The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Bravazo earned 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby table for winning the Risen Star Stakes in a hard-fought finish, and that will be enough to ensure a run on the First Saturday in May.
A Calumet Farm homebred, Bravazo was a well-beaten eighth on his debut at Saratoga, before winning a maiden at Churchill Downs Sept. 16. That was enough for Lukas to look at taking on top company, and he finished second, at 47-1 odds, to Free Drop Billy in the 1 1-16-mile Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in early October.
Bravazo was then directed to the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs, where he faded late to finish third behind Gotta Go and Lone Sailor. He returned to Churchill Downs in late November for the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2), where he was a well-beaten 10th behind Enticed.
Returning to the track at Oaklawn Park Jan. 13, Bravazo rallied from well back to overcome Ezmosh in a stirring finish in an allowance race. It wasn’t enough to convince punters he was a big hope in the Risen Star Stakes, in which he started at 21-1.
But after racing close to the pace, Bravazo again showed great fighting qualities to get the better of Snapper Sinclair near the finish, and ensure a Derby start.
Bravazo is by the Awesome Again, whose crowning glory in his 4-year-old season was victory over a high-quality field in the 1 ¼-mile 1999 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He has sired more than 60 stakes winners, a number of whom stayed 1 ¼ miles well, such as Californian iron horse Game On Dude, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) winner Awesome Gem, and the six-time grade one-winning mare Ginger Punch.
Bravazo will want to have inherited the stamina from his sire, because it’s a little limited on his dam’s pedigree. His dam Tiz o’ Gold (Cee’s Tizzy) won seven races up to 1 1/16-miles, but his second dam Ginged Up (The Irish Lord) is a sister to Broadway Pointe, a multiple stakes winner at six furlongs. Most of the other stakes winners in the pedigree have been sprinters.
Bravazo has shown he can win from any position in the running, and that he has a fierce determination to compete. Stamina could be a question, but it’s best not to assume anything yet. His future races will give a better idea about his Kentucky Derby prospects.
(Bravazo Photos by Hodges Photography)