Calumet's Bravazo Takes Risen Star By A Nose Over Snapper Sinclair - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Calumet’s Bravazo Takes Risen Star By A Nose Over Snapper Sinclair

Snapper Sinclair (inside) was second in the Risen Star behind Bravazo

None of the late-running colts could get to the leaders Bravazo and Snapper Sinclair down the lane in Saturday's G2 Risen Star. That game pair of sophomores battled it out all the way to the wire, with Calumet's homebred Bravazo just getting his nose down in front at odds of 21-1. Ridden by Miguel Mena for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, the son of Awesome Again covered 1 1/16 miles over the Fair Grounds' fast main track in 1:42.95.

The victory basically ensures Bravazo a spot in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, since the Risen Star winner gets 50 points on the Derby leaderboard. Lukas has won the Kentucky Derby four times in his Hall of Fame career.

Snapper Sinclair ran very well in defeat at odds of 41-1. Well-regarded Todd Pletcher trainee Noble Indy finished third, while 9-5 favorite Instilled Regard finished fourth.

“It's very exciting and I'm very thankful to Mr. Lukas because they gave me the chance on such a nice horse,” Mena said following the race. “The horse came out sharp and he was on the bridle nice. I was confident and had a lot of horse. The horse on the inside was hard to beat. I didn't know if I had it, but thankfully I did. I have a nice horse.”

Lukas spoke volumes of Bravazo's gritty effort.

“I didn't know it was that close,” Lukas said by phone from Hot Springs, Ark. “He (Miguel Mena) was getting into him pretty good and he drifted out. That cost us a little bit. He's a fighter. He's tough. He's got real good tactical speed. He's a horse that carries his weight well and can withstand training up to the (Gr. I Kentucky) Derby.”

Noble Indy broke on top of the nine-colt field, but Snapper Sinclair was sent for the lead heading into the first turn. Bravazo was right on the leader's hip all the way around the course, pressing Snapper Sinclair through fractions of :24.15 and :47.96. Behind those two, Noble Indy, Instilled Regard and High North lined up three-wide across the track, no more than 1 1/2 lengths away from the front.

Both Noble Indy and Instilled Regard were poised to make their runs coming around the far turn, and it looked like the frontrunners, at odds of 41-1 and 21-1 respectively, would be swallowed up by the favorites.

Instead, a very game Snapper Sinclair dug in to keep a half-length's advantage over Bravazo all the way through the sixteenth pole. It wasn't until the final 100 yards that Mena found another gear in Bravazo, surging late to just get his nose down first at the wire. Snapper Sinclair ran well in second, while Noble Indy was within two lengths at the inside rail. Instilled Regard was back in fourth, not able to make up any ground down the stretch.

“We'll get him back here with me and if everything checks out and goes right then I'm going to lock up Miguel Mena,” Lukas said. “I'll pack him and the horse in Styrofoam and keep them under lock and key until the next race.”

Lukas went on to explain how Mena got the mount.

“(Jockey) Gary (Stevens) had a commitment on a live horse (Streamline) in the Bayakoa so I made a phone call,” Lukas said. “I felt pretty good about getting the meet's leading rider. Hell, he knows every grain of sand on the track.”

Bravazo is now atop the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard following the Risen Star with 54 points. In addition to the 50 earned on Saturday afternoon, he acquired four with a second-place effort in the Gr. I Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last fall.

Bred in Kentucky by Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm, Bravazo is out of the seven-time winning Cee's Tizzy mare Tiz o' Gold. Kelley purchased Tiz o' Gold with Bravazo in utero for $35,000 at the Keeneland November sale in 2014. Bravazo ran second in the G1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in his third career start, then third in the listed Street Sense Stakes before a disastrous 10th in the Kentucky Jockey Club.

Regrouping at the beginning of 2018, Bravazo captured an allowance race at Oaklawn Park. The Risen Star win makes him undefeated as a 3-year-old, and the colt's overall record stands at three wins from seven starts, with earnings of over $420,000.

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