WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17

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

Keeneland is closed Easter Sunday, April 21.

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·         ZULU ALPHA HEADLINES FIELD OF 10 FOR DIXIANA ELKHORN

·         JALA JALA (MEX) TRIES TO MAKE THE GRADE IN HILLIARD LYONS-BAIRD DOUBLEDOGDARE

·         JOCKEY DOYLE EAGER FOR FIRST KENTUCKY OAKS MOUNT

·         UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

·         SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS

·         SPRING MEET LEADERS

 

ZULU ALPHA HEADLINES FIELD OF 10 FOR DIXIANA ELKHORN

Michael Hui’s Zulu Alpha, winner of his past two starts in graded stakes company, headlines a field of 10 entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 34th running of the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn (G2) for 4-year-olds and up going 1½ miles on the turf.

The Dixiana Elkhorn will go as the ninth race with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time on Saturday’s 10-race program. First post time Saturday is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by Mike Maker, Zulu Alpha comes into Saturday’s race off victories in the 1½-mile W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3) and the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

Winner of the Sycamore (G3) here last fall when trained by John Ortiz, Zulu Alpha will be ridden by Jose Ortiz and break from post position 10.

Maker, who won this race in 2013 with Dark Cove and in 2016 with Da Big Hoss, has two other entrants in Saturday’s race.

Three Diamonds Farm’s Bigger Picture, winner of the 2017 United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park and winner of the past three runnings of the John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) at Sam Houston, will break from post position seven under Tyler Gaffalione.

Maker also has Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s multiple graded stakes-placed Soglio. Florent Geroux has the mount and will break from post position four.

The field for the Dixiana Elkhorn, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Vettori Kin (BRZ) (Corey Lanerie, 118 pounds), Hunter O’Riley (Joel Rosario, 118), Leitone (CHI) (Chris Landeros, 118), Soglio (Geroux, 118), Canessar (FR) (Feargal Lynch, 118), Tiz a Slam (Julien Leparoux, 120), Bigger Picture (Gaffalione 118), Red Knight (Luis Saez, 118), Final Copy (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118) and Zulu Alpha (Ortiz, 120).

JALA JALA (MEX) TRIES TO MAKE THE GRADE

IN HILLIARD LYONS-BAIRD DOUBLEDOGDARE

St. George Stable’s Jala Jala (MEX), a star at Mexico City’s Hipodromo de las Americas, where she has 11 wins, four seconds and four thirds in 21 starts, will shoot for her first graded stakes victory in the U.S. on Friday when she goes postward in the 25th running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons-Baird Doubledogdare (G3) going 1 1/16 miles.

“She has run some good races in the (Confraternity) Caribbean Cup (at Gulfstream Park), and we decided to try (other stakes at) Gulfstream,” said trainer Fausto Gutierrez after Jala Jala returned to the Keeneland stakes barn following a Wednesday morning gallop on the main track. “She flew up (to Gulfstream) with Kukulkan (MEX) for the Pegasus World Cup (G1).”

Named Mexico’s Horse of the Year for 2017, Jala Jala dominated horses from the Caribbean by winning Caribbean Cup races at Gulfstream by nine lengths in December 2017 and by 4½ lengths last December.

The 5-year-old daughter of the Grade 3-winning Point Given stallion Point Determined remained at Gulfstream, where she was second in the 1-mile Royal Delta (G3) and fifth in the 7-furlong Inside Information (G2).

“She ran a good race in the Royal Delta, and her race in the Inside Information was creditable,” Gutierrez said. “I looked at this race for the past few years and looked at the past performances (for this year) and the race did not look that tough. We’ll see.”

Luis Saez will have the mount Friday on Jala Jala, who worked a half-mile at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida last Friday before shipping here Tuesday.

Jala Jala will represent the second Keeneland starter for Gutierrez.

“I am came here in 2017 with a claimer,” Gutierrez said of Grosco (MEX), who finished fifth in a $10,000 claiming race. “I have come here to buy yearlings for several years and to race here is a dream.”

 

 

JOCKEY DOYLE EAGER FOR FIRST KENTUCKY OAKS MOUNT

When Sophie Doyle decided to leave her native England to continue her jockey career in America, she never thought she would be riding a Kentucky Oaks (G1) contender.

“It was in my mind to gently let my career come into its own and pick up on its own,” Doyle, who is riding at Keeneland during the Spring Meet, said. “Now I have this opportunity.”

Doyle’s Oaks contender is Street Band, and the pair won the Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on March 23. The daughter of Istan races for trainer Larry Jones, who bred her with co-owners Cindy Jones and Ray Francis. Larry Jones is seeking his fourth Kentucky Oaks triumph after winning with Proud Spell (2008), Believe You Can (2012) and Lovely Maria (2015). 

Three years ago, Doyle experienced the energy at Churchill Downs in early May when she rode Torrontes in the Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Kentucky Derby (G1) undercard.

“I got to feel the hype and the excitement and how big the crowd is. I love those big days,” she said. “It is incredible to be riding in a great race like the Oaks. It is the Lilies for the Fillies and lilies are one of my favorite flowers.”

A successful rookie in England, Doyle rode her first American winner, Jaz n Tap, in November 2014 at Churchill. She then spent several seasons at Turfway Park before switching her winter base to Fair Grounds. Before the start of racing today, she had 237 winners and mount earnings of nearly $6 million in North America.

Doyle, who values her time on the Kentucky-Indiana-Ohio circuit, celebrated her Fair Grounds Oaks victory with some of her early connections. She thought she was having a quiet dinner with a few friends but instead was greeted by a roomful of people.

The gathering included trainer Larry Demeritte, who trained Jaz n Tap. Doyle returned the favor to Jaz N Tap by providing him with a new career as her show horse and stable pony. Another attendee was Mike Magnanello, who won the 1970 Kentucky Derby on Dust Commander.

“I had no idea about the party,” Doyle said. “Larry was there right from the start of my career, so it was absolutely wonderful that he was there. Mike was a steward when I was riding at Belterra Park in Cincinnati. We didn’t exactly have smooth sailing, but now I see his point that he was trying to make me the best rider I could be. He gave me a lot of advice that made me a better person.

“Sitting around a dinner table together, I realized how strange and funny the world works,” she added. “You never want to close a door because you never know what bridge you might have to climb afterward.”

 

 

 

UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

$150,000 BEWITCH (G3) (Entries taken Tuesday, April 23; race Friday, April 26) – Beach Flower (trainer 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