SOMALI LEMONADE TAKES ON FAMILIAR RIVALS IN QE II
“She has her work cut out for her,” trainer Michael Matz said about Caroline Forgason’s Somali Lemonade, who is facing a number of familiar rivals in today’s $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1).
“I think they’re all pretty nice,” Matz said about the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, who will race 1 1/8 miles on the turf. “What are they – no more than a couple lengths apart? I think it’s a pretty good group.”
Somali Lemonade, a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, won the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) here a year ago before running sixth behind Stephanie’s Kitten in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2). Somali Lemonade was here again in April, running second to QE II rival Dayatthespa in the Appalachian (G3).
Stephanie’s Kitten is in the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the QE II, which also includes Samitar (GB), who finished a head in front of Somali Lemonade in the Garden City (G1) at Belmont on September 15 in their most recent races. This year, Matz’s filly also has been third to Stephanie’s Kitten in the Lake Placid (G2), fourth to QE II entrant Better Lucky in the Sands Point (G2) and sixth to QE II rival Centre Court in the Lake George (G2).
Somali Lemonade will be ridden in the QE II for the first time by Joe Rocco Jr. She is Matz’s first starter in the prestigious race.
“We’re hoping for beginner’s luck,” he said.
GOLDEN TICKET WORKS TOWARD BREEDERS’ CUP
Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) hopeful Golden Ticket, dead-heat winner of the Travers (G1), turned in his second work at Keeneland on Saturday. With Danny Ramsey aboard, the Speightstown colt worked five furlongs in 1:00.20.
Clockers caught Golden Ticket in fractions of :12.40, :24, :35.80, :47.60, 1:00.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.40.
“It was really nice,” said Ken McPeek, who trains Golden Ticket for Magic City Thoroughbred Partners. “He was getting across it good, and he just needed a nice maintenance breeze. Last week, we took him a really easy, easy, easy half. This week he needed to stretch out and get a little wind in him.”
A week ago, Golden Ticket worked a half-mile in :52.80. The colt is expected to fly to California on Monday.
Golden Ticket has made several Keeneland stops during his career. Purchased for $100,000 at last year’s Keeneland Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, he made two starts here in October 2011 and was fifth in the Coolmore Lexington (G3) in April in what McPeek called a “rough trip.” Following the Travers win, the colt was third in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) on September 22.
He has two wins in 11 starts and earnings of $648,335.
TOP TWO BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY FINISHERS EXIT RACE WELL
Connections of Madame Giry and Bounding Bi, the top two finishers in Friday’s $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County, reported their runners came out of the 5 ½-furlong grass test in good order.
“She ate up well and is none the worse for wear,” Madame Giry’s trainer, Cam Gambolati, said Saturday morning. “We are going to try to ship Wednesday. Gulfstream opens Thursday and she might be one of the first ones in there.”
The 2 ½-length victory in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County was the fifth in a row for Madame Giry.
“She is going to get a little break because there is really nothing for her right now,” said Gambolati, who was celebrating his first Keeneland victory. “This is the time to do it. We will probably wait for something at Gulfstream (whose meet begins December 1).”
One possible target on Madame Giry’s radar in 2013 is Keeneland’s Vinery Madison (G1) at seven furlongs on the main track.
“She galloped well on the main track Thursday,” Gambolati said. “That race in the spring, the (Vinery) Madison is a Grade 1 and that would be the time to try it.”
While Madame Giry was sticking around for a few more days, Bounding Bi was on a van before 7 o’clock and headed back to Philadelphia.
“She gave us a thrill yesterday,” trainer Louis Linder Jr. said. “That horse that beat her is no slouch.”
Linder said Bounding Bi came out of the race fine and most likely would head to Tampa Bay Downs in early December. Like Gambolati, he also had a race in mind next spring at Keeneland for a possible return trip to Central Kentucky: the Giant’s Causeway at 5 ½ furlongs on the turf.
ATTENDANCE HIGH FOR COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP DAY
The turnout by the college crowd always is tremendous during Keeneland’s spring and fall race meets, especially on College Scholarship Day. The fall event was held Friday and of the 19,052 fans at the track, 2,734 of them were college students.
During the afternoon, Keeneland and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association gave away ten $1,000 scholarships. Recipients were University of Kentucky students Taylor Ball, Craig Fielder, Wesley Kimball, Vince Modica, Emily Willett and Matt Woelfel; Hailey Goen from Georgetown College; Kris Guthier from Northern Kentucky University; Christine Henning from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; and Jesse Sauder from the North American Racing Academy of the Bluegrass Community & Technical College.
For UK students, the hunch bet of the day had to be Silverton Hill LLC’s Big Blue Spirit (GB). Ridden by Jesus Castanon for Darrin Miller, the 3-year-old Invincible Spirit colt won the fourth race by a neck over Rollingwiththetide and paid $11.40.
FIELD FOR THURSDAY’S SYCAMORE TAKES SHAPE
Keeneland stakes coordinator Allison De Luca has seven horses listed as probable to pass to entry box Sunday for Thursday’s 18th running of the $100,000 Sycamore (G3) at 1 ½ miles on the turf.
Topping the list are the first four finishers from the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) run at Kentucky Downs on September: Ioya Bigtime, Rahystrada, Kindergarden Kid and Tahoe Lake (BRZ). Other probables include Musketier (GER), Miami Deco and Seton Hall with Lucky Chappy (IRE) considered as a possible entrant.
Seven fillies are considered probable for Friday’s 22nd running of the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Heading the list are graded stakes winners Colonial Flag, Leading Astray, stakes winners Miss Cato (GB), Pianist and Welcome Dance, as well as Ann of the Dance and Cosmic Energy. Entries will be taken Tuesday for the Pin Oak Valley View.
Next week’s richest race, the 14th running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs on the main track, has five probables, according to De Luca. Heading the list are Grade 3 winners La Tia and Sacristy, multiple stakes winner Lotta Lovin plus Mercy Lou and Monono. Two graded stakes winners from Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer’s barn, Killer Graces and Via Villaggio, are possible to pass the entry box on Wednesday.
Trainer Charles Lopresti said Saturday morning that Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) winner Wise Dan would probably work toward the end of next week. The work would be the only local move for the millionaire before he ships to California and an expected run in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) on November 3.
Apprentice Ivan Cruz recorded his first Keeneland victory when he rode Jose Oviedo and trainer Donald L. Boyd’s Tempo Approved to win the third race on Friday. The 6-year-old With Approval mare won the 1 1/16-mile claiming race by 4 ½ lengths in 1:44.91. Cruz began his career this year and had 13 victories prior to his Keeneland score. The performance also gave Boyd his first Keeneland win.
Paco Lopez scored his first Keeneland victory when he rode Lonnie Stokes’ Evil Doer to win the 10th race on Friday. Trained by Lance Stokes, the 4-year-old With Distinction gelding won the six-furlong claiming race by a neck in 1:09.97.
W.S. Farish, George Prussin and Skara Glen Stables’ Colonial Flag and Ramona Bass’ Welcome Dance worked a half-mile together in :47 on the main track for trainer Michael Matz. Fractions on the work for the fillies, who are considered as probable starters in Friday’s Pin Oak Valley View (G3), were :12, :23.80, :34.80 and out five furlongs in :59.40.
Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s Dancing Solo, who is nominated to the Pin Oak Valley View, worked a half-mile in :48.20 for trainer Todd Pletcher. Fractions for the move were :12, :24.20, :36 and out five furlongs in 1:02.
FALL MEET EVENTS
Sunday, October 14
· Chase Bank Customer Day: Patrons can present their JPMorgan/Chase debit or credit card at the South or East Gate entrances to receive free general admission.
· Plum Pretty Parade: Fans will have the opportunity to meet 2011 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Plum Pretty when she will be paraded in the Paddock before the fifth race.
· Meet Tyson Gay: Keeneland will welcome Olympian and Lexington native Tyson Gay to the races for a special salute.
2012 KEENELAND FALL MEET LEADERS
(Stats Through Friday, October 12)
Current Meet Leading Jockeys
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Julien Leparoux 37 9 4 3 $468,720
Corey Lanerie 31 6 3 4 $246,003
Shaun Bridgmohan 24 4 0 4 $147,172
Javier Castellano 12 3 1 0 $198,889
Jon Court 27 3 1 2 $ 89,955
Ten riders tied with 2 wins.
Current Meet Leading Trainers
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Michael Maker 22 5 4 2 $322,951
Todd Pletcher 22 3 1 1 $531,499
Wayne Catalano 18 3 1 2 $122,435
Wesley Ward 16 3 4 1 $87,685
Charles Lopresti 6 2 0 0 $473,527
Dale Romans 19 2 0 0 $321,226
Graham Motion 13 2 2 2 $112,033
Bill Mott 8 2 0 1 $96,012
Edwurdo Caramori 5 2 0 0 $43,494
Tim Richardson 3 2 0 0 $39,060