Captain Bombastic wins the Polynesian Stakes at Laurel Park.
Team Hanley’s Captain Bombastic, a New York-bred son of Forty Tales trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Feargal Lynch, pulled away from Grade 1 winner Roadster down the stretch to win the $100,000 Polynesian Saturday at Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.
A 10-1 longshot, Captain Bombastic’s victory was his first under the shedrow of Hall of Famer Asmussen. The colt was previously trained by Chad Brown and Jeremiah Englehart. Captain Bombastic covered the mile in 1:36.11, winning by a length over Cordmaker, who was disqualified from second and placed sixth for interference down the stretch. Phat Man, who finished third, was placed second.
The Polynesian victory capped a big day for Asmussen and Lynch. Just 30 minutes earlier, Jalen Journey, trained by Asmussen and ridden by Lynch, was placed first in the $200,000 Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash after winning favorite Wondrwherecraigis was disqualified from first for interfering with Jalen Journey down the stretch.
“It was a great day,” Lynch said. “Getting put up is never ideal. You don’t want to win that way. But sometimes you’re the windscreen and sometimes you’re the bug.”
Toby Sheets, assistant trainer to Asmussen, said of Captain Bombastic: “He had been training well. We gave him a bit of a break and lightened up on him and he came right back around. [Lynch] saw a hole and probably thought he should go for it after the last race.”
Captain Bombastic, whose last victory came in August of 2020 in the New York Stallion Stakes, was fourth in last year’s Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and sixth in the Grade 3 Chick Lang at Pimlico. On Saturday, in his second start for Asmussen, the 4-year-old raced third down the backstretch behind a :23.68 opening quarter set by Roadster and Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, riding at Laurel for the first time since 2007. Approaching the turn, Lynch saw an opening along the rail and guided Captain Bombastic to the front. Roadster stayed outside Captain Bombastic past a :47.05 half mile and poked his nose in front again around the turn. But Lynch took the lead back entering the stretch and Roadster couldn’t keep up.
“With Steve’s horses, you don’t get in their way and you just get good position,” Lynch said. “When Mike left the rail open, it was either go in there or take back. But Steve’s horses…they’re warriors. It’s so hard to describe. You look at their ears, they’re flat back and they want to win more than anybody.”
Roadster, a $525,000 yearling in 2017, was a highly regarded juvenile and later a Kentucky Derby contender after winning the 2019 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby for trainer Bob Baffert. But that victory has remained his last trip to the winner’s circle. He came into the Polynesian off a fourth-place finish in April in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs.
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