Jim Bolger, soon to turn 80 years old, sent out his own homebred POETIC FLARE to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1. The 16-to-1 chance won by a short head under 54-year-old rider Kevin Manning, Bolger’s son-in-law, and the 3-year-old colt is owned by Bolger’s wife, Jackie.

The son of Dawn Approach, who also won the 2000 Guineas for Bolger, raced 1 mile in 1:35.69 and could go next in the Irish 2000 Guineas before the Group 1 St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in July.

You can read more on the Guineas here.

Poetic Flare is a descendant of a famous Windfields Farm family. His fourth dam is the E.P. Taylor-bred mare VICTORIAN QUEEN, a multiple stakes winner by Majestic Light from the mare Willowfield by Stratus.

Victorian Queen produced millionaire Judge Angelucci and Poetic Flare’s 3rd dam Saviour. Saviour is the dam of Elida, who was bred by the Bolgers and is the second dam of their 2000 Guineas champion.  From the Racing Post, “He’s the most complete racehorse I’ve ever had,” said Bolger, whose past champions have included the likes of 2008 Derby winner New Approach, Teofilo, Finsceal Beo, Alexander Goldrun and St Jovite. “He’s the complete package — you couldn’t find a fault with him. If he was sent to a new trainer in the morning he’d just pick it up from there.”

Poetic Flare had shown his ability right from the start of his career when winning on the opening day of the Irish Flat season last year before the combination of the Covid-19 shutdown of racing and the horse growing kept him off the course until the Dewhurst Stakes.

While that race did not go to plan for Poetic Flare, he landed the Killavullan Stakes a week later and returned with victory in the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last month. That performance was enough to give him the nod over stablemate Mac Swiney, last year’s Vertem Futurity winner and leading Cazoo Derby contender, when it came to who got to line up at Newmarket, albeit only just.


CHURCHILL DOWNS has fabulous finishes on Kentucky Derby undercard

FLAGSTAFF, a 7-year-old son of Speightstown, won the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes at 7 furlongs with a remarkable burst in a crowd of horses. (Churchill Downs photo)

Before the 7 p.m. Kentucky Derby, won by MEDINA SPIRIT over Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality, there were a litany of graded stakes races that had incredible finishes.

Lane’s End Racing and Hronis Racing’s Flagstaff re-emerged from the middle of a tight pack in the final yards to win the 86th running of the $500,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (GI) for 4-year-olds and up by a head.

Trained by John Sadler and ridden by Luis Saez, Flagstaff covered the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:21.82.

The victory was worth $288,300 and increased Flagstaff’s earnings to $991,585 with a record of 19-7-6-3 that includes three graded stakes scores.

Flagstaff was part of an early scramble for the lead that produced fractions of :21.97 and :44.21. On the far turn, Flagstaff was shuffled back to fifth along the inside but Saez tipped his runner to the outside and with a five-wide move surged to the lead at the top of the stretch.

Flagstaff moved to a daylight advantage but in deep stretch was engulfed by Whitmore to his outside and Lexitonian to his inside. The trio raced into deep stretch as a team with Flagstaff edging clear at the wire.

Flagstaff is a 7-year-old gelded son of Speightstown out of the A.P. Indy mare Indyan Giving. He was bred in Kentucky.

“I know Whitmore is a good horse but my horse really dug in. When I saw everybody coming past me I thought it was over but he never gave up and finally he gave me the last little bit and we got there. John told me to ride him with confidence and that he likes to fight and we broke and then you saw that at the end.”

Robert and Lawana Low’s favored Colonel Liam and Klaravich Stables’ Domestic Spending (GB) hit the finish line together to dead heat for the victory with Smooth Like Strait another neck back in the 35th running of the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (GI) for 4-year-olds and up.

Smooth Like Strait led the field of nine through fractions of :24.40 and :49.17 as Colonel Liam tracked in third under Irad Ortiz Jr. and Domestic Spending with Flavien Prat aboard raced near the back of the pack. Colonel Liam cut the corner turning for home, moved to the outside of Smooth Like Strait and eventually forged to the lead at the eighth pole.

While Colonel Liam was taking over, Domestic Spending was working his way through traffic. Prat moved Domestic Spending to the outside of Colonel Liam and was closing fast, drawing even at the finish line and completing the mile and an eighth on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:47.99.

Chad Brown trains Domestic Spending and Todd Pletcher conditions Colonel Liam. It is the third consecutive victory in the race for Klaravich and Brown having won with Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar in 2018 and Digital Age (IRE) last year. Pletcher won the race in 2006 with English Channel.

Canadian stuff 

MEDINA SPIRIT’s broodmare sire BRILLIANT SPEED is a half-brother to SOUPER SPEEDY, a top sire in Ontario. Both are out of the mare Speed Succeeds, a daughter of the super stakes winner/stakes producer DAIJUN, a daughter of blue hen mare PASSING MOOD.

KEEPMEINMIND, trained by Calgary-born Robertino Diodoro, had a decent run in the Derby to finish seventh as the colt ran his best race of his 3-year-old season.

Woodbine’s leading trainer MARK CASSE sent out Helium to finish 8th and Soup and Sandwich was eased in the Derby.

Queen’s Plate eligible SMILEY SOBOTKA and RIPTIDE ROCK had a rough go of things in allowance races on May 1.

Smiley Sobotka had a better outing compared to his first two races of 2021 as he battled on the pace before fading to 5th at Churchill Downs in a 1 1/8 mile race on dirt. The Dale Romans-trainee earned a 74 Beyer Speed Figure and the winner of the race, Masqueparade, won by 11 lengths with a 98 Beyer Figure.

RIPTIDE ROCK, owned by Stronach Stables, was fourth in a 1 1/16 mile allowance race at Oaklawn Park, 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner. This gelding won his maiden at Woodbine in a turf sprint and appears to  be headed for similar races.