SUNDAY, APRIL 7

First post today through the remainder of the Spring Meet is 1:05 p.m. The 16-day season

runs through Friday, April 26. Keeneland is closed Easter Sunday, April 21.

**********

·         VEKOMA, WEAVER BOTH WELL AFTER TOYOTA BLUE GRASS TRIUMPH

·         CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND WINNER OUT FOR A SPIN RETURNS TO CHURCHILL; JAYWALK REMAINS ON PATH TO KENTUCKY OAKS

·         SPICED PERFECTION GIVES MILLER FIRST KEENELAND STAKES VICTORY IN MADISON

·         COMMONWEALTH WINNER BOBBY’S WICKED ONE EYES GRADE 1 RETURN IN CHURCHILL DOWNS

·         ORSENO THINKING ROYAL ASCOT WITH IMPRIMIS FOLLOWING SHAKERTOWN VICTORY

·         CHELSEA CLOISTERS TOPS OVERFLOW FIELD FOR FRIDAY’S LIMESTONE TURF SPRINT

·         UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

·         SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS

·         SPRING MEET LEADERS

 

VEKOMA, WEAVER BOTH WELL

AFTER TOYOTA BLUE GRASS TRIUMPH

Before the rain began Sunday morning, trainer George Weaver had Toyota Blue Grass (G2) winner Vekoma out of the stall to munch on some grass outside Barn 11.

So, how is the Toyota Blue Grass winner this morning?

“He is well and happy,” Weaver said of the son of Candy Ride (ARG), who is owned by R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables.

And the trainer?

“Well and happy,” Weaver said with a chuckle. “I had no trouble getting up this morning.”

The 3½-length victory secured Vekoma a spot in the starting gate for the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on May 4 at Churchill Downs and set Weaver up for a second shot at the roses.

In 2015, the Louisville native saddled Tencendur, who finished 17th behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“We were excited with (Tencendur) coming into the (Derby) off a second place in the Wood Memorial (G2),” Weaver said. “But they are two different horses. Tencendur was more of a stayer, and this horse has a lot of gears.”

Weaver, along with his 16-year-old son, Ben, headed back to South Florida this morning but planned to return to Keeneland later this week.

“Vekoma is going to walk the next three days and then we will come up with a plan (for the Derby),” Weaver said.

Runner-up Win Win Win is scheduled to return to his home base at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland, on Monday. Owned by Live Oak Plantation, Win Win Win closed with a rush to nose out Signalman for second and pick up 40 points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.

“That was kind of important, wasn’t it?” trainer Mike Trombetta said. “At the quarter pole, I thought I was going to the Preakness (G1).”

Now with 50 points, a figure that is good for 14th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and a probable spot in the starting gate, Win Win Win could have been on the outside looking in had he finished third and earned 20 fewer points.

“I was watching (the race) on the big screen by the Paddock and then I watched it again on my phone last night. He got stopped on the turn pretty significantly,” Trombetta said. “He had nice momentum, but that’s one of the hazards with a big field. Without that, he probably could have made it more interesting (for the winner), but all in all it is probably the happiest I have ever been with a second.”

Like Weaver, Trombetta will be going back for a second shot at the Kentucky Derby. In 2006, he saddled favored Sweetnorthernsaint, who finished seventh behind Barbaro.

“That was a little unique because Sweetnorthernsaint had run a huge race in the Illinois Derby (G2), and that got a lot of people’s attention,” Trombetta said. “This guy (Win Win Win) gets his own attention because he can do a mile and a quarter and for him (distance) is not a question. This was only his second race going two turns. It makes me feel a lot better that the horse that beat us in the (Grade 3) Tampa Bay Derby (Tacitus) came back and won the Wood Memorial yesterday.”

Trombetta plans to keep Win Win Win at Fair Hill until a week before the Derby with his final work coming at Fair Hill.

Signalman, who finished third, also will aim for the Kentucky Derby, trainer Kenny McPeek said.

Owned by Tommie M. Lewis, Steve Crabtree, Dean Demaree, David Bernsen, Jim Chambers and Magdalena Racing, Signalman finished third by 3½ lengths and a nose. That margin might cost Signalman a spot in the Derby lineup; he earned 20 qualifying points instead of 40 for a second-place finish.

With a total of 38 points, Signalman is 18th on the Derby leaderboard. With points still available on April 13 in the Stonestreet Lexington (G3) at Keeneland and Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park, Signalman might be excluded from the Derby’s 20 horse-limit.

“If he can’t make the Derby on points then we will go to the Preakness (G1),” McPeek said. “It is a high-level problem to have. (Signalman and Central Bank Ashland [G1] runner-up Restless Rider) both ran well and that will set them up for the next town. It was a good day overall.”

McPeek said Signalman and Restless Rider, a candidate for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), “will stay at Keeneland another week or two. Maybe they will have another workout at Keeneland, maybe not. I haven’t decided. Once they go back to the track to gallop, we will figure out what their energy levels are. Most likely they will have their final works at Churchill.”



CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND WINNER OUT FOR A SPIN RETURNS

TO CHURCHILL; JAYWALK REMAINS ON PATH TO KENTUCKY OAKS

Commonwealth Stable’s Out for a Spin, who scored a neck victory as a 52-1 shot in Saturday’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), returned to her home base at Churchill Downs following the victory that earned her a spot in the starting gate for the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 3.

Trainer Dallas Stewart, who won the Oaks in 2006 with Lemons Forever, reported via text that Out for a Spin was doing fine Sunday morning.

Runner-up Restless Rider, campaigned by Three Chimneys Farm and Fern Circle Stables, picked up 40 Oaks points in the Ashland. Her total of 62 points is good for eighth on the leaderboard and a guaranteed spot in the Oaks.

D. J. Stable and Cash is King’s champion Jaywalk, third in the Central Bank Ashland as the even-money favorite, remains on track for a Kentucky Oaks bid.

“She’s good this morning,” trainer John Servis said. “She got pressured by that horse on the outside (Out for a Spin), and (jockey) Javier (Castellano) said she dug in and fought back. She stayed on pretty good.”

After being passed by Out for a Spin and Restless Rider on the far turn, Jaywalk gained ground on those two in the short run through the stretch.

“I told my son Tyler after the race that at least this takes some of the pressure off,” Servis said about the high expectations for the 2018 Eclipse Award winner.

Servis, who finished third in 2016 Central Bank Ashland with Cathryn Sophia before going on to win the Oaks, said the plan is to give Jaywalk one work here before shipping to Churchill Downs April 28.

With 51 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks, Debby M. Oxley’s sixth-place finisher Chocolate Kisses is virtually guaranteed a spot in the Oaks starting gate.

“We tried to change her running style a little bit in the Ashland, so that is just one of those races you draw a line through,” said David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse. “Mark and the Oxleys will make the decision, but the Kentucky Oaks is definitely on the table. (Chocolate Kisses) will stay at Keeneland until maybe a week before (the Oaks). Keeneland has a great track surface to train on and the barn area is quiet. Horses do very well at Keeneland.”



SPICED PERFECTION GIVES MILLER FIRST

KEENELAND STAKES VICTORY IN MADISON

Trainer Peter Miller was all smiles Sunday morning following the gritty neck victory by Spiced Perfection over Amy’s Challenge in the $300,000 Madison (G1).

“That was nice,” Miller said. “She is tough and it’s on to the ($500,000) Humana (Distaff [G1] on May 4 at Churchill Downs). “She is not much to look at compared with the other fillies I saw in the Walking Ring, but she is tough.”

Trainer Mac Robertson was pleased with the run by Amy’s Challenge.

“She ran big,” Robertson said of the 4-year-old filly, who is owned by Novogratz Racing Stables.

Shamrock Rose, champion female sprinter of 2018, checked in fifth as the 1.90-to-1 favorite in the Madison.

“She was wide in the race because we wanted her a little closer to the lead,” said David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse. “Maybe that put her a little out of her element. The Humana Distaff is definitely under consideration for her next start.”



COMMONWEALTH WINNER BOBBY’S WICKED ONE EYES

GRADE 1 RETURN IN CHURCHILL DOWNS

Autumn Hill Farms Racing Stables’ Bobby’s Wicked One returned to Churchill Downs Saturday night following his front-running 1¼-length victory in the $250,000 Commonwealth (G3).

“This is one tough horse,” trainer Al Stall Jr. said Sunday morning from Churchill Downs. “He ran some good races over the winter at Fair Grounds and really showed his toughness yesterday.”

Now a winner of three consecutive races, Bobby’s Wicked One has not lost since finishing fifth in the Malibu (G1) on Dec. 26. Now Stall is ready to try Grade 1 company again.

“We’ll certainly look at running back at Churchill in four weeks (in the $500,000, Grade 1 Churchill Downs on May 4),” Stall said. “This horse has the foundation to run back that quickly.”



ORSENO THINKING ROYAL ASCOT WITH IMPRIMIS

FOLLOWING SHAKERTOWN VICTORY

Breeze Easy’s Imprimis emerged from his neck victory over defending champion Bound for Nowhere in the $200,000 Shakertown (G2) with a future trip to England in the plans, trainer Joe Orseno said Sunday morning.

Imprimis is to take a shot at the King’s Stand (G1) on June 18 at Royal Ascot.

“We had discussed running this race or the one at Churchill Downs (the $250,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint [G2] on May 3),” Orseno said. “We are passing on the Churchill race as that would only give us 45 days instead of 10 weeks to train up to Royal Ascot, which is kind of perfect for him.”

After a stumbling start in the Shakertown, Imprimis found himself back in the pack. Jockey Paco Lopez swung him wide in the turn, and he gradually wore down Bound for Nowhere.

“Yesterday showed that he does not need the lead,” said Orseno, who posted his first Keeneland stakes victory since winning the 2000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) with Collect the Cash.

After Royal Ascot, Orseno’s goal for the 5-year-old son of Broken Vow is the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita in November.

“That’s the ultimate goal, and I’d like to get back to the Breeders’ Cup,” said Orseno, who has won two Breeders’ Cup races but not had a starter since 2002 when Macho Uno finished fifth in the Classic (G1). “I was thinking maybe a race at Saratoga for a comeback race after Ascot, but this horse can handle any kind of course and there is a $700,000 race at Kentucky Downs that we could consider.”

Trainer Peter Miller said he is still inclined to go on to the Twin Spires Turf Sprint with Conquest Tsunami and Richard’s Boy, who finished 11th and 13th, respectively.

“It was not their day yesterday,” Miller said. “Conquest Tsunami was coming back off short rest and Richard’s Boy just didn’t fire.”

 

 

 

CHELSEA CLOISTERS TOPS OVERFLOW FIELD

FOR FRIDAY’S LIMESTONE TURF SPRINT

Hat Creek Racing’s Chelsea Cloisters, runner-up against the boys in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (L), heads a field of 14 3-year-old fillies and one also-eligible entered Sunday for Friday’s inaugural running of the $100,000 Limestone Turf Sprint.

The Limestone Turf Sprint will go as the seventh race on the 10-race Friday program with a 4:24 p.m. post time. First post time is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by Wesley Ward, Chelsea Cloisters won at first asking here last spring on the dirt. In the fall, she finished second in the Indian Summer against males. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount Friday and will break from post position 12.

The field for the Limestone Turf Sprint, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Ginger Nut (IRE) (Joel Rosario, 118 pounds), Beechwood Ella (Julien Leparoux, 118), Blame the Frog (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Bohemian Bourbon (Corey Lanerie, 118), My Gal Betty (Rafael Hernandez, 118), Snow Blossom (John McKee, 118), Thriving (GB) (Chris Landeros, 118), Play On (Javier Castellano, 118), Weabie (Adam Beschizza, 118), Stillwater Cove (John Velazquez, 118), Raintree Starlet (Robby Albarado, 118),Chelsea Cloisters (Gaffalione, 118), O’Keefe (Albin Jimenez, 118) and Elle’s Town (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., 118). Also-eligible: Vinca (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118).

 

UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

$350,000 COOLMORE JENNY WILEY (G1) (Entries taken Wednesday, April 10; race Saturday, April 13) – Bellevais (Todd Pletcher), Goodyearforroses (IRE) (Brian House), Got Stormy (Mark Casse), Onthemoonagain (FR) (Chad Brown), Phantom Opening (Jordan Blair), Princess Warrior (Kenny McPeek), Rushing Fall (Brown) and Rymska (FR) (Brown). Possible: Daddy Is a Legend (George Weaver).

$200,000 STONESTREET LEXINGTON (G3) (Entries taken Wednesday, April 10; race Saturday, April 13) – Anothertwistafate (Blaine Wright), Award Winner (Brian Lynch), Chase the Ghost (Dallas Stewart), Durkin’s Call (Bill Mott), Harvey Wallbanger (Kenny McPeek), Owendale (Brad Cox), Skywire (Mark Casse), Sueno (Keith Desormeaux) and Zenden (Victor Barboza Jr.). Possible: Knicks Go (Ben Colebrook), Preamble (Rodolphe Brisset) and Roiland (Tom Amoss).

$200,000 BEN ALI (G3) (Entries taken Wednesday, April 10; race Saturday, April 13) – Bourbon Resolution (Ian Wilkes), Flameaway (Mark Casse), Noble Commander (Phil D’Amato) and Third Day (Brian Lynch). Possible: Bonus Points (Todd Pletcher), Krewe Chief (Mike Maker) and Kukulkan (MEX) (Fausto Gutierrez).

$100,000 GIANT’S CAUSEWAY (L) (Entries taken Wednesday, April 10; race Saturday, April 13) – Excessivespending (Chris Hartman), La Dame Blanche (Ian Wilkes), Morticia (Rusty Arnold), Mrs. Ramona G. (Jeremiah Englehart) and Student Body (Chris Davis). Possible: Missap (John Ennis).



OPENING WEEKEND SPECIAL EVENTS

Celebrating its 80th anniversary, the Keeneland Library is one of the world’s largest repositories of information related to the Thoroughbred. In its exhibit “Herbert Haseltine: The Gold Standard,” visitors will see two prominent works from the latter period of the acclaimed sculptor of the early 20th century: “The Thoroughbred Horse” and “Portrait of the Racehorse Tom Fool.” The exhibit “From the Vault: Jockeys” features 26 images dating from the late 1800s to the mid-20th century from the Library’s archive of more than 1 million negatives and photographic prints. Varied memorabilia from Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Arcaro, Ted Atkinson and Bill Shoemaker accompany the photographs. The Library is open weekdays at no charge from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Official Keeneland ToursKeeneland offers a selection of year-round, guided racing and sales tours, including Behind-the-Scenes Racing Tours, Owner’s Experience Tours and Backstretch Tours with a Day at the Races. Behind-the-Scenes Sales Tours will be offered April 8-9. On Saturdays during Sunrise Trackside, free guided tours begin every 20 minutes from the welcome stand near the Paddock and Walking Ring from 7:30-10 a.m.

Sunday, April 7

 

Kids Club Family Day – The Keeneland Kids Club is our Official Kids Club for fans 12 and younger. Members and their families are invited to enjoy a special day at the races with free general admission and access to reserved Grandstand seating. Children’s activities will take place in the North Terrace from noon to 3 p.m.

TVG-PDJF Telethon – Hall of Fame jockeys and TVG personalities at Keeneland and Santa Anita will participate in a second telethon to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) live on TVG. Racing fans and industry stakeholders may call, chat and contribute at

1-844-TVG-PDJF from noon to 7 p.m. Donations are accepted any time at https://pdjf.org/donate/. Last year’s inaugural telethon raised nearly $230,000.

Tuesday, April 9

Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale – The auction, free and open to the public, begins in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion at 2 p.m.

 

 

 

SPRING MEET LEADERS

Through April 6 (3 days of 16-day season)

Jockey

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Javier Castellano

14

7

2

2

$1,170,706

Florent Geroux

21

3

2

2

$197,392

Joel Rosario

6

3

2

0

$149,095

Paco Lopez

8

2

2

0

$496,945

Brian Hernandez Jr.

22

2

4

2

$352,524

Jose Ortiz

13

2

3

2

$112,544

John Velazquez

6

2

0

2

$106,230

 

 

Trainer

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Rodolphe Brisset

6

2

2

1

$127,750

Chad Brown

6

2

1

1

$112,762

Todd Pletcher

3

2

0

0

$110,823

Brad Cox

4

2

0

0

$103,200

Brian Lynch

4

2

0

0

$98,635

 

 

Owner

Wins

WinStar Farm (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club

(Ah Khing Tao) and SF Racing (Gavin Murphy)

2

Juddmonte Farms (Khalid Abdullah)

2