The Bashford Manor (G3) for 2-year-olds was part of Churchill Downs’ closing day last Saturday and my colleague Kellie Reilly has already highlighted the winner, Classic Empire, in a recent piece on sire Pioneerofthenile, who is best known for producing Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Ms. Reilly also touched on runner-up Recruiting Ready, who remains highly promising along with the impressive victor.
I’ll mention a few of other 2-year-old males of interest during the Churchill meet.
Thirstforlife rolled to a 6 ½-length decision in a 5-furlong maiden special weight on June 4 and appears headed to the July 23 Sanford (G3) at Saratoga for trainer Mark Casse. From the first crop of the multiple Grade 1-winning Stay Thirsty, the chestnut colt rallied commendably to be a close third after missing the break in his career debut, the May 5 Kentucky Juvenile. He broke cleanly as the 1-9 chalk in his second outing and dominated from the far turn to the finish line.
Longer distances should be a good fit for the regally-bred youngster, who sold for $240,000 as a weanling. Out of Grade 2 winner Promenade Girl, a confirmed router who placed in events such as the 1 ¼-mile Delaware H. (G2), Thirstforlife’s dam has also produced recent Ogden Phipps (G1) heroine Cavorting, a daughter of Bernardini, sire of Stay Thirsty. The second dam is by Kentucky Derby winner Pleasant Colony and Thirsforlife counts Dance Review, a noted producer by the legendary Northern Dancer, as his third dam.
Bitumen also has serious long-distance aspirations following an eye-catching debut score at 6-furlongs on June 30. The Eddie Kenneally charge showed speed from the start, disputing the early pace before drawing off sharply into the stretch en route to a 6 ¾-length victory. A dark bay colt by Mineshaft, Bitumen registered an outstanding 95 BRIS Speed rating and the $280,000 2-year-old purchase hails from the unraced Tale of a Cat mare Kobla Cat, a half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning sire Quality Road. Champion 3-year-old filly Ajina is also part of this classy female family.
Other 2-year-old maiden winners of note include Zartera, a Steve Asmussen-trained debut winner at 4 1/2-furlongs on June 16. By freshman sire Tapizar, the Kentucky-bred Zartera led wire to wire recording a two-length decision and hails from a Gone West mare who counts Grade 1-winning sire Cuvee as a half-brother. Asmussen was also responsible for Tip Tap Tapizar, who opened his racing career with a 3 ¼-length score on June 11 before finishing a respectable third in the Bashford Manor. The Louisiana-bred Tapizar colt hails from a Storm Cat mare and is from the same immediate female family of Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys and multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Alternation.
We'll continue to follow these Churchill Downs-winning juveniles this summer and fall.