Updated 1 month ago
Morton Fink's reigning Horse of the Year, Wise Dan, worked a half-mile in :47.40 over Keeneland's main track Friday morning with regular morning partner Damien Rock aboard.
Working on his own at 7 o'clock, Wise Dan clocked his first quarter-mile in :23.60 and galloped five furlongs in 1:00.
"Pretty awesome - :11s and :12s all the way," trainer Charlie LoPresti said of the eight-mile splits. "He is just as good as last year."
In his final work at Keeneland last fall before going to Santa Anita and winning the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (G1), Wise Dan worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 on the main track.
LoPresti had considered working Wise Dan on the turf, but opted for the main track.
"I was a little concerned the turf might be a little soft," LoPresti said. "The Polytrack is consistent and a little better when it has some moisture in it. He doesn't have to train on the turf. He didn't last year. I knew I had a good track on the Polytrack."
Wise Dan, who has won a Keeneland-record five stakes, is coming off a second-place finish in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) that was rained off the turf on Oct. 5. He is scheduled to ship to Santa Anita on Oct. 29.
"I might jog him in the morning on the training track to see how he came out of the work," LoPresti said. "Sunday will be his off day."
SYCAMORE RUNNERS MOVE ON TO NEXT ASSIGNMENTS
Najjaar's victory in Thursday's off-the-turf Sycamore was the first Keeneland stakes triumph for trainer Dan Peitz. Najjaar returned to the Trackside Training Center in Louisville last night.
Trainer Graham Motion said runner-up Eagle Poise came out of the race fine and will be pointed to the 1¾-mile Valedictory Stakes (G3), a race he won in 2011, which will be run at Woodbine on Dec. 15. Motion also trains Nutello, the morning-line favorite for the Sycamore who was scratched from the race.
"We brought him over here to run on firm turf," Motion said. "I am not sure what's next for him, maybe the Red Smith (a Grade 3 race at 1 3/8 miles on Nov. 16) in New York."
Robbie Medina, assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey, said third-place finisher Tricky Hat (CHI) and sixth-place finisher Reflecting, exited the race well.
"Tricky Hat is already heading back to New York and Reflecting will go either to New York or straight to Florida," Medina said.
Plans for fourth-place finisher Suntracer were undetermined, according to Drew Coontz, assistant to trainer Chris Block.
"He came out of the race good," Coontz said. "He may be going back home (to Block's main base in Chicago)."
WEAVER HOPES TO DOUBLE HIS PLEASURE IN WEEKEND STAKES
As the lone Grade 1 winner in a field of 14, Richlyn Farm's Lighthouse Bay appears to own a huge class edge going into Saturday's 15th running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs on Keeneland's Polytrack surface.
The Polytrack is the unknown variable for Lighthouse Bay, who has never raced on the all-weather surface.
"(Thursday) morning was the first time she has set foot on an all-weather surface," trainer George Weaver said. "I hope she adapts to it. I've found that they either like it or they don't. I like to come in right on top of the race. A lot of times, they will do well the first couple of days on the all-weather and then go through an adjustment period. This way they can run before they adjust."
Winner of the Prioress (G1) at Saratoga in July, Lighthouse Bay finished fifth in the seven-furlong Test (G1) in her most recent start on Aug. 24 at Saratoga.
"We had her in a race at Belmont three weeks ago, but there was an incident at the starting gate and she had to be scratched," Weaver said. "But she is doing well and had a nice work at Saratoga Monday before coming here."
A Kentucky native, Weaver has another filly with a class edge in this afternoon's 23rd running of the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) in Bona Venture Stables' Summer of Fun.
Third in the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) here last fall, Summer of Fun followed that effort with a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita to conclude her 2012 campaign. This year, Summer of Fun has run only four times with two victories, a second and a fifth-place finish in the Garden City (G1) in her most recent start in which she was beaten less than two lengths.
"We planned to give her some time after the Breeders' Cup," Weaver said. "But there was a lot of small stuff - a bruise, a fever - that we did not get her back to the races until March. We had a race for her at Calder that got rained off the turf so then we pointed for the race at Pimlico."
That race was the Hilltop, in which Summer of Fun was beaten by a nose by Emotional Kitten.
"Our filly ran well that day and the filly that beat her was no slouch," Weaver said of Emotional Kitten, who placed in two Grade 1 races in California after the Hilltop.
JEWEL OF A CAT BRINGS PERKINS BACK TO KEENELAND
In his career as a trainer, Ben Perkins Jr. has made occasional forays into Central Kentucky from his East Coast bases. He is back at Keeneland this week to saddle Jewel of a Cat in Saturday's $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) at seven furlongs.
"I was taking her to the track and went past the test barn and could not believe it had been five years since I was last here," said Perkins, who that year sent out Wild Gams to a runner-up finish in the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).
In Jewel of a Cat, Perkins has a filly in a similar mold to Wild Gams, who earned nearly $1.2 million in her career that included a victory in the 2007 TCA over Keeneland's all-weather surface.
Wild Gams raced once on an all-weather surface before her TCA victory. Jewel of a Cat will have her Polytrack debut Saturday.
"She has run well on dirt and turf," Perkins said. "We bought her at Ocala and she breezed a fast time at the sale and looked good on Polytrack. That was one of the considerations in buying her, but not the final consideration."
Jewel of a Cat won the Coronation Cup at 5½ furlongs on the turf in her most recent start at Saratoga on Aug. 12.
"We looked at a couple of turf races at Belmont that didn't go, so we had nowhere to go," Perkins said. "We looked at the Buffalo Trace (Franklin County last Friday), but that was a tough field of older horses for half the money, so we thought we'd try this."
Wild Gams closed her career here in the 2008 TCA, and Perkins remembers her well.
"We sold her right after that," Perkins said. "Her second foal by Unbridled's Song, Almost Famous, won his first start last month at Churchill Downs for Pat Byrne."
KEENELAND NOVEMBER BREEDING STOCK SALE FEATURED ON KEENELAND.COM
On Nov. 5, another type of horsepower will be featured at Keeneland with the start of the 70th annual Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, the largest Thoroughbred auction of its kind in the world. Major buyers from around the world attend the sale, which specializes in in-foal broodmares and recently retired stakes-winning fillies ready to become broodmares.
This year's sale features a long list of fillies that were outstanding racehorses. Among them are Groupie Doll, the 2012 champion female sprinter, and Grade 1 winner Daisy Devine, both of whom should be familiar to Keeneland racing fans. One can learn more about notable horses in the sale on Keeneland.com at http://www.keeneland.com/sales/featured-november-offerings/ Features include photos, videos, pedigree information and more.
The sale includes additional Grade 1 winners Byrama (GB), Executiveprivilege, Lady of Fifty and Lady of Shamrock, as well as Grade 1 winners Awesome Maria and R Heat Lightning from the dispersal of horses owned by E. Paul Robsham Stables LLC.
The breeding and racing stock of the late Eric Kronfeld, breeder of Horse of the Year and three-time champion older mare Zenyatta and multiple Grade 1 winner Balance, also will be dispersed at the sale.
Accomplished mares that are carrying foals by leading stallions and are cataloged for the Keeneland November Sale include Ask the Moon (in foal to War Front), Diamondrella (GB) (Distorted Humor), Dr. Zic (Gemologist), Home Sweet Aspen (Bernardini) and Summer Soiree (Medaglia d'Oro).
On Nov. 12, the November Sale will feature horses of racing age. Adena Springs Farm, agent, and WinStar Racing, agent, among others have large consignments selling that day.
Horses such as these are extremely valuable to Thoroughbred breeders. At the 2007 Keeneland November Sale, English champion Playful Act (IRE) brought $10.5 million, the third-highest price paid for a horse at Keeneland. In 2005, champion Ashado, who earned nearly $4 million on the racetrack, was sold for $9 million a few days after her final race. In 2011, future champion Royal Delta brought $8.5 million a few days after she won the first of two consecutive runnings of the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1).
The sale, which runs through Nov. 14, will be streamed live on Keeneland.com.
Jockey Alan Garcia won three consecutive races on Thursday. He won the fifth with Robert S. Evans' Jerry Love, trained by Michael Trombetta; the sixth with Magic City Thoroughbred Partners' Frac Daddy, trained by Ken McPeek; and the seventh with Live Oak Plantation's Autobahn Legend, trained by H. Graham Motion. Garcia has five winners for the meet.
Frac Daddy completed a trifecta of sorts when he won an off-the-turf allowance race. The 3-year-old Scat Daddy colt has won three times: once on dirt, once on turf and once on Polytrack. "He's done them all. When he's good, he's good," trainer Ken McPeek said of Thursday's geared-down, 3½-length victory. "We are looking at probably coming back in the ($100,000-added) Commonwealth Turf (G3) on Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs." ...
Maria Bowersock trained her first Keeneland winner when 36-1 longshot Snow Fair captured Thursday's ninth race. With Natalie Garoufalis, Bowersock owns the 6-year-old Snow Ridge mare, who won the 6½-furlong claiming race by three-quarters of a length in 1:15.24. Ronald Allen Jr. rode the winner. ...
Regis Racing's Zinzay, runner-up in the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) on Oct. 9, will not go to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). "She's on a farm in Ocala (Fla.)," trainer Rusty Arnold said. "She will spend all of November and December there and join our barn at Palm Meadows Jan. 1 to gear up for her 3-year-old campaign."
FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Saturday, Oct. 19
Sunrise Trackside. Fans can experience the sights and sounds of Keeneland before the gates open for the race day. It's a morning filled with fun for family or out-of-town guests featuring:
Breakfast With the Works - Sponsored by Dunkin Donuts and WLEX-18. Watch the horses during their morning workouts while enjoying breakfast in the trackside Equestrian Room from
7-8:30 a.m. Breakfast is $7; children under three eat free.
Children's Activities - Join us in the Kids Club Corner, adjacent to the Equestrian Room, from
7-9 a.m. for free children's activities, including photos in colorful jockey silks and face painting. Sign up for Keeneland Kids Club and meet the Kids Club mascot, Buckles.
Tours - Race fans can take a free tour of Keeneland's grounds from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Tours will begin at the Welcome Center in the paddock.
Paddock Demonstration - A demonstration by the North American Racing Academy, which is part of the Bluegrass Community and Technical College and trains jockeys and others pursuing careers in the racing industry, will be featured in the paddock at 8:45 a.m.
Handicapping Seminar - Need a little help making your picks for the day? Keeneland offers a free trackside handicapping seminar at 11:30 a.m.
Jockey Q&A - Ever wonder what it feels like to ride a Thoroughbred? Fans can submit questions to Joe Rocco Jr. during a Q&A session at 12:05 p.m. in the walking ring.
Jockey Autograph Book - Patrons may purchase a full-color jockey autograph book featuring riders from Keeneland's legendary jockey colony at Sunrise Trackside or the Keeneland Gift Shop. The books are $5; proceeds benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Tailgating on The Hill. Located adjacent to the Keene Barn and Entertainment Center, The Hill will feature a variety of food trucks, a jumbo television screen featuring Keeneland racing and SEC college football, live Bluegrass music, the Keeneland Gift Shop, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, and race-day programs and general admission tickets available for purchase. A complimentary shuttle will take fans to the grandstand. BETologists will be on hand to assist fans.
The Keeneland Gift Shop will feature University of Kentucky merchandise and the Vineyard Vines collection from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Craft Beer Tent. A craft beer tent in the North Terrace will feature popular local craft beers.