Battle Station romps in Bertram F. Bongard

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

At Belmont Park this past Wednesday, Held Accountable parlayed a debut turf sprint victory into a 2 1/4-length win going seven furlongs on dirt in the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes. Not to be outdone, Battle Station replicated the achievement in the male division of this week’s paired New York-bred juvenile stakes, Friday’s $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard, but, in his case, romped by nearly 10 lengths.

A dark bay colt by Warrior’s Reward campaigned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Wesley Ward, Battle Station graduated at first asking at Saratoga on August 25 on the front end, earning an impressive first Beyer Speed Figure of 72. Returning to the races for his stakes debut after four weeks and with one interim drill under his belt, the colt was reunited with debut rider Kendrick Carmouche and sent off as third choice of five at odds of 5-1.

It took a while for the Bongard field to get on its way, and Battle Station was the culprit. He broke through the gate and got What a Catch (next door) stirred up enough to break through as well.

As Carmouche explained after the race, “My horse trigged the gate because he just wanted to come out so bad, and it just caused a chain reaction with Johnny [Velazquez]’s horse [What a Catch]. The good thing is both of them were OK and fought through the race.”

The assistant starter Miguel Ramirez was also heroic in holding on to Battle Station to keep him from running off, but hit the ground hard and had to be taken back in an ambulance for his trouble. Luckily, he was able to walk to the vehicle under his own steam, but it was fully ten minutes past post time before all systems were go again. [UPDATE per DRF: Ramirez, the assistant starter, was taken to a local hospital with shoulder pain.]

Gunned out of post four at the bell, Battle Station took control of the pace right away, and led What a Catch by a length up the backstretch through a first quarter-mile in 22.94. As the field rounded the far turn, these two had separated themselves from the rest, with Battle Station firmly established in the top spot and plenty in the tank.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By the quarter pole, the outcome was in no longer doubt. Battle Station opened up his lead then drew away under a drive, ultimately cruising under the wire a 9 1/4-length winner.

Inalienable Rights, last for the first quarter-mile, closed to finish second, passing What a Catch in late stretch. Completing the order of finish were Untimateenticement and Alien Invasion. After six furlongs in 1:11.30, the final time for seven panels over the fast track was 1:24.83. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“My horse ran very good and I’d like to thank Wesley [Ward] and the Ramseys,” said Carmouche. “I kept him nice and calm throughout and he ran really good. I’ve been working this horse since Saratoga. With Wesley training him and how he gets his 2-year-olds ready, they can do either/or [turf or dirt].”

When the race was drawn, Wesley Ward also commented on the surface switch. “I think he just won on the grass because he’s a good horse. But he’s really a dirt horse.”

Ward also said at the time that he was surprised by how much speed Battle Station showed winning his debut. “This guy is a big, imposing colt – a big, galloping guy. For him to do what he did was an eye-opener for me. I really didn’t expect him to do that.”

Battle Station, bred by Lansdown Thoroughbreds, is one of five winners out of Uriel, a 16-year-old unraced daughter of Unbridled, who was purchased in-foal with Battle Station at the 2014 Keeneland November sale for $17,000. This year Uriel had a filly by Amira’s Prince (IRE) before being bred to Anthony’s Cross.

The Ramseys bought Battle Station, now a perfect two-for-two and winner on both turf and dirt with $133,800 in earnings, as a weanling at the 2015 Keeneland November sale for $50,000.

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