New owner David Bernsen feels an efficient break is the key if Lasting Legacy is to have a say in the $2m Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland next month.
Lasting Legacy was claimed by Bernsen for $80,000 out of a fourth-place finish in an allowance/optional claiming race at Keeneland early this month.
Formerly trained by Bret Calhoun, his new ownership have put him under the eye of Bob Hess Jr. and Bernsen suggests he has always viewed Lasting Legacy as a possible outsider to note in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
“I just thought it was a horse that if a couple of other horses had dropped out [of the Sprint], like Volatile had dropped out of there, it was pretty wide open [for him],” Bernsen said.
“He’s a horse that if he can solve his problem breaking from the gate then you’ve got a chance in the race.”
That’s the area that Lasting Legacy must improve on, according to his new owner. Bernsen admits that giving the field a headstart leaving the starting gates will likely block any hopes of success, given the quality expected to be in the Keeneland race.
“I just don’t know in the Breeders’ Cup if you’re going to be able to run them down if you break last,” Bernsen said. “You’re completely out of it. But if he breaks right I think he’ll definitely be right there.”
Grade 1 Met Mile winner Vekoma and Diamond Oops, who most recently won the Grade 2 Phoenix at Keeneland on October 2nd are amongst the potential opposition.
Lasting Legacy has clashed with Diamond Oops before, taking second-best in the Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream Park last December. Bernsen points to that familiar pattern as reason for that defeat.
However, he does see the positives and suggests his proximity to that rival is encouraging with the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in mind.
“He broke bad,” Bernsen said. “But he almost ran down Diamond Oops in the race and I think Diamond Oops has a really great chance this year.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. will ride Lasting Legacy in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, replacing Paco Lopez, after Bernsen confirmed that the latter is not going to be at Keeneland for the November 6th & 7th World Championships meeting.
Kalypso, who runs next Sunday at Santa Anita in the Anoakia Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert, is likely to be aimed at the Breeders’ Cup Juveniles Fillies should she win this weekend and, if she makes it, would give owner Bernsen a possible second string to his bow at the prestigious meeting.