Florida Grad Bourbon Resolution Dominant Winner of Ben Ali S. (G3)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

It was a family affair in the Keeneland winner's circle for trainer Ian Wilkes April 13 as son-in-law and jockey Chris Landeros rode Bourbon Resolution home to a stunning upset victory in the $200,000 Ben Ali Stakes (G3).

Despite being bothered at the start, favorite Flameaway got up quickly as expected to set the pace in the 1 1/8-mile test. The multiple grade 3 winner led the field through fractions of :24.36, :49.06, and 1:13.75 for six furlongs, tracked closely by Noble Commander to his outside. 

Shifting into the three path on the far turn, Flameaway lost momentum at the top of the lane and drifted back, allowing Bourbon Resolution a chance to make his move on the outside. 

Driving hard, Bourbon Resolution glided past his rivals in midstretch and kicked clear to cross the wire 4 1/2 lengths in front of Nun the Less in a final time of 1:38.45. 

"Little change of tactics today," Landeros said. "He's a naturally fast horse. My instructions today were to use it a little bit. Let him get into gear early and keep his momentum going. Last time, I engaged them early, took him back, and they outfooted him late. We're learning a lot about him. Don't think we've seen the best yet. (On the backstretch), I thought I had a gear left, but I had a really big gear left."

Bourbon Resolution is among the five 2019 blacktype runners to graduate from the Hidden Brook Florida training center. Among the others are the spring Classics contenders Bourbon War and Eclipse Champion Jaywalk.

The victory marked the first stakes score for Bourbon Lane Stable's 4-year-old son of New Year's Day, who entered Saturday's race off a third-place finish in the March 9 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. It also marked the first stakes win for Wilkes' new grandson Rory, who, at just shy of a month old, remained firmly asleep in his mother Shelby's arms despite the cheers of excitement from his family.

"He's developed a lot—he's bigger, stronger," Wilkes said of Bourbon Resolution. "We were forced to give him some time, and now he's a more mature horse. He's only getting better, and I finally figured him out. He's got a high cruising speed. I was probably a detriment to him trying to rate him. Today, I just told Chris, 'Let him run. Let him find his way.'"

Bred in Kentucky by Gary and Mary West Stables, Bourbon Resolution is the second foal out of the Vindication mare Vindicated Ghost. 

Bourbon Resolution was purchased for $125,000 by McMahon & Hill Bloodstock, agent, at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Select Yearling Sale. He improved his record to 3-1-3 from 9 starts, with $231,340 in earnings.

Also on the April 13 Keeneland card: Hidden Brook Kentucky foaled and raised Excessivespending ran a gallant second in the $100,000 Giant's Causeway Stakes for female turf sprinters. Winner of the Menard Memorial S. at Fair Grounds in early February, the 4-year-old filly has earned blacktype in all four of her 2019 appearances and upped her career bankroll to $332,848.

- edited from www.bloodhorse.com