The rapidly ascending Bourbon Bay, shown winning the Gr. II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap at 1 ½ miles on turf at Santa Anita on March 20, is listed as definite for Sunday’s Gr. II, $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap 1 ¾ miles on grass and he will seek to become only the third horse in Santa Anita history to sweep the San Luis Rey, the Gr. II, 1 ½ miles San Luis Obisbo and the storied San Juan.
Trained by Neil Drysdale, the 4-year-old gelding has been assigned high-weight of 122 pounds and looms the horse to beat on Sunday. When asked following the San Luis Rey about the added quarter mile presented by the San Juan Capistrano, Drysdale said “I think it’s well within his scope, the way he ran today.”
Should he prevail in the San Juan Capistrano, Bourbon Bay would join turf luminaries Astray and Kotashaan in sweeping Santa Anita’s prestigious long-distance turf trilogy. Astray three-peated in 1974, while turf champion Kotashaan did it in ’93.
Purchased by Drysdale on behalf of owners David and Jill Heerensperger as a 3-year-old, Bourbon Bay took a while to fit into the role Drysdale had projected for him. “We purchased him with the idea that he’d be a mile-and-a-half horse,” said Drysdale. “So he’s lived up to that.”
In addition to the San Luis Rey and San Luis Obisbo Handicaps, Bourbon Bay won a 1 ½ miles turf allowance race here on Jan. 6. by 3 ½ lengths. His margins of victory in the San Luis Rey and San Luis Obisbo were 2 ½ and 4 ¼ lengths.
A son of Sligo Bay, from the Conquistador Cielo mare Coral Necklace, Bourbon Bay was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs.
His record stands at 4-2-2 from 12 starts, with earnings of $299,424.
Santa Anita’s 75th anniversary season comes to a close on Sunday, with the San Juan Capistrano being run for the 71st time.