Captain Bombastic works out a clever trip to win Mike Lee

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Team Hanley’s athletic Captain Bombastic (Forty Tales), who kept himself busy at Oaklawn Park while New York racing was shuttered, celebrated a triumphant return to his home state Sunday with a clever victory in Belmont’s $100,000 Mike Lee Stakes for New York-bred sophomores at seven furlongs on the main track.

Set to make his sixth career start and third start at three, Captain Bombastic had the advantage of more recency than many of his seven rivals, but more important, the Jeremiah Englehart-trainee had been honing his skills against stakes-quality rivals in a pair of allowance races in Hot Springs Arkansas.

On March 14, he handled the sloppy going to finish a solid second to Taishan, who came back to finish third in the Oaklawn Stakes to longshot Mr. Big News and Belmont Stakes-bound Farmington Road. On April 11 going a mile he finished second to Belmont Stakes contender Pneumatic.

Englehart said, “[Captain Bombastic]’s races [at Oaklawn Park] were against some tough competition, especially in the last couple of months. It got very competitive.”

Oaklawn aside, coming into the Mike Lee Captain Bombastic had never run a bad race. A maiden-breaker on debut at Belmont going 6 1/2 furlongs on September 28, he came right back to win the Sleepy Hollow on Showcase Day by a determined head. He completed his juvenile campaign with a third-place finish in the slop in the hotly-contested $500,000 Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes.

In the Mike Lee betting Captain Bombastic was the 3-1 second choice under Luis Saez behind three-time stakes winner Dream Bigger, who was favored to win at odds of 3-2.

Possessed of good gate speed, Captain Bombastic, was right up with the scrum battling for the lead after the break. Listentoyourheart, the longest shot on the board, came out on top of the early tussle, joined soon by Three Jokers and Dream Bigger, as Captain Bombastic settled at the rail in fourth through early fractions of 22.51 and 45.45.

Listentoyourheart preserved his lead under pressure rounding the far turn, while a ground-saving Captain Bombastic stuck to the rail through upper stretch.

Coglianese Photos

By midstretch Captain Bombastic faced possible trouble as he found himself directly behind Listentoyourheart and Three Jokers, who were racing in tight quarters. Luckily the pair separated, a seam opened and the Captain Bombastic took advantage, accelerating through and edging off to win by 1 1/4 lengths. He completed the seven furlongs in 1:21.94.

Listentoyourheart, winner of last year’s Aspirant at Finger Lakes but utterly dismissed by bettors at odds of 38-1, held well for second, finishing a length in front of Dream Bigger in third. Completing the order of finish were City Man, Three Jokers, Mission Wrapitup, Bourbon Bay and Gandy Dancing. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“He just looked really good coming into this race,” Englehart said. “He’s not really a big horse, he’s just very athletic and I thought Luis [Saez] did a great job. I didn’t want to be down in behind horses on the fence, I thought we’d be more in the clear, but it worked out well.

“I thought we would sit a stalking trip on the outside, but Luis rode him very confidently, saved the ground on the turn, split horses and had horse to finish.”

Saez reported, “There was a nice pace up front. That was the plan. I knew we had a couple speed [types] outside of us, so the plan was to track them. We got our spot and when we made our move he responded. I was very comfortable. I had a lot of horse. When he put me in that spot, I knew he was going to win.”

As to the under-the-radar runner-up, Listentoyourheart’s jockey Junior Alvarado said, “He ran a big race. He broke very sharp and I decided to try and take it from there. I thought maybe because I’m on a longshot, they would let me go out nice and easy. He did show that he belonged with these horses. He finished up well.”

Bred by Chester and Mary Broman, Captain Bombastic issues from a familiar and highly accomplished family. A half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner and millionaire Highway Star (Girolamo), he is one of five winners out of Stolen Star, a multiple stakes-placed homebred for the Bromans by Cat Thief, and a half-sister to the Bromans’ multiple stakes winner and Friend or Foe, now a sire, whose progeny include multiple stakes winner and millionaire Mr. Buff. Stolen Star has a yearling filly by Malibu Moon and foaled a colt by Good Magic on March 26, 2020. Chester Broman purchased Stolen Star’s dam, Unbridled Star (Unbridled), for $115,000 at the 2002 Keeneland November Sale.

When Captain Bombastic was offered at public auction for the first time as a juvenile at the OBS March sale last year, bloodstock agent Pete Bradley of Bradley Thoroughbreds guided future owner Jay Hanley in the colt’s direction and signed the $80,000 ticket to seal the deal.

Englehart said, “He’s a really cool horse. He’s not the biggest horse. He’s small compared to most of the horses in this race, but he likes to run. His sister [Highway Star] is the same way. [Trainer] Rodrigo [Ubillo] did a great job with Highway Star and it’s just a very nice family.”

He added, “Pete Bradley did a really good job picking this horse out for Jay Hanley and the partners.”

Leave a Reply