Bug­gin Out set to walk his beat

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Mar­cus Hersh Fol­low Mar­cus Hersh on Twit­ter @DRFHersh

There’s his­tor­i­cal dis­pute re­gard­ing the ori­gin of the proverb, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” but there’s no dis­put­ing its rel­e­vance to a horse named Bug­gin Out.

Bug­gin Out is a 7-year-old geld­ing by Indy and trained now by Ron­nie Ward. All well and good, but the im­por­tant piece of in­for­ma­tion on his page is “Alabama.” That’s where Bug­gin Out was bred. There hasn’t been sanc­tioned Thor­ough­bred rac­ing in Alabama since 1995; Bug­gin Out is one of the last ves­tiges of the breed­ing pro­gram there.

If you own an Alabama-bred there’s one ma­jor an­nual goal, the $50,000 Magic City Clas­sic. The 2018 re­newal comes Fri­day at Fair Grounds. Which means it’s the king’s time to don his crown.

Bug­gin Out won his first Magic City Clas­sic as a 3-yearold in 2014. He won it in 2015, again in 2016, and for a fourth time last De­cem­ber. And if you think the streak ends this year, well, take a look at the com­pe­ti­tion in Fri­day’s 10th race. Yeah – about what one would ex­pect from a state with­out a Thor­ough­bred in­dus­try.

Ward and owner Den­nis Mur­phy ap­pear to know the score. The older Bug­gin Out has got­ten the less they’ve run him, gear­ing his cam­paigns around “The Big One.” In 2016, Bug­gin Out re­turned from an eight­month lay­off to make one start at Delta Downs be­fore win­ning the Magic City. Last year, Bug­gin Out got in one race fol­low­ing a nine-month break, and this year Bug­gin Out got in an Oct. 27 Delta prep mak­ing his first start since the 2017 Magic City. He fin­ished a dis­tant sev­enth, but that was an open fourth-level al­lowance with a $30,000 claim­ing op­tion. Fri­day’s race? That is Bug­gin Out’s do­main.

Debu­tante has fa­mil­iar look

The good news is the $50,000 Pat Whit­worth Illi­nois Debu­tante lost to a weather can­cel­la­tion on Nov. 25 at Hawthorne is back on Fri­day’s 10-race card. The less-than-good news is that noth­ing has changed about the race in six days.

The same six 2-year-old fil­lies are back in the Whit­worth, which is re­stricted to Illi­nois-breds kept el­i­gi­ble to the race through a se­ries of pay­ments. Two of the en­trants, Wayne Cata­lano home­breds Bril­liant One and Be Authen­tic, have never raced, though that alone does not rule them out of con­tention.

The Whit­worth is con­tested at 1 1/16 miles and none of these horses have run that far, but Booda Lou still looks like a le­git­i­mate fa­vorite. Trained by Robert Pom­pell, who is hav­ing his first stakes starter, Booda Lou made her only start Nov. 15 at Hawthorne, rat­ing off the pace and fin­ish­ing solidly to post a nine-length vic­tory. She was 23-1 in that start but will go post­ward a far shorter price in the Debu­tante, Fri­day’s third race.

Ir­ish Mar­vel led all the way sprint­ing in her de­but, and if the Whit­worth is run in sub-freez­ing air, the Hawthorne track sur­face could carry her speed. The is­sue even there is the filly Get None, who also likely is on a speed mis­sion given her run­ning style in three pre­vi­ous starts. Ro­nan per­formed dis­mally last out at Churchill but has ear­lier form that’s much stronger and can’t be counted out.

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