FRIDAY, APRIL 12

Keeneland’s 16-day Spring Meet runs through Friday, April 26. First post is 1:05 p.m. ET.

Keeneland is closed Easter Sunday, April 21.

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·         DESORMEAUX HOPES FOR MORE STONESTREET LEXINGTON MAGIC WITH SUENO

·         CODE OF HONOR WORKS HALF-MILE IN KENTUCKY DERBY PREP

·         BACK AT KEENELAND, WALSH REPORTS ON PLUS QUE PARFAIT

·         TALK VEUVE TO ME POSSIBLE FOR HUMANA DISTAFF AFTER COMEBACK VICTORY

·         HORSEMEN DISCUSS ENTRANTS IN SATURDAY STAKES

·         KEENELAND TO HOST 10 BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE RACES

·         UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

·         SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS

·         SPRING MEET LEADERS

 

DESORMEAUX HOPES FOR MORE

STONESTREET LEXINGTON MAGIC WITH SUENO

Trainer Keith Desormeaux has had starters in the past three runnings of the Kentucky Derby (G1), and a winning run by Silverton Hill’s Sueno in Saturday’s $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) could extend the string to four.

The Stonestreet Lexington is the final prep in Kentucky for the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, and it offers 34 points toward qualifying for the Derby on a 20-8-4-2 basis to the top four finishers.

Sueno has 28 points accumulated thus far. A victory Saturday would boost that total to 48 and most likely enough to be among the top 20 point getters for the race that is limited to the top 20 point earners and invitees that pass the entry box.

Desormeaux has been in this same spot the past two years with Sonneteer picking up enough points in the 2017 Arkansas Derby (G1) to make the Kentucky Derby field; last year My Boy Jack won the Stonestreet Lexington to safely earn a spot in the Run for the Roses, in which he finished fifth behind Justify. There was no drama in 2016 as Exaggerator finished third on the leaderboard with 126 points prior to running second to Nyquist in the Derby.

“We are hoping lightning can strike again,” said Julie Clark, Desormeaux’s assistant who oversaw the colt’s gallop over a muddy race track Friday morning. Sueno arrived here Thursday afternoon from Churchill Downs.

Third in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 23 in his most recent start, Sueno went from New Orleans to Louisville, bypassing Oaklawn Park, where he had finished second in the Southwest (G3) on Feb. 18.

“We had horses coming to Kentucky anyway, and it was easier to set up the barn there (at Churchill) than to have to set up again in 2½ weeks,” Clark said.

Initially, plans were for Sueno to take the Southern California route to Kentucky.

“After the Southwest, the plan was to go to the Santa Anita Derby (G1),” Clark said. “But with the uncertainty out there … they had already canceled one prep (the San Felipe [G2] on March 9) and there was no guarantee they’d run the Santa Anita Derby (April 6). So Keith had to come back with him two weeks earlier (in the Louisiana Derby to get points).”

Sueno had two works at San Luis Rey Training Center in California before shipping to Fair Grounds, where he picked up the final 20 of his 28 Derby qualifying points.

“If he had gotten second, that would have been another 20 points and there’d be no problem,” Clark said.

Sonneteer, a homebred racing for Calumet Farm, is entered in today’s eighth race.

CODE OF HONOR WORKS HALF-MILE IN KENTUCKY DERBY PREP

William S. Farish’s Code of Honor, one of the leading contenders for the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), worked a half-mile in :49 over a fast track Friday morning at Keeneland.

Working at 6:15 a.m. before drenching rain turned the track muddy, Code of Honor completed his final quarter-mile in :23.20 and galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:00.80.

“He looked good,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “I was pleased with the way he went off and he galloped out well. I was excited about it.”

The work was the first for Code of Honor since finishing third in the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) on March 30 at Gulfstream Park. Prior to that, Code of Honor won the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (G2), also at Gulfstream.

“I will probably have Johnny (Velazquez) work him in seven or eight days and then have his final work at Churchill,” said McGaughey, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb.

BACK AT KEENELAND, WALSH REPORTS ON PLUS QUE PARFAIT

Prior to his appearance at Keeneland midway through Friday morning training hours, trainer Brendan Walsh was at Churchill Downs to watch his Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) candidate Plus Que Parfait jog on the track in his first exercise under saddle since returning from Dubai.

On March 30 at Meydan, Plus Que Parfait won the $2.5 million UAE Derby Sponsored by Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) for owner Imperial Racing. The victory means the son of Point of Entry has a guaranteed spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate with 104 qualifying points.

“He got in to Churchill last night,” Walsh said about Plus Que Parfait. “He had a little jog this morning to gradually get him back in training.  He is going to have to really come back in good shape (to run in the Derby.) He has the right mentality for the Derby; nothing really bothers him. We saw that with the way he handled everything in Dubai. That was a good experience for him to learn from.”

Plus Que Parfait spent extra time in Dubai before embarking on his return to America.

“That gives horses a chance to recuperate, put some weight back on and rehydrate,” Walsh said.

Walsh said Derby plans are contingent on how well Plus Que Parfait bounces back from his most recent race.

“The next week to 10 days will be very important,” he said “If he is not (100%) we will rethink his (next start).”

Plans call for Plus Que Parfait to jog again Saturday with a possible gallop on Sunday and daily gallops thereafter. If he shows good energy, Walsh said Plus Que Parfait will have an easy half-mile breeze April 19 or 20.

TALK VEUVE TO ME POSSIBLE FOR HUMANA DISTAFF

AFTER COMEBACK VICTORY

Trainer and co-owner Rodolphe Brisset reported via text Friday morning that Talk Veuve to Me remains on track for a possible start in the $500,000 Humana Distaff (G1) on May 4 at Churchill Downs following her front-running 2¼-length victory here Thursday in her 2019 debut.

“We got what we needed to look at the Humana,” Brisset said from Oaklawn Park, where he will saddle Quip in Saturday’s Oaklawn Handicap (G2). “She will need to step up for sure. That race should do her good, and we will see how she trains and go from there.”

Brisset owns Talk Veuve to Me with Team Valor International and Stephen McKay.

Brisset also said Michael Ryan’s Positive Spirit, second in last Saturday’s Gazelle (G2) at Aqueduct, is back at Keeneland and remains possible for a start in the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 3.



Positive Spirit is a half-sister to 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming.

HORSEMEN DISCUSS ENTRANTS IN SATURDAY STAKES

Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach talked to these horsemen about their entrants in stakes on Saturday:

Exercise rider Nick Bush of trainer Todd Pletcher’s stable on Bellavais in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1).

 

Jockey Corey Lanerie on Sueno in the Stonestreet Lexington (G3).

 

Trainer Kenny McPeek on Princess Warrior in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley and Harvey Wallbanger in the Stonestreet Lexington.

 

Trainer Ian Wilkes on Bourbon Resolution in the Ben Ali (G3) and La Dame Blanche in the Giant's Causeway (L).

KEENELAND TO HOST 10 BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE RACES

The Breeders’ Cup has announced its 2019 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series schedule, consisting of 86 automatic qualifying stakes races whose winners receive automatic qualifying positions into corresponding Breeders’ Cup World Championships races. The series has 64 Grade/Group 1 events in 11 countries, and features eight new races, including the Qatar Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe (G1) at ParisLongchamp (G1), and the first European “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in the Juddmonte International (G1) at York.

Keeneland will host 10 Breeders’ Cup Challenge races during its Fall Meet, nine of which are scheduled during the opening Fall Stars Weekend:

Date

Race

Division

Oct. 4

Darley Alcibiades (G1)

Juvenile Fillies

Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2)

Sprint

Oct. 5

Shadwell Turf Mile (G1)

Mile

Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1)

Juvenile

First Lady (G1)

Filly and Mare Turf

Thoroughbred Club of America (G2)

Filly and Mare Sprint

Oct. 6

Juddmonte Spinster (G1)

Distaff

Dixiana Bourbon (G3)

Juvenile Turf

Indian Summer

Juvenile Turf Sprint

Oct. 9

JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2)

Juvenile Fillies Turf

 

The current 2019 full schedule of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races is available here.

Horses from around the globe will be qualifying for the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held at Santa Anita on Nov. 1-2. This year’s Championships consists of 14 races, 13 of which are Grade 1 events, with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million.

 

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, now in its 13th year, will be held at many of the world’s premier race tracks in 11 countries: U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Ireland, Japan, Peru and South Africa.

 

As part of the enhanced benefits to horsemen competing in the series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding Championships race for winners of all Challenge races. The Challenge winner already must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program or it must be nominated by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 21 to receive the rewards.

 

In addition, Breeders’ Cup will provide a $40,000 travel stipend to the connections of all Championship starters from outside of North America and a $10,000 travel allowance for starters within North America that are stabled outside California.



UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

$100,000 HILLIARD LYONS-BAIRD DOUBLEDOGDARE (G3) (Entries taken Sunday, April 14; race Friday, April 19) – Blue Prize (ARG) (trainer Ignacio Correas IV), Electric Forest (Chad Brown), Go Google Yourself (Paul McGee), Moonlit Garden (Chris Davis) and Promise of Spring (Steve Margolis). Possible: Golden Award (Bill Mott) and Jala Jala (MEX) (Fausto Gutierrez).

$250,000 DIXIANA ELKHORN (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday, April 17: race Saturday, April 20) – Hunter O’Riley (James Toner), Vettori Kin (BRZ) (Kenny McPeek) and Zulu Alpha (Mike Maker).



SPRING MEET 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. 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.

Friday, April 12

Maker’s Mark Day – At Wagering Central, The Keeneland Shop will give 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 are being held today. At the Makers Wanted experience from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., fans can enjoy a complimentary Bourbon Bung Iced Tea cocktail sample or Maker’s 46 neat sample featuring Kentucky Straight Ice along with  hand stamping with leather craftsmen Clayton & Crume, a virtual reality bottle dipping game, barrel stamping and more. American Field, a curated marketplace of unique brands and items, also will be featured.

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

$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).

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 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez 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 the Stonestreet Lexington and Coolmore Jenny Wiley from Keeneland; Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) from Oaklawn Park; and one stakes from Aqueduct.

$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 11 (6 days of 16-day season)

Jockey

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Javier Castellano

18

10

2

2

$1,314,772

Luis Saez

33

5

5

1

$386,687

Florent Geroux

34

5

4

2

$318,761

Joel Rosario

14

5

4

0

$268,688

 

 

Trainer

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Chad Brown

12

3

4

2

$247,829

Rodolphe Brisset

8

3

2

1

$179,066

Todd Pletcher

7

3

2

0

$169,673

Brad Cox

8

3

0

0

$153,794

 

 

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