Two months ago, after coach Phil Bauer helped Rigney Racing win the Churchill Downs Spring Meet owners title, he collected his belongings from his Louisville home and drove to Saratoga with a small series of horses to compete at the summer meeting. In those two short months, Power, who trained specifically for Richard and Tammy Rigney, racked up six wins including a dominant 8 length result instead of the $275,000 Saturday Bourbon Trail Stakes rival Warrior Johnny.
“It’s been an amazing two months,” Bauer said. “It is a credit first to our team and the Rigneys for putting these talented horses into our barn. They deserve it the most.”
Warrior Johnny was one of 13 rookies for Power and Rene at Saratoga, but the duo made good use of their time over the summer. Rigney Racing made $341,003 with its Saratoga starts on top of $614,845 at the Spring Churchill Downs meet, racking up seven wins from 35 starts.
Before Warrior Johnny’s impressive win at Saratoga, Enrich stormed the home with a 12-inch special weight win at Churchill Downs.
Warrior Johny is ranked as a 3-1 second choice on Saturday’s Bourbon Trail Stakes morning streak odds.
“He ran great,” Bauer said of Warrior Johnny’s win. “I thought we were sitting on a ride and at the bottom of the butt we were getting stressed so I worried for a few steps. This is a horse that will get better with age. He shows in his previous shows that when he was two we couldn’t get him to run (half mile) at:50 He’s just starting to get better over the winter and he’s honest as far as the numbers are concerned. We’re excited he’s moving forward with this effort. You really don’t expect efforts like this but we’ll take it every time if we can.
“The race that started two years ago (when he finished sixth in a level one suit competition at Churchill Downs) was my fault. We got him back very quickly from his first win. It was a huge asset to the horse to beat everything. He showed so much heart coming back on break. Short but we gave him the time he needed after that and he rewarded us.”
Power returned to Churchill Downs in early September to begin preparations for the September and Fall Barn.
“You have to hand it to Phil. He’s been doing really well – 6 to 13 at Saratoga and the title of owner at Churchill Downs – our team is really cool,” Richard Rigney said. This is great to have a partner like Phil. We do it together and we will continue to do it together for a long time.”
Jockey Joe Talamo will be aboard Warrior Johny for the first time on the Bourbon Trail. The duo is breaking up with Post #4.
The Bourbon Trail, which King Fury won last year, is rated 10 of 11 with another time of 10:42 p.m. (all eastern times). The 1 3/16-mile event is one of four downs After Dark card betting races. The race will share the spotlight Saturday night with the $275,000 Dogwood (GIII), $275,000 Harrods Creek and $160,000 Seneca Overnight Stakes. The first post is 6pm
This is the Bourbon Trail Square from the Rail Out (with rider, coach, and morning odds): Maximum Impact (Rafael Bejarano, Lynn Cash, 30-1); Home Pro (Ricardo Santana Jr., Brad Cox, 5-2); St. Tabett (Tyler Gavallioni, Todd Bletcher, 9-2); Warrior Johnny (Talamo, Bauer, 3-1); War Campaign (Corey Lannery, Phil Sims, 15-1); Ethereal Road (Mitchell Morell, De Wayne Lucas, 12-1); Age Doctrine (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott, 7-2); Creative Minister (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeak, 9-2); and Big Blue Line (Martin Garcia, Paul McGee, 20-1).
The Bourbon Trail is one of four open stakes of a 3-year-old remaining in the country this year. The rest are the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday, the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday, the $250,000 Zea Park Derby on November 22, and the $150,000 Discovery Stakes on November 27.
The betting is available at www.TwinSpires.com, the official betting provider of Churchill Downs Inc. and the Kentucky Derby.
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