Awesome Again's Bravazo Earns Ky. Derby Berth in G2 Risen Star S.

02.17.2018 -

None of the late-running colts could get to the leaders Bravazo and Snapper Sinclair down the lane in Saturday's G2 Risen Star. That game pair of sophomores battled it out all the way to the wire, with Calumet's homebred Bravazo just getting his nose down in front at odds of 21-1. Ridden by Miguel Mena for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, the son of Awesome Again covered 1 1/16 miles over the Fair Grounds' fast main track in 1:42.95.

Watch the Risen Star Stakes

The victory basically ensures Bravazo a spot in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, since the Risen Star winner gets 50 points on the Derby leaderboard. Lukas has won the Kentucky Derby four times in his Hall of Fame career. It also capped a huge Saturday for Awesome Again who sired the General George S. (G3) winner Something Awesome earlier in the day.

Noble Indy broke on top of the nine-colt field, but Snapper Sinclair was sent for the lead heading into the first turn. Bravazo was right on the leader's hip all the way around the course, pressing Snapper Sinclair through fractions of :24.15 and :47.96. Behind those two, Noble Indy, Instilled Regard and High North lined up three-wide across the track, no more than 1 1/2 lengths away from the front.

Both Noble Indy and Instilled Regard were poised to make their runs coming around the far turn, and it looked like the frontrunners, at odds of 41-1 and 21-1 respectively, would be swallowed up by the favorites.

Instead, a very game Snapper Sinclair dug in to keep a half-length's advantage over Bravazo all the way through the sixteenth pole. It wasn't until the final 100 yards that Mena found another gear in Bravazo, surging late to just get his nose down first at the wire. Snapper Sinclair ran well in second, while Noble Indy was within two lengths at the inside rail. Instilled Regard was back in fourth, not able to make up any ground down the stretch.

Bred in Kentucky by Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm, Bravazo is out of the seven-time winning Cee's Tizzy mare Tiz o' Gold. Kelley purchased Tiz o' Gold from Adena Springs with Bravazo in utero for $35,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November. Bravazo ran second in the G1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in his third career start, then third in the listed Street Sense Stakes before an off-the-board effort in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2).

Regrouping at the beginning of 2018, Bravazo captured an allowance race at Oaklawn Park. The Risen Star win makes him undefeated as a 3-year-old, and the colt's overall record stands at three wins from seven starts, with earnings of over $420,000.

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