ARCADIA, Calif. -- Bourbon Bay had a perfect meeting at Santa Anita this winter and spring, going undefeated in four races, and his win in Sunday's $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap was the race that left trainer Neil Drysdale most happy.
The trainer said after the race that the San Juan Capistrano's distance of about 1 3/4 miles on turf had him concerned.
"I think a mile and three-quarters is stretching him a little bit," Drysdale said.
Ridden by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, Bourbon Bay ($3.60) was timed in 2:44.52, holding a late threat from 21-1 Unusual Suspect to win by a half-length. Skellytown, a 25-1 outsider finished third in the field of 10, 1 1/4 lengths behind Bourbon Bay
Drysdale was full of praise for jockey Bejarano, who was also aboard for Bourbon Bay's win earlier this year in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo and Grade 2 San Luis Rey handicaps.
"He gave him a picture perfect ride," Drysdale said.
Bourbon Bay became the first horse to win the San Luis Obispo, San Luis Rey and San Juan Capistrano handicaps in the same year since Kotashaan in 1993.
Bourbon Bay was fourth for the first mile, stalking Stalingrad, who led by as many as eight lengths through the 1 1/4 miles. Stalingrad began to tire on the turn, when Tap It Light took a short-lived lead. Bourbon Bay rallied three wide to reach contention in early stretch and took the lead in the final furlong.
Owned by Dave and Jill Heerensperger, Bourbon Bay has won 5 of 13 starts and $389,424. A 4-year-old by Sligo Bay, Bourbon Bay began the winter-spring meeting with a victory in an optional claimer over 1 1/2 miles on turf, a distance that Drysdale thought would best suit the gelding.
Drysdale said he has no next-race plans for Bourbon Bay.
"We'll probably give him a rest," he said.