Barn Notes -- Thursday, April 10

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VIDEO: TOM LEACH TALKS TO CHARLIE LOPRESTI ABOUT WISE DAN AND INTERVIEWS CONNECTIONS OF TOYOTA BLUE GRASS CONTENDERS BIG BAZINGA AND CASIGUAPO

Keeneland racing analyst Tom Leach interviews trainer Charlie LoPresti about two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who is entered in Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) for his 2014 debut. Click here to watch.

Leach also interviews:

Trainer Katerina Vassilieva about Toyota Blue Grass (G1) contender Big Bazinga. Click here to watch.

Dr. Laurie Lawrence of the University of Kentucky, which bred Toyota Blue Grass hopeful Casiguapo. Click here to watch.

 

TOYOTA BLUE GRASS: DANCE WITH FATE COULD CONTINUE EURTON’S HOT STREAK AT KEENELAND

Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1) offers 170 points on the road to the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), but for trainer Peter Eurton, the points are the furthest thing from his mind with Dance With Fate.

“This is a special place for me,” Eurton said. “There is no better feeling than coming down the steps to go to the winner’s circle in the infield like last fall with Madame Cactus after the (Lexus) Raven Run (G2). We had a blast here.”

Eurton, who also saddled She’s Cheeky to a runner-up finish behind champion Groupie Doll in the 2012 Vinery Madison (G1) here, hopes to make a repeat run Saturday with Dance With Fate, who is owned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing.

“This race has been in the plans since the Breeders’ Cup,” Eurton said. “The Blue Grass is a destination more than anything and not just a prep for the Derby.”

At this stage of the game, Eurton feels Dance With Fate’s preferred surface is Polytrack.

“Maybe when he gets bigger and stronger he will be better on dirt, but I think he is better on Polytrack,” Eurton said. “He’s a wonderful turf horse. He relaxes on grass and he has a great turn of foot.”

In his two starts on dirt, Dance With Fate finished second in the FrontRunner (G1) and eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita.

“He made the lead and then hung in the FrontRunner and I don’t think he saw the other horse (Bond Holder),” Eurton said. “Then he had problems in the Breeders’ Cup (when he got squeezed at the start).”

Dance With Fate, by Two Step Salsa, finished second in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) in his most recent start and is scheduled to return to California on Monday.

However, a first- or second-place finish Saturday would give Dance With Fate, who has accumulated eight points, enough points to make the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

“It would be a lovely problem to have,” said Eurton, who has 38 horses in his stable. “I don’t think it would be good for him (to ship twice in three weeks from California).”

 

MAKER’S 46 MILE: LOCHTE YIELDS HUGE RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR NEW CONNECTIONS

Last fall at Saratoga when Darley was selling some racing stock, trainer Marcus Vitali went shopping for Carolyn Vogel’s Crossed Sabres Farm.

“We marked four to look at based on pedigree and we were not going to go home empty-handed,” said Vitali, who had purchased two horses at the same sale the year before. “We bought two, Lochte and Valid (a three-time winner in six starts for Vitali).”

Vitali paid $60,000 for Lochte – “I probably would have gone to $100,000,” he said – who has earned $250,000 in his past two starts with a victory in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and a runner-up finish in the Frank Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita.

So why the big turnaround in five months from maiden to Grade 1 winner for the 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding?

“I don’t know,” said Vitali, who never has started a horse at Keeneland. “When we got him, he had just run at Belmont. It has been a team effort. He is maturing and maybe he is just starting to get good. Maybe he just fits our program, but both of those horses have come to life this year.”

Matthew Rispoli rode Lochte in his first three starts for Vitali and Orlando Bocachica has ridden the past three times and will be aboard Friday when Lochte goes to the post in the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).

“Orlando inherited the mount when Matthew got hurt (in a spill Jan. 20 at Gulfstream),” Vitali said. “He (Bocachica) is an underrated rider. He rode for me in Boston and we had a lot of success. He came to Florida five years ago and never left.”

Vitali and Bocachica drove to Lexington from South Florida together, arriving here early Wednesday.

“I drove and he slept, so he’d better win now,” Vitali said with a laugh.

Should Lochte perform well Friday against the likes of two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, a return trip to Kentucky may be in the cards for the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on May 3 at Churchill Downs.

“We have been thinking about it if he is OK after this,” Vitali said. “We have two or three spots in mind. But if we do come back, I’m flying.”

 

MADISON: WILDCAT LILY ROUNDING BACK INTO TOP FORM

When Ronald Sanchez, the head of the Rontos Racing Stable, came to Santa Anita last fall for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) with Street Girl, he lamented the fact he could not also bring Wildcat Lily for the Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

“She was just not in good shape after she ran at Saratoga,” Sanchez said of the filly’s runner-up efforts in the Prioress (G1) and Test (G1).

Trainer Manny Azpurua gave her some time off after returning to Florida with nearly five months between starts.

“In her first race back, she ran into Groupie Doll (in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie) and in her next start (in the Grade 2 Inside Information) she had a bad start and was rushed up. She was working amazingly before Saratoga and her last work (:35.40 on April 2) was like that.”

Saturday’s Madison (G1) will mark the Polytrack debut for the 4-year-old D’wildcat filly.

“I have been wanting to try her on the turf and have not had the chance to,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also owns Social Inclusion, who finished third as the favorite in last Saturday’s Wood Memorial (G1).

“He is back in Florida and doing well,” Sanchez said. “He should have his first day back at the track Friday.”

Social Inclusion has accumulated 20 points toward the Kentucky Derby, a figure that will be close to the cut line to make the 20-horse field.

“We will know more after this weekend,” Sanchez said referring to the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and Arkansas Derby (G1), both of which offer 170 points toward the Kentucky Derby. “Right now we are training toward the first Saturday in May, not the third (which would be the Preakness). If we have enough points, we’d go to Louisville on the Monday of Derby Week.”

 

BEAUMONT (G2) PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT: READY TO ACT TOPS FIELD OF EIGHT FOR SUNDAY RACE

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Ready to Act, winner of the Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream Park in her lone 2014 start, headlines a field of eight 3-year-old fillies entered Thursday for Sunday’s 29th running of the $200,000 Beaumont (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select.

The Beaumont, to be run over the Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet, will go as the eighth race on Sunday’s nine-race program with a post time of 4:42 p.m. ET. First post time Sunday is 1:05.

The race offers 17 points (10-4-2-1) toward the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 2 at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Chad Brown, Ready to Act broke her maiden in her debut and in her stakes debut in the Natalma (G2) she veered in during the stretch run while in the lead. Ready to Act finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).

Javier Castellano has the mount Sunday on Ready to Act, who will break from post position three.

Three other nonrestricted stakes winners are in the field: Richies Party Girl, Sweet Whiskey and Tea Time.

Richard Ravin and trainer Wesley Ward’s Richies Party Girl will make her 2014 debut after closing 2013 with a victory in the Juvenile Turf Sprint on the Breeders’ Cup program Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Richies Party Girl will break from post position six and be ridden by Victor Espinoza.

Alto Racing’s Sweet Whiskey, trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Old Hat (G3) in January at Gulfstream. Third in the Any Limit at Gulfstream in her most recent start, Sweet Whiskey will break from post position four and be ridden by John Velazquez.

Helen Groves and Jon and Sarah Kelly’s Tea Time, winner of the Sharp Cat at Belmont in late October in her most recent start, has won two of four starts for trainer Michael Matz. Tea Time will exit post position two and be ridden by Luis Saez.

The field for the Beaumont, from the rail out, is as follows: Spring Again (Alex Solis), Tea Time (Saez), Ready to Act (Castellano), Sweet Whiskey (Velazquez), Conspired (Julien Leparoux), Richies Party Girl (Espinoza), Katie’s Eyes (Corey Lanerie) and Co Cola (Joel Rosario). All starters will carry 118 pounds.

 

SPRING MEET LEADERS

Through April 9 (4 days of racing)

Jockey

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Julien Leparoux

26

8

1

5

$280,299

Stewart Elliott

16

5

1

2

$154,419

Joe Rocco Jr.

18

4

3

1

$185,765

Joel Rosario

16

3

1

2

$284,984

Alan Garcia

7

3

1

1

$118,700

Dylan Davis

9

3

0

2

$72,770

Javier Castellano

10

2

2

1

$72,616

Marcelino Pedroza Jr.

10

2

1

0

$37,592

8 jockeys with one win each.

 

Trainer

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Mark Casse

14

4

2

4

$178,614

H. Graham Motion

11

3

2

2

$136,832

Ken McPeek

9

3

0

2

$238,261

Mike Maker

17

2

2

2

$106,473

Wesley Ward

8

2

1

2

$53,290

24 trainers with one win each.

 

TOYOTA BLUE GRASS WEEK SPECIAL EVENTS

Thursday, April 10, through Sunday, April 13

The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents a meet and greet with hat milliner Christine A. Moore from
9 a.m.-6 p.m.

 

Friday, April 11

Maker’s Mark Commemorative Bottle signing. The bottle, which features University of Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops, benefits UKs HealthCare’s Gill Heart Institute. The bottle signing is from 6:30-9 a.m. ET. Click here for more information.

The Hill. Keeneland’s official tailgate lot, which is adjacent to the Keene Barn, features food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, a Keeneland Gift Shop kiosk and free shuttles to the track. BETologists, Keeneland’s wagering experts, will be available to answer fans’ questions.

Craft Beer Tent. A special selection of craft beers is available on the North Terrace patio and includes Country Boy, Kentucky Ale Kolsch, Land Shark, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater.

Friday Pick 4 Presented by TVG. A $200,000-guaranteed pool will be offered on Races 6-9. Race 9 is the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).

 

Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12

The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents the Bosom Buddy Bags trunk show from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

 

Saturday, April 12

Sunrise Trackside sponsored by LEX18, the Lexington Herald-Leader and Dunkin’ Donuts offers activities for all ages beginning at 7 a.m. ET.  Fans can enjoy Breakfast With the Works, a Southern-style breakfast and trackside commentary during the morning workouts (until 8:30 a.m.); children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7-9 a.m.); a show-and-tell with Michael Blowen of Old Friends; a demonstration by the Irish-bred Gypsy Vanner trick horse Odd Bob Job in the Paddock (9 a.m.); guided walking tours of Keeneland (8-10 a.m.); trackside handicapping seminar (11 a.m.); and a Q&A session with 2013 Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano in the Paddock (11:35 a.m.). Keeneland Bugler Steve Buttleman will also be on hand to take photos with fans.

Early Post. Keeneland will offer 12 races, and the post time of the first race is 12:35 p.m. The Toyota Blue Grass (G1) is the 11th race with a 5:45 p.m. post.

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. A special selection of craft beers is available on the North Terrace patio and includes Country Boy, Kentucky Ale Kolsch, Land Shark, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater.

All-Stakes Pick 4 presented by TVG. The $300,000 guaranteed Pick Four features Races 8-11, the Shakertown (G3), Madison (G1), Jenny Wiley (G1) and Toyota Blue Grass (G1).

All-Stakes Pick 5 presented by TVG. The $300,000 guaranteed Pick Five features Races 7-11, the Commonwealth (G3), Shakertown (G3), Madison (G1), Jenny Wiley (G1), and Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1).

 

Sunday, April 13
Horses and Hope Pink Day.
Horses and Hope is First Lady Jane Beshear’s initiative to reach women working in Kentucky’s horse industry with education about breast cancer and mammography screening. In conjunction with the day’s festivities, Keeneland will honor “Ladies of the Turf,” nearly 30 retired and active female jockeys, including those who were first allowed to ride in 1969 and some of the most accomplished members of their profession. The women also will sign a commemorative fundraising poster created by horse racing cartoonist Peb. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the track to raise breast cancer awareness and interact with the jockeys during the day’s events. Fans can purchase the photo for $10. Proceeds will benefit Horses and Hope and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

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