Racing News

Bern Identity cruises in Jean Lafitte

  • Bern Identity was prepping for the Delta Downs Jackpot (Delta Downs/Coady Photography)

Trainer Kelly Breen saddled his second consecutive winner in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs on Saturday night as Bern Identity stormed down the stretch to win easily over Mylute in the one-mile showdown for two-year-olds. Breen sent out My Adonis to win the same race in 2011.

Under jockey Paco Lopez, Bern Identity sat behind the early leaders before moving up four wide around the second turn. When Lopez gave him his cue he responded well by opening up a clear lead in the stretch and cruising home in front by three lengths while never feeling the whip. Finishing another four lengths behind Mylute in third was Mr. Bandini's Band. Bern Identity covered the distance over a fast track in 1:39 2/5.

Bern Identity shipped into Delta Downs on Thursday. Over the summer at Saratoga, he scored an impressive victory in the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes on July 22 and finished third to unbeaten Shanghai Bobby in the Grade 2 Hopeful on September 3. The public backed Bern Identity heavily at the wagering windows as he was sent postward at odds of 1-2 and returned $3, $2.40 and $2.10.

Breen has the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot on November 17 in his plans for Bern Identity, but wanted to get his charge in town early.

"We wanted to get him some experience over this track before that race," Breen said. "This racetrack is a bit sandier than some and we want him to feel the dirt kicked in his face so he would know what it's like.

"Now we want the big one," the trainer added of the Jackpot.

Breen and owners George and Lori Hall have had several chances to score a Jackpot victory but have yet to take their picture in the winner's circle. In 2008 they sent out Westside Bernie, who finished second to eventual Breeders' Cup Sprint winner and champion Big Drama. In 2010 they watched as Sweet Ducky wound up fourth behind 20-1 upset winner Gourmet Dinner. And last year My Adonis engaged in an early speed duel before fading and finishing ninth behind Sabercat.

Bern Identity's resume now reads 5-3-1-1, $426,000. The bay son of Bernstein finished second in his May 9 debut at Belmont to the filly Sweet Shirley Mae, who was most recently runner-up in the Grade 1 Spinaway. Bern Identity moved forward off that first outing in the slop and crushed a June 1 maiden next out, showing plenty of early speed on Belmont's fast track en route to a 13 3/4-length conquest that propelled him onto the stakes scene.

Bred in Kentucky by Galleria Bloodstock, Crosshaven Bloodstock, Petaluma Bloodstock et al., Bern Identity has twice sold at Keeneland. He brought $43,000 as a newly-minted yearling in January, and his current connections purchased him for $75,000 later that year in September.

Bern Identity is out of Grade 3 heroine Maddalena, a daughter of Good and Tough who placed second in the Grade 1 Prioress in 2005. This is the family of multiple stakes winner Foxie G.

California Chrome Cruises to Victory in 140th Kentucky Derby before Crowd of 164,906

Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's favored California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took command at the head of the stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory over Commanding Curve to win the 140th running of the $2,202,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I). A sun-splashed crowd of 164,906, the second-largest attendance in Kentucky Derby history, watched California Chrome give jockey Victor Espinoza a second Derby victory to go with his triumph on War Emblem in 2002.

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Derby Week Concludes with Memorable Kentucky Derby 140 as California Chrome Wins America’s Greatest Race

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