TUESDAY, APRIL 16

Racing resumes Wednesday with a first post of 1:05 p.m. ET.

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

Keeneland is closed Easter Sunday, April 21.

**********

·         BLUE PRIZE (ARG) TAKES FIRST STEP TOWARD POSSIBLE BREEDERS’ CUP RETURN

·         $2 MILLION EARNER HEART TO HEART RETIRED

·         GALLOPING OUT

·         GRADED STAKES WINNER SCUBA PART OF BRENDAN WALSH’S KEENELAND TRAINING TEAM

·         UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

·         SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS

·         SPRING MEET LEADERS

 

BLUE PRIZE (ARG) TAKES FIRST STEP TOWARD POSSIBLE BREEDERS’ CUP RETURN

Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize (ARG), winner of last fall’s Juddmonte Spinster (G1) here, will make her return to the races Friday when she goes postward as the likely favorite in the 25th running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons-Baird Doubledogdare (G3) going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Trained by Ignacio Correas IV, Blue Prize closed 2018 with a fourth-place finish behind champion Monomoy Girl in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs.

“We start Friday and see if we can get back (to the Breeders’ Cup). That’s the goal,” Correas said.

Blue Prize comes into Friday’s race with two works here – 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 on April 10 and a half-mile in :47.40 on April 2 – following a steady stream of works beginning in mid-January at Tampa Bay Downs.

“She worked very well at Tampa and there was not one work that I did not like,” Correas said of the 6-year-old mare.

Correas spaced Blue Prize’s races out last year with a stop in Maryland for the Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) Preakness Weekend and back to Kentucky for the Fleur de Lis (G2) to complete her spring campaign.

“There might be some variation (to the schedule), but it is more or less the same unless the owners change it,” Correas said.

Joe Bravo, who was aboard for the Juddmonte Spinster victory and the Breeders’ Cup, retains the mount for Friday. 



$2 MILLION EARNER HEART TO HEART RETIRED

Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart has been retired following his seventh-place finish in last Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).

The 8-year-old horse retires healthy and sound and “I’m very proud of that,” said Brian Lynch, who trained Heart to Heart from his 3-year-old campaign in 2014 until Friday.

Heart to Heart, who was sent to nearby Hidden Brook Farm in Paris, Kentucky, for the time being, retires with a record of 41-15-6-4 and earnings of $2,035,090. He won two Grade 1 races, two Grade 2 races, seven Grade 3 races and placed in seven other graded stakes.

When the Heart to Heart highlight reel is produced, Lynch knows what race he would put in the spotlight.

“To me it would be when he won his second Grade 1 in the Maker’s 46 Mile as a 7-year-old,” Lynch said.



GALLOPING OUT

Trainer George Weaver said Tuesday morning that Javier Castellano, who rode Vekoma to victory in the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) here on April 6, will have the mount in the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on May 4 at Churchill Downs.

Owned by the partnership of R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables, Vekoma returned to Palm Beach Downs training center in South Florida last Tuesday. Weaver said the colt is scheduled to work there Friday with plans to ship to Churchill on April 30 for the Derby. …

WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing’s Quip, winner of Saturday’s $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at Oaklawn Park, is back at trainer Rodolphe Brisset’s Keeneland barn.

Quip gave Brisset, who saddled his first starter in May 2017, his fourth graded stakes victory and the richest win of his career. Brisset said the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) on May 17 at Pimlico or the $600,000 Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs on June 15 are possibilities for Quip’s next start.  …

Trainer Jack Sisterson said Calumet Farm’s Oxy Lady, who stood 20th on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) leaderboard, would be getting a rest following her 10th-place finish in Friday’s Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park. “She has raced all over,” Sisterson said. “We will shoot for a midsummer campaign.”



GRADED STAKES WINNER SCUBA PART OF BRENDAN WALSH’S KEENELAND TRAINING TEAM

The light gray Scuba is easy to spot in the mornings at Keeneland. With their exceptional athleticism and uncanny intelligence, Thoroughbreds are ideal candidates for a wide variety of activities such as trail riding and jumping when their racing days are over. Some former racers need time to find new careers far from racing while others instinctively make seamless transitions.

All graded stakes winner Scuba needed was a different saddle and bridle for his new job as companion mount in trainer Brendan Walsh’s barn. Known as “ponies,” these multitaskers, which can be any breed, inspire calm in the Thoroughbreds while providing a vantage point for their riders to observe the racers on the track each morning.

Since making his final career start in the 2018 Hagyard Fayette (G2) at Keeneland in October, the 8-year-old Scuba has taken to his new career exceptionally well.

“He always loved training, and he is a gentle horse,” Walsh said of the gelding by Tapit. “You never really know how they will take to it until they try. He has taken to it really good. I think he found it weird at the beginning that he was going to the track several times throughout the morning instead of just once. He loves watching all the other horses on the track.”

A two-time Keeneland sales graduate, Scuba earned $747,210 from seven wins from 30 starts, including the 2016 Marathon (G2) on Breeders’ Cup weekend at Santa Anita and the 2017 Hawthorne Gold Cup (G3) for Walsh and owner DARRS Inc.

“We are very fond of him, so we hope he will be with us for a long time,” Walsh said. “Everyone in the barn spoils him rotten, and they are constantly giving him treats like peppermints. He’ll eat anything.”

 

UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

$250,000 DIXIANA ELKHORN (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday, April 17: race Saturday, April 20) – Canessar (FR) (trainer Arnaud Delacour), Hunter O’Riley (James Toner), Leitone (CHI) (George Weaver), Red Knight (Bill Mott), Tiz a Slam (Roger Attfield), Vettori Kin (BRZ) (Kenny McPeek) and Zulu Alpha (Mike Maker).

$150,000 BEWITCH (G3) (Entries taken Tuesday, April 23; race Friday, April 26) – Beach Flower (Mac Robertson), Coachwhip (Jack Sisterson), Flower Party (IRE) (Mike Stidham), Gaining (GB) (Brad Cox), Get Explicit (Barbara Minshall), Ickymasho (GB) (Roger Attfield), Maroubra (FR) (Cherie DeVaux) and Samuna (FR) (Jorge Abreu). Possible: Vexatious (Neil Drysdale).



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.

Wednesday, April 17

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.

The Keeneland Shop Milliners Corner with Dorfman Pacific (April 17-20).

Friday, April 19

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.

 

$200,000 Friday Pick Four Presented by TVG. Includes races 7-10. The ninth race is the Hilliard Lyons-Baird Doubledogdare (G3).

Saturday, April 20



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 Lexington Mounted Police Unit (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.

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

$300,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Presented by TVG. Includes races 7-10. Race 9 is the Dixiana Elkhorn (G2).

Sunday, April 21 – Easter – Keeneland is closed.

 

 

SPRING MEET LEADERS

 

Through April 14 (9 days of 16-day season)

 

Jockey

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Javier Castellano

33

14

7

4

$1,905,914

Florent Geroux

47

9

7

3

$578,209

Joel Rosario

23

9

5

1

$510,738

John Velazquez

26

7

1

5

$359,973

 

 

Trainer

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Chad Brown

19

6

6

2

$663,549

Brad Cox

16

5

3

0

$358,200

Dallas Stewart

16

4

2

1

$486,362

Ian Wilkes

21

4

2

1

$257,023

Brendan Walsh

13

4

0

3

$140,345

 

 

Owner

Wins

Juddmonte Farms (Khalid Abdullah)

3

e Five Racing Thoroughbreds (Robert J. Edwards Jr.)

3

Hronis Racing (Kosta Hronis)

3

LNJ Foxwoods (Larry, Nanci and Jaime Roth)

2

John C. Oxley

2

WinStar Farm (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club

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

2