BOBBY’S KITTEN BREEZES FOR TOYOTA BLUE GRASS
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Bobby’s Kitten, the possible favorite for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on April 12, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 this morning with Marino Garcia aboard for trainer Chad Brown. (Click here to watch a video of the work.)
Bobby’s Kitten worked after the break, and clockers caught him in fractions of :11.80, :23.80, :35.40, 1:00.20 and out in 1:14.80.
“I thought he did it nice and easy,” Brown said. “We’ve been trying to get that horse to relax, and he’s doing real well. We’ve been working him by himself and looked like he was real comfortable with the rider the whole way. Hopefully, he is ready to go for next Saturday.”
By Kitten’s Joy, Bobby’s Kitten has won three races from five starts – all on turf and all with front-running performances. At 2, he won the Pilgrim (G3) on turf at Belmont and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). The colt opened his 2014 campaign March 8 with an allowance win over a mile at Tampa Bay Downs.
Brown, who will saddle Testa Rossi (FR) in today’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), said the Toyota Blue Grass has been a target for Bobby’s Kitten “pretty much since the Breeders’ Cup last year. We wanted to give him one prep and get him in there.”
Over the winter, Brown trained Bobby’s Kitten’s to be a more versatile runner.
“I don’t think the horse needs to be on the lead in the Blue Grass. It depends who’s in there and what the pace is; I’ll leave it up to (jockey) Javier (Castellano). We worked that horse behind horses at Palm Meadows this winter and he switched off nicely, so we’re doing everything we can and hopefully it all comes together for him.”
Also working after the break for the Toyota Blue Grass was Pablo Del Monte for trainer and part-owner Wesley Ward.
With Leandro Goncalves up and working in company with possible Toyota Blue Grass runner Chief Barker (IRE), Pablo Del Monte worked six furlongs in 1:13. Starting and finishing three lengths in front of his workmate, Pablo Del Monte posted fractions of :12.20, :24.40, :36.20, :48.40 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27.80.
“If the weather is like this next week, he’ll win the Blue Grass,” Ward said of the cool temperatures, then added with a laugh, “… And if he breaks well, gets an uncontested lead and gets away with a half in :49 and 4.”
Two other Toyota Blue Grass hopefuls breezed elsewhere this morning.
At the Trackside Training Center in Louisville, Harry’s Holiday worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 on a fast track for trainer Mike Maker.
At Santa Anita, Dance With Fate worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 for trainer Peter Eurton. The colt is scheduled to ship to Keeneland on Wednesday.
SO LONESOME JOINS PROSPECTIVE TOYOTA BLUE GRASS CAST
Patricia Schuler’s So Lonesome has been added to the list of probable entrants for next Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1), according to Stakes Coordinator Scott Jones.
Trained by Tom Bush, So Lonesome finished ninth in the Palm Beach (G3) in his lone start of 2014. So Lonesome won the Virgo Libra for New York-breds on turf at Aqueduct to close his 2013 campaign.
Listed in order of earnings, horses under consideration for the Toyota Blue Grass are Bobby’s Kitten, Casiguapo, Asserting Bear, Dance With Fate, Vinceremos, Harry’s Holiday, Extrasexyhippzster, Coastline, Mr Speaker, So Lonesome, Gala Award, Big Bazinga, Scotland (possible), Pablo Del Monte, Danza, Coltimus Prime, Quotient (possible), Divine Oath and Chief Barker (IRE) (possible).
The Toyota Blue Grass is limited to 14 starters with preference given to graded stakes winners and then highest earnings.
JENNY WILEY CONTENDERS ON SATURDAY WORK TAB
Two leading contenders for next Saturday’s $300,000 Jenny Wiley (G1) worked after the renovation break Saturday. Defending champion Centre Court, trained by Rusty Arnold for G. Watts Humphrey Jr., worked a half-mile in :48.40 and 2011 Darley Alcibiades (G1) winner Stephanie’s Kitten worked five furlongs in 1:01.80. Fractions for Stephanie’s Kitten, who worked with Kitten Kaboodle on even terms, were :13.40, :25.80, :37.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.80.
The Jenny Wiley will mark the 2014 debut for Stephanie’s Kitten, a homebred racing for Ken and Sarah Ramsey. That schedule was not originally intended, trainer Chad Brown said.
“She was supposed to have her prep race for the Jenny Wiley in the Hillsborough (G3 at Tampa Bay Downs on March 8),” he said. “About a week and a half before the race she kicked herself in the stall and one of her hind legs needed a couple of staples. It just wasn’t the right thing to do to lead her over there. I wanted her 100 percent. So we’ve had to train her up to a race this big, which is hard to do. It is what it is so hopefully she can come through off the layoff.”
COMMONWEALTH, SHAKERTOWN, BEAUMONT FIELDS TAKE SHAPE
Gary Barber and WinStar Farm’s Laugh Track, runner-up in the Phoenix (G3) here last fall before running second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), heads the list of prospective runners for next Saturday’s 28th running of the $175,000 Commonwealth (G3) at seven furlongs on the main track.
According to Stakes Coordinator Scott Jones, other probable starters for the race are Carving, Longhunter (GB), Mongolian Saturday and Undrafted with Dimension (GB), No Silent and Zeewat considered as possible.
Also scheduled for next Saturday’s 12-race Toyota Blue Grass program is the 18th running of the $100,000 Shakertown (G3) at 5½ furlongs on the grass.
Topping the list of probables is 2013 winner Havelock with potential rivals including Ancil, Channel Marker, Gantry, Hogy, Marchman, Positive Side and Shrinking Violet. Considered as possible starters are Animal Style and Spring to the Sky.
Gulfstream Park stakes winners Sweet Whiskey and Ready to Act, top the potential roster of entrants for the 29th running of the $200,000 Beaumont (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select on Sunday, April 13.
Other 3-year-old fillies likely headed to the race over the Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet are Co Cola, False Clock, Katie’s Eyes, Richies Party Girl, Spring Again and Tea Time.
KEENELAND STAR EMOLLIENT HEADS NOMINATIONS FOR HILLIARD LYONS DOUBLEDOGDARE
Juddmonte Farms’ Emollient, winner of last year’s Central Bank Ashland (G1) and Juddmonte Spinster (G1) tops a list of 44 fillies and mares nominated to the 20th running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) to be contested Friday, April 18, at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Emollient became only the fourth filly to win the Ashland and Spinster in the same year, joining Take Charge Lady (2002), Optimistic Gal (1976) and Doubledogdare (1956).
Other marquee names among the Doubledogdare nominees are the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained duo of Let Faith Arise, winner of the Santa Margarita (G1), and Scherzinger, winner of the Santa Monica (G2). Solid Appeal, winner of the Dance Smartly (G2) and Nassau (G2) last year at Woodbine also is nominated.
The richest race of the Spring Meet’s third week is the 33rd running of the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington (G3) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The Coolmore Lexington is the final race that offers points toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands with 17 points on the line with 10 going to the winner.
Among the list of 69 nominees are Poker Player and Bashart, the 1-2 finishers in last fall’s Bourbon (G3) here, and Ami’s Holiday, winner of the Gray (G3) last year at Woodbine.
The Coolmore Lexington will be one of three stakes Keeneland offers on April 19. The others are the 84th running of the $150,000 Ben Ali (G3) and the 18th running of the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway.
Heading the 36 nominations for the Ben Ali for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the main track is two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan. Winner of the 2012 Ben Ali, Wise Dan is expected to make his 2014 debut in Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).
Other notable nominees are Grade 1 winners Admiral Kitten, Boisterous and Joha plus Newsdad and Nikki’s Sandcastle, winners of the past two runnings of the Fayette (G2) here.
The Giant’s Causeway, for fillies and mares going 5½ furlongs on the turf, attracted 26 nominations headed by Madame Giry and Queen’s Award, winners of the past two runnings of the Buffalo Trace Franklin County, Keeneland’s Fall Meet equivalent of the Giant’s Causeway.
The 26th running of the $100,000 Appalachian (G3) Presented by Japan Racing Association for 3-year-old fillies going a mile on the turf on Thursday, April 17 drew 52 nominees, headed by the 1-2 finishers from last fall’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) here last fall Kitten Kaboodle and Zinzay. Other nominees of note are Llanarmon, winner of the Natalma (G2) last year at Woodbine and Lacarolina (FR), winner of the Group 3 Prix Miesque in France.
Stewart Elliott scored his first Keeneland win on Friday, opening day of the Spring Meet, when he rode Gary Barber’s Sisterly Love to a front-running 2¼-length victory in the seventh race. Fourth in the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) last October, Sisterly Love won the 1 1/16-mile allowance on the main track in 1:45.45.
Sisterly Love is trained by Mark Casse, who saddled two winners on Friday’s opening-day card. “It was good to get her back going,” Casse said of the 6-year-old daughter of Bellamy Road. “There are a lot of races for her in Toronto and she loves Woodbine.” …
Trainer Rusty Arnold was pleased with the third-place effort of Woodfield Springs in Friday’s off-the-turf Transylvania. “He really dug in and tried,” Arnold said. “It was a big effort coming off a maiden win. He’ll go next on Derby Day at Churchill (in the Grade 2 $250,000 American Turf).”
Trainer Chad Brown said Storming Inti, the Transylvania favorite who ran fourth, was fine after the race. “The track maybe wasn’t to his liking. We gave it a try,” Brown said. “We’re undecided right now on his next race.”
COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP DAY DRAWS A CROWD
Friday’s opening day of the Spring Meet attracted 15,169 fans. Some 4,000 of them were college students who participated in College Scholarship Day.
Full-time students registered in the College Zone in the North Terrace to win one of ten $1,000 scholarships and prizes from local vendors after each of the day’s races. The first 2,000 students to register received a free T-shirt courtesy of Kennedy’s Wildcat Den or a Vineyard Vines baseball hat. In the College Zone, students enjoyed music; free snacks from Qdoba, Raising Cane’s and Drake’s; photos by TOPS in Lex; and games and prizes from Orange Leaf. Students also registered for the Drake’s Handicapping Challenge; one student will win the opportunity to place a $500 bet on the day’s feature race, the $100,000 Transylvania (G3).
The scholarship winners were Annie Adams, Erin DesNoyers, Miranda Johnson, Thomas Manion and Madison Smith from the University of Kentucky; Madison Farr from Asbury University; Lauren Johnson of the University of Louisville; Jordan Pelfrey of Morehead State University; Ashton Hall of Western Kentucky University; and Emily Wessel of Transylvania University.
College Scholarship Day will return during the Fall Meet in October.
SPECIAL EVENTS THROUGH MONDAY
Saturday, April 5
Bluegrass Double. Keeneland encourages fans to wear blue to the track today to show their support for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, which has advanced to the Final Four. Today’s featured ninth race is the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) with a post time of 5:13 p.m. Post time for the 10th and final race is 5:44 p.m. UK’s game vs. Wisconsin is scheduled to start at approximately 8:50 p.m.
The Hill. Keeneland’s official tailgate lot located adjacent to the Keene Barn, will feature food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, a Keeneland Gift Shop kiosk, free shuttles to the track and live bluegrass music. BETologists will be available to answer fans’ questions.
Craft Beer Tent. Available on the North Terrace patio, the special selection of craft beers includes Country Boy, Kentucky Ale Kolsch, Land Shark, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater.
Sunday, April 6
Military Day at the Races, presented by Marathon. Keeneland will honor all active and inactive members of the military and their families with free general admission with a military ID at any pass gate. The North Terrace will be transformed into the Military Family Zone with free food, live music, children’s activities and more. Keeneland will welcome a special guest, U.S. Army Sgt. Dallas Robinson, for a meet and greet with fans. Robinson, a Kentuckian, was a member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team that competed in Sochi, Russia.
Monday, April 7
Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. First held in 1993, the April Sale has produced more classic winners than any other 2-year-old sale, the most recent being 2013 Belmont (G1) winner Palace Malice. The sale, which is open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion and will be streamed live on Keeneland.com. Fans can follow sale activities via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@keenelandsales, using #KEEAPRIL).