U S Ranger’s newest stakes winner Lawn Ranger earned his way into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on Oct. 31 with a well-deserved victory in the $250,000 Bourbon S. (G3) Sunday at Keeneland. The Bourbon was a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race.
After a promising year with his first crop in 2013, U S Ranger ranks in the top five on the Second Crop list with three stakes winners this year.
Lawn Ranger got a stalking trip in third behind dueling pacesetters Thirtysilverpieces and Less Than Perfect until the field hit the top of the stretch, when Lawn Ranger shifted to the outside and wrested the lead from the top two.
The eventual winner dug deep in the final furlong to hold off a trio of late challengers, winning by a half-length. Lawn Ranger completed the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:44.41.
“I felt like he needed to go to another level. His race at Kentucky Downs (a 3¾-length maiden victory Sept. 13) was a pleasant surprise,” said trainer Ken McPeek. “He seems like a horse that’s maturing, and I think he’s gonna be even better as a 3-year-old. Our fingers are crossed that will happen.”
McPeek added that he expected to take the leggy bay colt to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup.
Lawn Ranger is a Kentucky-bred out of the Dynaformer mare Lalka. The victory was worth $150,000 and increased Lawn Ranger’s earnings to $209,700, with a record of 3-2-1-0.