TUESDAY, APRIL 9

Keeneland’s April Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale,

free and open to the public, begins today in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion at 2 p.m.

The sale is streamed live on Keeneland.com.

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Racing resumes Wednesday with a 1:05 p.m. ET first post. The 16-day season

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

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·         HEART TO HEART READY TO DEFEND MAKER’S 46 MILE TITLE

·         BUSH HOPES CLYDE’S IMAGE CAN REPEAT SIRE’S KEENELAND SUCCESS

·         PLETCHER, HERE FOR APRIL SALE, REPORTS ON DERBY HOPEFULS

            ·         GALLOPING OUT

            ·         TRAINER SHIRER CAPITALIZES ON LOCAL STABLING

·         UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

·         SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS

·         SPRING MEET LEADERS

 

HEART TO HEART READY TO DEFEND MAKER’S 46 MILE TITLE

Following a half-mile work on the turf here Saturday, trainer Brian Lynch says defending Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) champ Heart to Heart is good to go in Friday’s race.

“This is his fourth shot at the race and this will probably be his last,” Lynch said of the 8-year-old, who finished second in the race in 2016 and 2017. “It is a competitive race, but if he runs his ‘A game’ race I think he is the horse to beat.”

After finishing ninth in last fall’s Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) here on a course rated as good, Heart to Heart had a three-month vacation from the races.

“Now that he is 8, you look for signs that they don’t want to do it anymore,” Lynch said. “But he has good energy and his mind is still in it.”

In his 2019 starts, Heart to Heart finished third in the Tropical Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park and was fourth in the Tampa Bay (G3) in his most recent start Feb. 9.

“In his first race back, he got tangled up leaving the gate, settled and got in position but got a little tired,” Lynch said. “At Tampa, he moved early after a longshot put pressure on him but only got beat a length. I thought it was a credible race.”

The main concern Lynch has for Friday is the weather and a forecast that calls for rain early in the day.

“He has shown that he doesn’t run well at Keeneland when (the turf) is soft,” Lynch said.



BUSH HOPES CLYDE’S IMAGE CAN REPEAT SIRE’S KEENELAND SUCCESS

With a big white blaze on his face, Clyde’s Image almost could pass as a double for his sire, Get Stormy.

“We are a little ambitious here,” said trainer Tom Bush of the 5-year-old gelding, who is entered in Friday’s $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).

The race is one that Bush won with Get Stormy for owner Mary Sullivan’s Sullimar Stable in 2011. Sullimar owns Clyde’s Image.

“We bought Clyde’s Image as a yearling here,” Bush said. “We looked at all the Get Stormys and if we liked one, we wanted to be a part of them.”

Racing exclusively on the turf, Clyde’s Image scored his first victory in his second start in 2016 at Aqueduct.

“After he broke his maiden, an allowance race didn’t go so I ran him in a Grade 3 (the Dania Beach) and he was second,” Bush said. “He was second in a stakes after that but he developed a problem with a tendon and we gave him some time off.”

Clyde’s Image returned to the races last October at Belmont and won a 1 1/16-mile race by a nose.

“That was a brave effort that day after 20 months off and I couldn’t have been more thrilled,” Bush said.

Clyde’s Image enters Friday’s race off an allowance score at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24. Albin Jimenez retains the mount.


 

PLETCHER, HERE FOR APRIL SALE, REPORTS ON DERBY HOPEFULS

Trainer Todd Pletcher, in town for today’s Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale, has not finalized plans for shipping his Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls from Florida to Churchill Downs.

The two-time Derby winner has Sunland Park Derby (G3) winner Cutting Humor and Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Spinoff among the top 20 points leaders to qualify for the Run for the Roses.

“They are both doing well at Palm Beach Downs (training center) and they will have a couple of works there,” Pletcher said. “I have not decided on shipping. We will keep an eye on the weather, but recent history shows it is not necessary to have a work over the track.”

Pletcher, who has won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) three times, might have a runner this year in Repole Stable’s Always Shopping, who won the Gazelle (G2) last Saturday at Aqueduct.

“I’m going to talk with Mr. Repole. She is not 100 percent certain to run in the Oaks,” Pletcher said. “If she doesn’t run in the Oaks, it will be the Black-Eyed Susan ([G2] on May 17 at Pimlico).”



GALLOPING OUT

Toyota Blue Grass (G2) winner Vekoma was booked on a Tex Sutton charter flight Tuesday afternoon to return to Palm Beach Downs training center in Florida for trainer George Weaver. …

Trainer Jorge Abreu said Tuesday morning that the Kentucky Oaks (G1) was no longer under consideration for Espresso Shot, who finished fifth as the favorite in Saturday’s Gazelle (G2) at Aqueduct. Winner of the Busher in March, Espresso Shot had earned 50 points toward the Oaks, a figure good enough for 14th on the leaderboard. The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point earners that pass the entry box. …

Tyler Servis, son of trainer John Servis, will make his training debut Friday afternoon at Keeneland when he saddles Main Line Racing Stable’s Wentz in the sixth race.

“I am going to have a string at Monmouth and Parx and then in the winter keep them together at Palm Meadows except for the Pennsylvania-breds, who will stay at Parx,” said Servis, 28.

What is the best advice he received from his dad about training?

“Put the horse first. That’s always been his motto,” Servis said. “Let them tell you when they are ready. They are the ones that make the money.” …

Three Eclipse Award-winning jockeys were represented in Sunday’s first race by third-place finisher Palace Duchess. The 2-year-old Palace filly races for Hall of Famer Steve Cauthen, who received the 1977 Eclipse Awards as outstanding jockey and outstanding apprentice the year before he rode Affirmed to win the Triple Crown. Palace Duchess’ trainer, Wesley Ward, earned the 1984 Eclipse as outstanding apprentice. Her jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr., was the 2018 Eclipse winner as journeyman jockey.



TRAINER SHIRER CAPITALIZES ON LOCAL STABLING



Matt Shirer is quite familiar with Keeneland’s Winner Circle, but the trainer’s initial visit to the area this season came via a slightly different route. In past years, Shirer shipped his runners from Churchill Downs on the day they raced, but on Sunday his Strut the Ring, winner of the second race, had just a short walk from Barn 19, where Shirer has 12 stalls for the Spring Meet.

Owned by Charles E. Gerson, Strut the Ring won the starter/optional claiming race by a half-length as the 4-5 favorite. The 7-year-old gelding, by Strut the Stage, covered  1 1/16 miles on a sloppy sealed track in 1:46.20 with James Graham in the saddle.

From four starts during the first four days of the Spring Meet, Shirer has one win, one second and one third.

“Winning at Keeneland is always special; it is such a prestigious track,” Shirer said. “All my horses have been training good. It is nice to be on the grounds instead of shipping in for the day. Horses thrive at Keeneland. The dirt track is good to train and race on and there is the option of using the (all-weather) training track.”

Shirer noted Keeneland’s tranquil barn area is another plus because his stable workers can lead the Thoroughbreds to grassy areas for a special treat of grazing.

Shirer grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in Columbus, Ohio, with an animal science degree. During summer vacations and after completing college, he worked for trainer Jevon Crumley at Thistledown. When he realized he wanted to make racehorses his career, Shirer contacted trainer Kenny McPeek’s website to inquire about employment and was hired as a foreman. During his time with McPeek, Shirer worked with a parade of stakes horses, including 2013 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) winner Java’s War and 2014 Central Bank Ashland (G1) winner Rosalind.

He spent about three years with McPeek while rotating between Churchill, Saratoga and Oaklawn Park. He obtained his trainer’s license in 2015.

Shirer’s first victory came on Dec. 12, 2015, at Turfway Park with Grateful Life. To date, he has 39 winners from 169 starters.

He plans to continue racing on the Kentucky circuit with a winter base of Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

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). Possible: Solomini (Bob Baffert).

$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).



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.

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.


 

Wednesday, April 10

WINS-Day Challenge – This is an inexpensive way for beginning handicappers to test their skills and give handicapping contests a try. The contest has a $2,500-guaranteed pool. Enter for $10 at Wagering Central and place a mythical $2 win and place wager – no actual money required – on Keeneland races 3-8. Limit three entries per person. The first 200 participants receive a card for a free Malone’s appetizer and a complimentary copy of Daily Racing Form.

Wear Red Day – Fans are encouraged to wear red to Keeneland to help raise awareness of heart disease: the No. 1 killer of women. The first 3,000 patrons will receive a red dress pin.

Friday, April 12

Maker’s Mark Bottle Signing – Sales of commemorative Maker’s Mark bottles have raised millions of dollars to benefit deserving causes in Central Kentucky. Fans can have their 2019 commemorative bottle signed at the Keeneland Entertainment Center beginning at 7 a.m. All tickets for the bottle signing have been distributed. One ticket entitles the holder to have two 2019 Maker’s Mark commemorative bottles signed. At Wagering Central, The Keeneland Shop will offer patrons the opportunity to dip their purchases into the iconic Maker’s Mark red wax to commemorate Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) race day.

 

The Hill – Fans who like to tailgate will enjoy the festive atmosphere of The Hill, where they can watch races on a jumbo TV and place wagers. The Hill also features food trucks, The Keeneland Shop kiosk and complimentary shuttles to the track. Live music is presented by The Burl, a popular live music venue in Lexington, from noon to 4 p.m. Two Maker’s Mark events will be held: Maker’s Wanted Experience, including items from leather craftsmen Clayton & Crume and complimentary tea featuring Kentucky Straight Ice, and American Field, a curated marketplace of unique brands and items.

 

$200,000 Friday Pick Four Presented by TVG. Includes races 7-10. Race 7 is the inaugural Limestone Turf Sprint (4:24 p.m. post time). Race 9 is the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) (5:30 p.m. post).

The Keeneland Shop Milliners Corner with Forme Millinery (April 12-14) and Trunk Show with Maui Jim (April 12-14).

Saturday, April 13



Sunrise Trackside – The day begins early for racehorses. Keeneland invites you and your family to experience their mornings with Breakfast With the Works, which features breakfast for purchase and trackside commentary (7-8:30 a.m.) while horses train on the main track. The event includes children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7:30-9:30 a.m.); guided Keeneland tours that depart from the welcome stand near the Paddock (7:30-10 a.m.) and Paddock demonstration from the Kentucky Horseshoeing School (9-9:30 a.m). Parking and admission to the morning events are free.

 

Jockey Q&A in the Walking Ring (12:05 p.m.).

 

The Hill – Fans who like to tailgate will enjoy the festive atmosphere of The Hill, where they can watch races on a jumbo TV and place wagers. The Hill also features food trucks, The Keeneland Shop kiosk and complimentary shuttles to the track. Live music is presented by The Burl, a popular live music venue in Lexington from noon to 4 p.m.

$300,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four Presented by TVG. Includes races 7-10: Ben Ali (G3), Giant’s Causeway (L), Stonestreet Lexington (G3) and Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1).

NYRA Cross Country Wager features races from Keeneland and other tracks.

$400 Spring Challenge This handicapping tournament has a $400 buy-in with a live bankroll of $250 and $150 prize fund fee.

Sunday, April 14

 

Military Day at the Races Presented by Marathon – Keeneland recognizes the men and women who serve our country. All active and reserve military and their families will receive free general admission and access to reserved Grandstand seating with military I.D. Military families are invited to enjoy free food and children’s activities in the North Terrace from noon to 4 p.m.

Grade One Gamble This nationally prominent event has a $3,000 buy-in and as many as six spots in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and 10 spots in the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship up for grabs.  


 

SPRING MEET LEADERS

Through April 7 (4 days of 16-day season)

Jockey

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Javier Castellano

17

9

2

2

$1,267,372

Florent Geroux

27

4

3

2

$249,957

Paco Lopez

11

3

2

0

$544,495

Brian Hernandez Jr.

26

3

4

3

$423,744

Joel Rosario

6

3

2

0

$149,095

 

 

Trainer

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Chad Brown

10

3

2

2

$215,829

Brad Cox

5

3

0

0

$151,800

Todd Pletcher

5

2

2

0

$142,823

Wesley Ward

12

2

1

3

$237,676

Rodolphe Brisset

7

2

2

1

$128,066

Brian Lynch

4

2

0

0

$98,635

 

 

Owner

Wins

Juddmonte Farms (Khalid Abdullah)

2

LNJ Foxwoods (Larry, Nanci and Jaime Roth)

2

WinStar Farm (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club

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

2