Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's Bourbon War will aim for his first Grade 1 triumph in the $1.5 million Preakness (G1) at Pimlico on Saturday. The Mark Hennig trainee has shown class combined with a strong closing kick in South Florida this spring, and he is an interesting contender for the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Bourbon War debuted at Aqueduct in November in a race that was originally scheduled for the turf. The son of Tapit tracked the early tempo before proving to be much-the-best in the one-mile maiden special weight event, crossing the line more than two lengths clear in a smart showing. He concluded his brief juvenile campaign with a fourth-place run in the Remsen (G2) behind Blue Grass (G2) winner Vekoma.
The three-year-old colt made his 2019 debut at Gulfstream Park in a solid allowance field. He rated off the pace in the early going once again before driving home a convincing winner under Irad Ortiz Jr., serving notice that he would be a prospect to watch in 2019.
He followed up his score with a try in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and didn't disappoint. Bourbon War was 11 lengths back in the early stages but found his best gear in the lane, flying home outside to record a sharp runner-up performance behind Kentucky Derby (G1) second Code of Honor.
Bourbon War took the logical next step to compete in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on March 30. The Kentucky-bred was never a serious factor when rallying while widest of all to be fourth, but his race was better than it appears on paper. The colt earned a robust 117 BRIS Late Pace figure in a contest that featured Maximum Security, Bodexpress and the aforementioned Code of Honor taking up the top-three slots.
The Preakness contender fetched a bid of $410,000 as a weanling at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale. The colt was again offered later in the season at Keeneland September, but he failed to meet reserve after a final bid of $525,000.
He is the first foal produced from the Grade 1 winning Artie Schiller mare My Conquestadory, and he has a two-year-old full-sister named Miss Tapirado. That juvenile filly was recently purchased for a hefty $1.3 million at the Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training sale.
Bourbon War possesses BRIS Speed figures of 96, 96 and 94 this campaign and he fits in the Preakness field with a move forward this weekend. The colt gives the impression of a sophomore that will appreciate the added ground at Pimlico. With a good measure of speed entered at Old Hilltop, the late-running Bourbon War is a dangerous contender for the Preakness.