Mr. Bowling Strikes in Lecomte



(Saturday...January 21)
On Saturday, the Larry Jones trained MR. BOWLING was in contention through every frame of the mile and seventy yard Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds as he turned back twelve rivals overall and at least four different challengers that made a run at him from the far turn to the finish line.

The Lecomte was the first of 33 significant three -year old races that will be run between now and April 28 when the Derby Trial from Churchill Downs ends the series the weekend before the Kentucky Derby is run on Saturday, May 5. While some of these prep races might turn out to be more important in developing and showcasing the main players in the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown, each in their own way presents an opportunity to cash in on the kind of solid analysis that Jim Hurley's Racing Network is known for.

That analysis paid off this past Saturday (1/21) with Jim's FIRST RELEASE in his ROAD TO THE DERBY SERIES (click here for more information on this package) as he released MR. BOWLING as his Key Play and recommended a Win/Place Bet on the well-respected son of Istan.

Jim was astounded by the 8-1 ML posted on the Brereton Jones home bred. The colt had absolutely torn up the Fair Grounds surface when preparing for the Lecomte, his 3-year-old debut. Two of his last three workouts had been a best of the day 6 furlong work in 1:12 4/5 on 12/29 and a best of 24 five furlong work in :58 4/5"breezing" on 1/9. His final prep was a second best of 16 five furlong test in 1:00 2/5 (again breezing) just six days prior to the race. To say that trainer Jones had the colt in hand was an understatement. And the fact that the horse was bet down from 8-1 to 7-2 attests to how KEYED IN TO THE SMART MONEY Jim Hurley's Racing Network was. Perhaps Jim gave the horse out too strongly and to too many people...because for a horse to take that much action in a deep 13 horse field is noteworthy.

Nonetheless, MR. BOWLING returned a very handy $9.20 for the recommended win bet and another $4.80 in the place spot.

Of course it could have been even better had Jim collected on his released exacta selection, but that was just missed as another returning Derby prospect, SHARED PROPERTY checked in third, missing the runner up spot by a half length after a gritty effort that saw the gelding travel four wide into and on the first turn, continue four wide on the far turn and then fan six wide into the lane after leaving the gate from the farthest out 13 post. Next time you better believe Jim will add the exotic to his selected winner.

In his only prior start around two turns MR. BOWLING had destroyed his rivals in the Dover Stakes at Delaware Park last October 8 and then validated his versatility and the idea that he wanted to continue around two turns when he ended his two-year old campaign by shortening up to a one turn mile at Churchill Downs and running an even third in the Grade III Iroquois.

It remains to be seen whether the colt will progress at longer distances. He has a rather high 5.63 dosage, although Dosage as a barometer does not have the glamour it once did as many of the more precocious three-year olds of the last 8-10 years have been those bred for mile speed on the male side and stamina on the female side, so have not exhibited the once prominent sub 4.00 Dosage numbers that pointed towards legitimate Derby contenders throughout the 1980's until the very early 2000's. That being said, it is worth noting that MR. BOWLING'S sire, Istan, is himself a son of Gone West, the grand sire who was first considered a developer of mile speed horses but has become much more significant in recent years as a creator of stamina runners with tactical speed...especially through his own progeny. This is not surprising given Gone West's lineage. He gloriously traces back on his male side to Mr. Prospector, Raise A Native and Native Dancer and on his female side through his dam Secrettame, a daughter of Secretariat and granddaughter of Bold Ruler. So whether or not he will be a hard-nosed runner who becomes vulnerable beyond nine furlongs remains to be seen. But his determination and heart cannot at this point be questioned.

MR. BOWLING settled about 5-6 lengths off the pace as they rounded the far turn and began to get engaged down the backstretch. He willingly moved within 2 lengths of the leaders through a contested half mile in :47 3/5 and while three wide on the far turn in 1:13 for the six furlongs as he dueled with and put away front runners HERO OF ORDER and ALEXANDER THEGREAT when taking the lead at the top of the lane. He was soon joined by SHARED PROPERTY who rallied wide and engaged the winner and then by Z DAGGER, who was part of the favored Zayat Stable entry. Following a long drive from the furlong marker to the wire, neither one could get by MR. BOWLING.

It was an exciting race that began the JIM HURLEY ROAD TO THE DERBY SERIES...and that series continues this coming Sunday, 1/29 with Jim's Win/Exacta/Trifecta selections for the Holy Bull Stakes from Gulfstream Park and with a TRIPLE HEADER the following Saturday, February 4 when they run the Sam F. Davis Stakes from Tampa Bay, the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita.

There are 32 races remaining on the LONG AND WINNING ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY. Make sure you join Jim as he takes you along for a terrific PROFIT RIDE (see details here.)


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