Trainer Valorie Lund spoke highly of the 2-year-old colt Bodenheimer before his smashing 11 ¼ length win at Canterbury Park on July 29. She dared mention Breeders’ Cup. On Sunday at Keeneland, Bodenheimer proved her accurate with a gate-to-wire victory in the win-and-you’re-in Indian Summer Stakes, earning a place in the starting gate at Keeneland Nov. 6 for the $1 million G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at 5 ½ furlongs.
“We’re so thrilled because this means an opportunity to take him to the Breeders’ Cup which I’ve never had a 2-year-old that I thought early in the year was good enough,” Lund said in a post-race interview Sunday. She knew she had something special when she began to breeze the horse towards his first race.
Bodenheimer was a $27,000 purchase in the Washington September sale last year for owners
Kristin Boice and Marylou Holden. He a Washington bred by Atta Boy Roy and will be the seventh from The Evergreen State to run in the Breeders’ Cup. None of the previous six were winners.
“I’ve gone to the sale quite often,” Lund said. The yearling’s caretaker sent Lund a photo and she “liked the balance of the colt.” She made plans to fly to Washington. At the time Lund thought “if he looks like this in person, we want him.”
Lund, who has for several years kept a summer stable at Canterbury, campaigned the sire Atta Boy Roy to 14 wins from 36 starts from 2008 to 2013 with a graded stakes win and Breeders’ Cup Sprint appearance along the way. Atta Boy Roy is also the sire of another Lund runner, the multiple stakes winner of $590,000, Mr. Jagermeister.
Brian Hernandez, Jr. was aboard Sunday and will be again five Fridays from now. The veteran jockey has 13 Breeders’ Cup mounts with a win in the Classic in 2012 on Fort Larned for trainer Ian Wilkes. Hernandez in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup had two seconds and a third. His mounts have earned $3.82 million on North American racing’s biggest day.
Lund shipped her stable to Ashwood Training Center in September, located in Lexington, KY just 20 minutes from Keeneland. Before entering Bodenheimer at Kentucky Downs for the Turf Sprint Sept. 12, she contacted Churchill Downs racing secretary Ben Huffman regarding a jockey. It was determined a Kentucky-based rider would be best just in case something goes amiss with jockey protocol before November. Given a list of riders and agent phone numbers she got in touch with Hernandez’ agent and that was that.
It has been 10 years since Lund was fortunate to have a Breeders’ Cup quality horse in Atta Boy Roy. It’s not something she plans for. Not all trainers have the luxury of shedrows full of multi-million dollar 2-year-olds. Those that don’t work hard with what they have, always on the lookout for that next ‘big horse’ and able to recognize one should it materialize. Lund has been on this stage before. “I’ll sleep just fine,” she said. With five weeks to go, Lund will approach the Breeders’ Cup the same way she did the Indian Summer.
“I took him over last week [to Keeneland] and breezed him. I’ll train him exactly the same. Ship him over to breeze for his works. He’s a real good shipper and calm in the stall.” Once protocols for final ship-in dates are set she will send Bodenheimer to Keeneland with a groom and await the race but until then Ashwood Training Center is the perfect home.
The Keeneland Fall meet continues with a Wednesday through Sunday schedule until Oct. 24 and then racing returns for Breeders’ Cup. Canterbury’s Racebook is open daily. Reservations for the Friday of Breeders’ Cup are free and can be made HERE. Tickets for Nov. 7 are on sale now.