Flameaway keen to try grass
Flameaway has a fees-paid berth plus shipping expenses to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 3 at Del Mar, despite having never run in a turf race.
Flameaway won the Bourbon Stakes last Sunday at sloppy Keeneland, and though the race was rained off the turf and onto the dirt, Breeders’ Cup officials elected to allow it to maintain its status as a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In qualifier.
A rain-off is nothing new for Flameaway.
“I’ve entered him three times on the grass, and he’s never gotten to run on it,” trainer Mark Casse said. “I’m thinking maybe for the first time ever, we’re going to get a monsoon at Del Mar, and the race will get rained off turf.”
Flameaway won his debut over the all-weather surface at Woodbine, won the off-theturf Skidmore at Saratoga, and finished sixth when actually entered for dirt in the Iroquois at Churchill before his narrow Bourbon victory. Casse believes Flameaway, by Scat Daddy, has found success racing over surfaces that aren’t ideal.
“He breezed in Florida on the grass and in Toronto on the grass,” Casse said. “He loves the grass. My hope and belief is that he’s much better on grass. But one thing about him: His times and his Beyer numbers are nothing to write home about, but he has this little habit very few horses have in that he really likes to win.”
Flameaway, owned by John Oxley, fetched $400,000 at a yearling auction, and one could have bought 20 My Boy Jacks for the same cost. My Boy Jack punched his ticket to the BC Juvenile Turf by winning the $101,000 Zuma Beach Stakes over one mile on turf Monday at Santa Anita. My Boy Jack, by Creative Cause, was purchased as a yearling for just $20,000 on the recommendation of trainer Keith Desormeaux.
“That’s my game,” Desormeaux said. “I seem to do better with the $20,000s than the $200,000s. Whatever the cost, what I look at first is the physical side. He didn’t have much pedigree, but he was correct and athletic.”
My Boy Jack came into the Zuma Beach stakes-placed but still a maiden after four starts, but under Keith’s brother Kent Desormeaux, he skipped home nicely, rallying into a fast pace to win by three-quarters of a length.
“You don’t want to start thinking he’s a champion 2-year-old just yet because he got a perfect setup,” Keith Desormeaux said. “That’s what makes Kent such a great turf rider: He’s always at the proper place for what the pace is.”
My Boy Jack finished second in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf on Sept. 3 to Encumbered, who also is bound for the Juvenile Turf after failing to hold his grass form on dirt in the FrontRunner Stakes. Desormeaux also had considered running My Boy Jack, whom he thinks might be just as good on dirt, in the FrontRunner but thought better of it.
“Bolt d’Oro, he’s pretty good,” he said of the FrontRunner winner.
The Juvenile Turf is certain to be oversubscribed and figures to attract a good number of overseas runners. While the European contingent remains in flux, the connections of Beckford, James Garfield, Rajasinghe, Roaring Lion, and Tip Two Win have all within the last 10 days specifically expressed plans to travel to Del Mar.