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The name Bourbon Courage may not be on the tips of the tongues of racing fans and analysts, but the three-year-old has had two consecutive solid outings at 1 1/8 mile and may be looking forward to competing in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Running for the first time at over a mile, he finished second to Macho Macho in the West Virginia Derby last month. In that outing Bourbon Courage was well behind the pace setters until the bottom of the back stretch, where he started to come on strong. By the time the turn was finished, it was a four horse race with Hero of Order, Hansen, Macho Macho, and Bourbon Courage all poised at the front. Hero of Order fell off the pace first and Hansen began to weaken in the final furlong. Macho Macho was too much for the field as he finished strong almost a full length over Bourbon Courage. This performance by Bourbon Courage was encouraging for his training staff would foreshadow what would come next.

The run in the West Virginia Derby gave Bourbon Courages training staff a shot of confidence moving into September and the $500,000 Grade II Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. Out of the gate, favorite Blueskiesandrainbows surged upfront with Hero of Order and those two battled through the half mile mark, but started to tired at the start of the turn. That’s when Master Rick pulled past them, with Bourbon Courage to follow. Down the stretch, Bourbon Courage turned up the heat and pulled away in the final furlong, winning by nearly four lengths, with veteran jockey Leandro Goncalves aboard.

Trainer Kellyn Gorder was very proud of his colts effort and was talking Breeders’ Cup Classic after the victory in Louisiana. “We always have the Breeders’ Cup in the back of our minds. That would be a possibility. I need to race him before that. I think I’d need a race before that. We’re just [throwing] some different ideas around, watching what the other horses in the division are doing. The 3-year-old division is just decimated with injuries and illness. We’ve got to pick our spot.” {1}

The Indiana Derby may be up next for Bourbon Courage and he will likely need a strong performance to convince those that keep up with the three-year-old division that he is ready for a race on the scale of the Breeders Cup Classic. With all the losses in the division, it’s not out of the question for this horse to be a late bloomer and have a chance at a great run in Santa Anita this November.