mare Fearless Wildcat, herself a half-sister to stakes winner and stakes producer Tres Coronas (Chief's Crown), as well as stakes heroine Descapate (Dehere), the dam of the highly-regarded three-year-old filly Christine Daae (Giant's Causeway). Further back, this is the family of dual Grade 2 winner and sire Highland Park (Raise a Native). Fearless Wildcat's latest offspring is a yearling colt named Fearless Force (Macho Uno).