Valorie Lund likes to take a patient approach with her young racehorses, allowing them to develop at their own pace. With Bodenheimer, she didn’t have to wait.
“As soon as we started working him, I told my sister, ‘This might be the first 2-year-old I’ve had that might actually be headed to the Breeders’ Cup,’ ’’ Lund said. “I’ve trained horses for close to 40 years, and it was apparent really early that he’s one of the special ones.’’
Bodenheimer made good on that promise, earning his way into the Breeders’ Cup less than four months after winning his career debut at Canterbury Park. He will start Friday in the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint, which kicks off the two-day, 14-race Breeders’ Cup card at Kentucky’s Keeneland Race Course. The speedy colt is co-third choice on the morning line in the 14-horse field, following a victory last month at Keeneland that gave him a guaranteed spot in the race.
Lund’s second Breeders’ Cup start will be a celebration of family, both equine and human. Bodenheimer is the son of her first Breeders’ Cup horse, Atta Boy Roy, who finished 10th in the Sprint a decade ago. The colt is co-owned by Lund’s mother, Marylou Holden, and sister Kristin Boice, and he is named for Boice’s husband, Entz Bodenheimer Boice.
Bodenheimer began his career with an 11 ¼-length triumph at Canterbury on July 29. That solidified Lund’s ambitions for the Breeders’ Cup, which only grew as he amassed three wins in four starts and $141,225 in earnings.
“I was certain he would win that first race, but I was surprised by how far and how fast,’’ said Lund, who has raced at Canterbury for several years. “And when we first started breezing him, he did it so easily. That’s the mark of a good horse.
“Mama is 82 years old, and I’m so thrilled she gets to go to the Breeders’ Cup with a horse. The whole thing is just so exciting.’’
The offspring of Atta Boy Roy, the most accomplished horse Lund has trained, are providing a second generation of star power to her barn. Mr. Jagermeister was Canterbury Park’s horse of the year in 2018 and is one of the highest-earning horses in the track’s history. He was a stakes winner at age 2, as is Bodenheimer, a Washington-bred purchased last year for $27,000.
Following his maiden win on the Canterbury turf, Bodenheimer won his first race on dirt, capturing the Prairie Gold Juvenile at Iowa’s Prairie Meadows. Lund then took him to Kentucky, where he scored a gate-to-wire victory in the Oct. 4 Indian Summer Stakes over the same turf course that will host the Breeders’ Cup.
Lund is in the process of moving her winter home from Arizona to Kentucky and is currently headquartered at a training center only 10 miles from Keeneland. Bodenheimer put in a solid final workout Saturday at the track, and Brian Hernandez Jr., who rode the colt in his past two races, will be back aboard for the Breeders’ Cup.
Ten years ago, when Atta Boy Roy ran in the Breeders’ Cup, Lund expected to be nervous. It never happened, because she had faith in her horse and her preparation. She anticipates feeling the same way Friday, thanks to a colt that has been on the fast track from the start.
“I know he will show up and give us his best,’’ Lund said. “We’re just thrilled beyond belief to be here. Having your horse on the world stage at the Breeders’ Cup, there’s nothing like it.’’