Buchu (Justify) Wins Gr.2 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland

Buchu Doubles Up In Keeneland Stakes

Rigney Racing homebred Buchu (3f Justify x Flowering Peach, by Galileo) started her 3-year-old campaign off with a bang Saturday in the Grade II Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland.

Racing five lengths behind the leader in the one-mile turf race, she was content to let others do the dirty work up front until it was time to move. Racing wide into the stretch, she focused on the target in front of her and reached the leader as they raced into the final furlong. Drawing clear of that one, she had to hold off Mo Town’s Mo Fox Givin to get the victory, but did what was needed to win by half a length with Mo Fox Givin in second.

Trained by Phil Bauer, the Justify daughter has won three of her seven starts with a win in the Grade II Jessamine Stakes last season at the same track also on her resume. The filly is likely to return to Churchill Downs, where she broke her maiden last September, for the Grade II Edgewood Stakes on Kentucky Derby weekend.

“[Phil] told me to just be comfortable and have a lot of confidence because we know she’s a really good filly, and that’s what I did: just stayed all the way around comfortable and she relaxed, and when I asked her to go and she just kicked in. It looked like they were going to go by her but she was just waiting for company,” said jockey Martin Garcia.

Buchu is a granddaughter of the multiple graded stakes winner Naples Bay, whose runners include Galileo’s Group III winner and Group I fourth First Minister.

Buchu’s Galileo dam Flowering Peach was a two-time winner herself as one of five winners from five named foals out of Naples Bay. Naples Bay is a half-sister to three-time Grade I winner and successful sire Medaglia d’Oro.

Flowering Peach had an Uncle Mo colt last year and a Golden Pal filly on February 10.

It’s been a big start to the Keeneland meet for Triple Crown winner Justify, who saw his champion daughter Just F Y I finish second on Friday in the Grade I Ashland Stakes while making her 2024 debut. The winner of that race was also out of a Galileo mare.