Thursday, October 11, 2011
CENTRE COURT LOOKS TO HOLD SERVE IN SATURDAY’S QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP
With the name Centre Court, a daughter of the A.P. Indy mare Let, grass figured to be the course of choice for the filly.
In this case, the name fits perfectly.
Owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., Center Court brings a grass record of 6-3-3-0 into Saturday’s 29th running of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
“The first time she ran, it was on the dirt at Churchill Downs going 4 ½ furlongs when she was 2,” trainer Rusty Arnold said. “She came out of it with a little chip that was taken out and she has had no problems since.”
Eight months later, Centre Court returned to the races at Gulfstream Park, this time on the grass.
“She worked much better on the turf than she did on dirt,” Arnold said. “She’d work OK on dirt, but it was not like she did on the grass and she’s much happier on the grass.”
In her two-turn grass debut, Centre Court finished second to Kitty Wine and here this spring finished second to future graded stakes winner Colonial Flag. In her third grass start, Centre Court romped by 4 ¾ lengths at Churchill Downs, a victory that propelled her into the Regret (G3).
In the Regret, Centre Court turned the tables on Colonial Flag and set the course to the QE II.
“After she won the Regret we knew she would get invited to the Queen Elizabeth,” Arnold said. “We were going to Saratoga and knew she would have two races before this one. It would either be one at Saratoga and one at Belmont or two at Saratoga.
“When she won the first one (the Grade 2 Lake George on July 25), it made sense to stay there.”
Centre Court ran second to QE II rival Stephanie’s Kitten in the Lake Placid on August 19. On September 15, when three other QE II foes were battling in the Garden City (G1) at Belmont, Centre Court had the first of her three Keeneland works for Saturday’s race.
Julien Leparoux, who has been aboard Center Court in her past two starts, has the call Saturday.
“I would imagine we likely would be just behind Dayatthespa,” Arnold said of a possible QE II scenario. “She has won four straight and I doubt they will change her style. She is a good filly in her own right. I know a lot of people are talking about (trainer) Chad Brown’s other filly (Samitar [GB]), but she is tough.”
BOUNDING BI’S CONNECTIONS HOPING FOR BETTER LUCK IN THIS YEAR’S BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY
Trainer Louis Linder eagerly awaited an arrival at the stakes barn early Thursday morning.
The cargo in question was Y-Lo Racing Stables’ Bounding Bi, who was making the van ride from Philadelphia to Keeneland for a second shot in the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County at 5 ½ furlongs on the turf on Friday.
A little after 7:30, Bounding Bi pranced into the stakes barn with Linder ready to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish in the race.
“The day of the race last year, she reared up in the stall and hit her head after the vets had inspected her,” Linder said of Bounding Bi, who represented his first starter at Keeneland.
Bounding Bi, a 5-year-old daughter of Outflanker, comes to Keeneland with a similar resume as 2011, coming off a runner-up effort in the Turf Amazon Handicap at Parx. She has compiled a 5-1-2-0 mark this year with excuses for her off-the-board finishes.
“In The Very One at Pimlico, she drew the 11 hole and was wide all the way,” Linder said of the eighth-place finish. “The Klassy Briefcase (another eighth-place finish) -- that was trainer error. I tried to tell her she could run back in 12 days and she said she couldn’t. I had run her back once in 11 days once before and she had run one of her best races.”
After last year’s race here, Linder took Bounding Bi to Tampa Bay Downs for the winter where she won the Lightning City in early December. A similar approach is planned this time.
“The Lightning City has been moved to the end of January next year, so she’d probably have a race in between,” said Linder, who has 17 horses in his stable. “She only had seven races last year and five this year, so I would imagine we’d bring her back and run one more year before making her a broodmare.”
Team Valor International’s Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner, remains on track to have his final workout for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland, according to trainer Graham Motion.
“The plan right now is to work here one time, probably the last weekend of the meet and then go on out to California,” Motion said Thursday morning of Animal Kingdom, who worked six furlongs on the grass in 1:18 on Wednesday at the Fair Hill (Md.) Training Center.
The Breeders’ Cup Mile, scheduled for November 3 at Santa Anita, would be the first start for Animal Kingdom since a February victory at Gulfstream Park. Animal Kingdom missed 60 days of training because of a stress fracture of the ilium, which is part of the pelvis. No surgery was required and he resumed galloping June 21. …
Making his Keeneland debut on Wednesday, trainer Henry D. Miller scored his first win here when Miss Bellamy Lane won the seventh race at odds of 45-1. Miller also owns Miss Bellamy Lane, a 3-year-old Bellamy Road filly who was ridden by Willie Martinez. She won the 6 ½-furlong claiming race by a length in 1:17.90. …
Jockey Joe Rocco Jr. recorded his first victory at Keeneland on Wednesday when he rode Flaxman Holdings Ltd.’s Absolute Crackers (IRE) to win the eighth race. Graham Motion trains the winner, a 3-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway who was making her North American debut. Absolute Crackers won the 1 1/16-mile turf allowance by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:43.43.
Team Block’s Leading Astray, winner of the Pucker Up (G3) in her most recent start, worked five furlongs on a firm turf course around the dogs in 1:01 with Julien Leparoux up in preparation for the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf on October 19.
Stella Perdomo’s Musketier (GER), a two-time winner of the Elkhorn (G2) here, worked six furlongs in 1:17.80 in company with Miss Cato (GB), runner-up in the Pucker Up, in preparation for a likely start in next Thursday’s $100,000 Sycamore (G3) at 1 ½ miles on the turf.
Hoynhnhnm Stable’s Great Attack, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G2) last year and under consideration for this year’s race on November 3 at Santa Anita, worked five furlongs in 1:03.80 in company with Thermal Cat, an allowance winner at Saratoga.
FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Friday, October 12
College Scholarship Day. Full-time college students receive free general admission and the chance to win one of ten $1,000 scholarships awarded after each race. Registration will take place in Keeneland’s College Zone in the North Terrace, which features music, free snacks and prize drawings. The first 1,000 students to register for a scholarship receive a Keeneland College Scholarship Day T-shirt courtesy of Kennedy Book Store and a hat from Vineyard Vines.
Buffalo Trace Distillery Sweepstakes. Enter to win a VIP Distillery Experience. The first 1,500 fans who register will receive a Buffalo Trace Distillery drawstring backpack.
Friday Pick 4, presented by TVG. Guaranteed pool of $200,000.
Friday Happy Hour. Live music and simulcast wagering in the Paddock immediately after Keeneland’s final live race at 5:53 p.m. (ET)
Saturday, October 13
Sunrise Trackside at Keeneland. Fans can experience the sights and sounds of Keeneland before the gates open for the race day. The morning filled with fun for family or out-of-town guests features:
· Breakfast with the Works Sponsored by Dunkin Donuts and WLEX 18. Watch the horses during their morning works while enjoying a Southern-style breakfast buffet in the trackside Equestrian Dining Room from 7-8:30 a.m. Breakfast is $7; children 3 and under free.
· Kid’s Club – Join us in the Kid’s Club Corner from 7-9 a.m. for free children’s activities, including photos in jockey silks, face painting and more. Sign up for the Keeneland Kid’s Club and meet Kid’s Club mascot Buckles. Enjoy crafts and exhibits from the Explorium of Lexington in the tent adjacent to Equestrian Room.
· Paddock Demonstration – The Asbury University Police Mount training program will be featured in the Paddock at 8:45 a.m.
· Tours – Pick up a walking tour guide in the Paddock between 9:30-10:30 a.m. to learn more about Keeneland’s historic grounds. Guides will be positioned throughout the property to answer questions.
· Photos with Bucky – Have your picture taken with Keeneland’s legendary bugler, George ‘Bucky’ Sallee in the Paddock from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
· Handicapping Seminar – Join us trackside at 11:30 a.m. for a free handicapping seminar.
· Jockey Q&A – With Eclipse Award-winning jockey John
Velazquez at 12:05 p.m. in the Paddockl at 12:05 p.m. in the Paddock.
2012 KEENELAND FALL MEET LEADERS
(Stats Through Wednesday, October 10)
Current Meet Leading Jockeys
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Julien Leparoux 25 8 3 2 $421,136
Javier Castellano 12 3 1 0 $198,889
Shaun Bridgmohan 15 3 0 3 $108,979
Jon Court 15 3 1 1 $ 83,467
Current Meet Leading Trainers
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Michael Maker 14 4 2 0 $291,905
Todd Pletcher 20 3 1 0 $524,499
Wayne Catalano 15 3 1 2 $111,855
Charles Lopresti 3 2 0 0 $465,767
Graham Motion 9 2 1 2 $80,849