|Born||Apr 07, 2018|
After adding blinkers, Bourbonic earned his way into the 2021 Kentucky Derby with victory in the Wood Memorial. At 72/1, Bourbonic was the longest shot to win the prestigious event in 96 years.
Bourbonic finished in seventh place on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 100 qualifying points, but unsurprisingly couldn't replicate his Wood Memorial performance at Churchill Downs. He finished in 13th place, 15-and-three-quarter lengths behind winner Medina Spirit.
Todd Pletcher trains the three-year-old colt and Bourbonic has three wins and a second-place finish from seven starts, with current earnings of $465,880.
Bourbonic is a deep closer with no early speed. These types either have to go very wide or pick their way through traffic during the Derby's later stages. Although some are successful, the majority settle for minor awards, and so it proved again.
2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby
After trailing the field through the early stages of the nine-furlong Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Bourbonic made a sustained drive around the far turn and needed the length of the stretch to catch the dueling pacesetters, Dynamic One, Crowded Trade and Weyburn.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche timed the ride precisely right, and the pair nailed the trio on the wire, beating stablemate Dynamic One by a head. The final time for nine furlongs was 1:54.49.
The Wood Memorial was the only qualifying race in which Bourbonic competed.
Fusaichi Pegasus was the last Wood Memorial winner to capture the Kentucky Derby in 2000. The winners of the Wood Memorial typically place third or fourth in the Derby.
Bourbonic's career beginnings
Last year, Bourbonic was unplaced in two Maiden Special Weight events, so in his last race of the season, Todd Pletcher dropped him in class to a $50,000 maiden claiming event at a mile over Aqueduct's main track.
Racing wide the entire way, Bourbonic made up ground from sixth place to draw clear by four and three-quarter lengths.
Bourbonic kicked off his three-year-old season with a victory in a Starter Optional Claiming event, again at a mile over Aqueduct's main track.
This time, he took the short way around the track, up the rail. He moved to second-place around the turn and battled through the stretch to win by a neck.
The Todd Pletcher trainee took a slight step up into Allowance Optional Claiming ranks in his final start before the Wood Memorial, this time at PARX Racing, traveling one mile and seventy yards on the main track.
Once again, Bourbonic showed no early speed and made up ground on the outside. However, he couldn't catch the winner and settled for being second-best, four lengths behind.
Prominent horseman Todd Pletcher is a seven-time Eclipse Award leading trainer. Since starting his training career in 1996, he has amassed over $405million in earnings.
Todd Pletcher established two separate single-season earnings records, plus a North American record for most stakes wins in a year.
His most accomplished charges include two-time champion and Hall of Fame recipient Ashado, Champion Grass Horse English Channel and Champion Older Dirt Male Vino Rosso.
Before the 2021 edition, Todd Pletcher had guided 55 colts at the Kentucky Derby, which is a record. He won the Derby with Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017. Two other contenders finished second (Invisible Ink in 2001 and Bluegrass Cat in 2006) and four have placed third.
Besides Bourbonic, Pletcher's other Kentucky Derby contenders included Florida Derby (G1) hero Known Agenda, Dynamic One, the Wood Memorial runner-up, and Sainthood, who was second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3).
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche will be the first Black jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby in eight years.
The son of a jockey, Carmouche used to watch his father practice and ride when he was a youngster. Kendrick began his own riding career in 2000 at minor tracks in Texas, Louisiana and Philadelphia. Growing in skill and popularity, he moved his tack to New York and is now a multiple graded stakes-winning jockey.
Bourbonic will be Kendrick Carmouche's first Kentucky Derby horse.
The famed Calumet Farm bred and campaign Bourbonic. Established in 1925, the stable has produced some of the most famous horses in history, including Triple Crown heroes Whirlaway and Citation, plus six other Kentucky Derby winners, seven Preakness Stakes winners, six Horse of the Year Awards and 11 Hall of Fame recipients.
Bourbonic (Bernardini - Dancing Afleet, by Afleet Alex) has classic distance breeding.
In 2006, Bernardini was unstoppable, capturing six straight races including the Preakness (G1), Travers Stakes (G1), Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), plus the Jim Dandy (G2) and Withers Stakes (G3).
Leading up to the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), media hype surrounded Bernardini and the Argentinian invader, Invasor, who was an undefeated champion in his own country and winner of three-straight Grade 1 handicap for older horses.
The two seemingly invincible titans squared off in the 10-furlong Classic test. Both colts sat near the back of the pack and forged their way forward around the final turn. They fought through the stretch, but when the dust settled, Invasor had beaten the younger Bernardini by a length.
The Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) was the final start for Bernardini. The son of A.P. Indy retired with six victories and a second-place finish in eight starts, with earnings of $3,060,480. He earned the Eclipse Award as the Three-Year-Old Champion Colt of 2006.
Bernardini was one of the best first crop sires of 2010 and his offspring win at all distances and over all surfaces. His sons Stay Thirsty and Alpha won the Jim Dandy (G2) and Travers Stakes (G1), while Bernardini's most accomplished runner was the mare Cavorting. She was in the money 10 of 13 starts, most of them graded stakes.
Bourbonic's half-brother Avant Garde was slow to mature. Once he got the hang of it, he became a multiple-stakes-placed miler and finished in the money in the Fred Hooper Stakes (G3), the Gulfstream Park Mile and the Godolphin Mile.
Their dam Dancing Afleet was also a slow starter. She matured to win the Delaware Oaks (G2) at one-and-one-sixteenth miles. Dancing Afleet is the most accomplished foal out of the allowance-class mare Mrs. Vanderbilt with a record of three wins from six starts and earnings of $286,250.