Buchu (Justify) Wins the Gr.2 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland

Buchu Breeders’ Cup Bound after G2 Jessamine

It was another Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” winner for Justify on Friday when Buchu (2f Justify x Flowering Peach, by Galileo) earned her spot in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with a Grade II Jessamine Stakes victory.

Happy to take a spot near the back of the field in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, the Rigney Racing homebred kept up that spot until the field raced around the far turn. Martin Garcia piloted her near the center of the track as they turned into the stretch. Buchu had plenty of ground to make up down the lane and it wasn’t until the final furlong that her big turn of foot kicked in.

The filly quickly took control of the race to win by 3 ¾ lengths with American Pharoah’s Pharoah’s Wine in second a nose in front of Classic Empire’s Crown Imperial.

“I knew it was going to be big speed so I just let her break and relax,” said Garcia. “In the first turn I just took it easy and took her back and she relaxed on the backside. At the five-sixteenths I just took her out and then I asked her to go, and all I could see was just going by horses. I’m like, ‘I’m going to win!’ She’s a phenomenal filly. We won again. Thanks to the trainer and the owner for the opportunity. She’s a superstar.”

This is the second consecutive victory for the Philip Bauer-trained Buchu, who broke her maiden last out and has been in the top three in four of her five starts.

This is the first foal out of Grade II fourth Flowering Peach, who is out of the multiple graded stakes winner Naples Bay. That mare also produced Group III winner First Minister and is a half-sister to multiple Grade I winner and successful sire Medaglia d’Oro.

Flowering Bay foaled an Uncle Mo colt on February 3 of this year.

This is the second Breeders’ Cup challenge winner for Justify in the past three days after Hard To Justify earned a spot in the same race on Wednesday in the Grade II Miss Grillo.