Poker Player rallied from tenth after six furlongs to capture Grade 3, $150,000 Bourbon S. Sunday at Keeneland, a 1 1/16-mile race transferred from the grass to the main Polytrack surface because of the weather.
Along with Ami's Holiday in the Grade 3 Grey Cup at Woodbine, Harlan's Holiday took over the top spot on the 2013 2-year-old Sire list, the same category he led in 2012. The WinStar stallion has four stakes-winning juveniles and $1.15 million in 2-year-old earnings to date.
Poker Player was covered up near the back of the crowded 13-horse field for most of the trip, shaking loose at the top of the stretch when Channing Hill took his mount to the outside for clear sailing.
“He put me in a really good spot, just even down the backside when he broke so well. He relaxed nice into the backside,” said Hill. “He got a little jumbled down the backside and into the turn, but he really matured even from the last race at Kentucky Downs into today. He really found himself and when I took him out I knew that we were going to be really tough to beat.”
Trainer Wayne Catalano said the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf next month at Santa Anita is likely the next stop for Poker Player.
“Mr. (owner Gary) West and (racing manager) Benny Glass – we’ll talk it over, but I’m sure they’ll want to go to the Breeders’ Cup,” said Catalano.
Poker Player has now won two of his three lifetime starts, earning $145,900.