Barn Notes -- Thursday, April 3

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Keeneland racing analyst Tom Leach interviews Ken Ramsey about Thank You Marylou, a homebred racing in Saturday’s Central Bank Ashland (G1) for Ramsey and his wife, Sarah:

The Ramseys were the leading owners during Keeneland’s 2013 Spring and Fall Meets.  During the Spring Meet, they won 25 races, a Keeneland record for any meet. During the Fall Meet, they won a meet-record 17 races.

Leach also interviews these trainers:

Ken McPeek about Central Bank Ashland hopeful Rosalind:

Rusty Arnold about Woodfield Springs, racing in the Transylvania (G3) on Friday’s opening day:

Chuck Peery about Transylvania starter Laddie Boy:



Trainer Mark Casse was all fired up about the prospect of running Mike Rutherford’s homebred Resistivity in Saturday’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) until post positions were drawn Wednesday and Resistivity drew No. 13.

“I had a flashback to the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies Turf) last year when My Conquestadory got the 14,” Casse said. “I had a lot of confidence coming into the race, but the post position definitely tempers the enthusiasm.

“I talked with Mr. Rutherford last night about scratching and waiting for the Appalachian (G3) next week. But right now, we are going to run.”

Resistivity enters the Central Bank Ashland off a daylight grass victory at Gulfstream Park. On Saturday, she worked five furlongs here in 1:00.60.

“She trains well on synthetic and last year at Ocala she was right with My Conquestadory,” Casse said. “I think the dirt is her least preferred surface of the three, but she does not mind Churchill Downs.”

As for My Conquestadory, the overpowering winner of last fall’s Darley Alcibiades (G1), Casse said she is in Ocala.

“She got hurt this winter at Palm Meadows but it was nothing severe and she is starting to breeze,” Casse said of the filly, who has not run since her fourth-place Breeders’ Cup finish. “We know how good she is and the owners are letting me take my time with her.”

Casse also is eyeing the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) with John Oxley’s Coastline.

A maiden winner here last fall, Coastline finished third in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral (G3) in his most recent start.

“I wish he would have been 12 inches faster,” Casse said of the narrow Spiral defeat. “I was disappointed in his two races at Oaklawn. The plan right now is the Blue Grass and he will work tomorrow and we’ll see.”



The way Besilu Stables’ Miss Besilu has been training on Keeneland’s Polytrack helped convince trainer Bill Mott and his Keeneland-based assistant, Rodolphe Brisset, that she was ready for Saturday’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1).

On Wednesday, the Medaglia d’Oro filly worked a half-mile in :47.60 with Brisset aboard.

“She breezed really, really good,” Brisset said. “We were happy. The breeze went the way we want. We didn’t have much gallop out, but that’s what we want the Wednesday for Saturday – you don’t want to do too much. She looked good this morning.”

Miss Besilu jogged on the training track this morning, and Brisset said, “Every light is green right now.”

A maiden and allowance winner on the turf at Gulfstream Park, Miss Besilu is coming off an 11th-place finish behind Testa Rossi (FR) in the March 8 Florida Oaks (G3) on the Tampa Bay turf course. Testa Rossi is the early favorite for the Central Bank Ashland.

Well before Miss Besilu began her racing career, she made headlines when Besilu’s Ben Leon paid $2.6 million for her as a weanling at Keeneland’s 2011 November Breeding Stock Sale. Miss Besilu was the highest-priced weanling at the sale.

Now she’s on the verge of giving Mott his second consecutive win in the Central Bank Ashland. He won the race last year with Juddmonte Farms’ Emollient, who returned here in October to win the Juddmonte Spinster (G1). Brisset said Emollient could be back for the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3), a 1 1/16-mile race on the main track on April 18.

This April, the Mott barn has another notable member, the trainer’s son, Riley, a senior economics major at the University of Kentucky who is working in the barn before classes.



Lothenbach Stables’ homebred Ry’s the Man brings a perfect 2-for-2 record on grass into Friday’s 26th running of the $100,000 Transylvania (G3), but trainer Neil Pessin is not sure the turf is the reason for the perfection.

“Yes, he is 2-for-2 on turf but it is also the only two times he has not had trouble at the start,” Pessin said. “In his first four starts, he got squeezed on both sides at the start. Two races back, he reared at the start, so he did that to himself.

“So I still don’t know (how good he is). Is he a Grade 3 horse or not? We are going to find out in the Transylvania.”

A son of Officer, Ry’s the Man will break from post position two Friday and be ridden by Florent Geroux, who was aboard for the gelding’s allowance win at Fair Grounds on March 21.

“He is not real flashy when he is working, but he is a different horse on turf,” Pessin said about Ry’s the Man. “He likes turf better than dirt or Polytrack. His feet are kind of small and he would not mind a yielding course.”

Pessin said if the Transylvania is taken off the turf, he might scratch Ry’s the Man in favor of an allowance race next week.

One Pessin horse that will run “rain or shine” is Eden Prairie, who is targeting the $300,000 Madison (G1) next Saturday at seven furlongs on the main track.

“She is doing very well and when she gets beat, there is always a reason,” Pessin said. “The last time (in the Bayou at Fair Grounds) it was my fault. I was pointing here for a $300,000 Grade 1 rather than a $60,000 ungraded and I lightened up on her.”

In her most recent start at Keeneland, Eden Prairie finished second in the Lexus Raven Run (G2) at seven furlongs last fall.

“I think she would have won that day if she had seen the other horse (Madame Cactus),” Pessin said of his filly, who was caught in the final jump.

Pessin also has Mister Marti Gras for the Ben Ali (G3) on April 19.



Crossed Sabres Farm’s Lochte, winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and runner-up in the Frank Kilroe Mile (G1) in his past two starts, arrived at Keeneland early Thursday morning for an expected start in the April 11 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1). Also arriving Thursday morning was All American Horses’ Casiguapo for the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on April 12. …

Prospective fields for next week’s Grade 1 races continued to grow with six horses considered as probable for the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile, eight for the $300,000 Jenny Wiley and nine for the $300,000 Madison.

According to Stakes Coordinator Scott Jones, joining the list of probable for the Maker’s 46 Mile are Gentleman’s Kitten and Kaigun. Also pointing to the race are two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, Lochte, Reload and Za Approval.

Fitful Skies (IRE), runner-up in last fall’s E.P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine in her North American debut, is headed for the Jenny Wiley at 1 1/16 miles on the grass on April 12. Other probable for the race include defending champion Centre Court, Abaco, Cloud Scapes, Egg Drop, Kitten’s Point, Stephanie’s Kitten and Tapicat.

Byrama, runner-up in the Madison last year, has joined the prospective cast for the seven-furlong main track sprint. Other probable for the race are Apropos, Ciao Bella Luna, Cozze Up Lady, Discreet Marq, Eden Prairie, Heir Kitty, Judy the Beauty and Wildcat Lily.



Friday, April 4

Opening Day and College Scholarship Day. Keeneland welcomes students from colleges and universities in Kentucky and neighboring states. Admission is free with a college ID. Full-time students can register 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 will receive a free T-shirt courtesy of Kennedy’s Wildcat Den or a Vineyard Vines baseball hat. In the College Zone, students can enjoy 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 can register 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 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.

The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents Vineyard Vines trunk show from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. ET. 

Friday Pick 4 Presented by TVG. A $200,000-guaranteed pool will be offered on Races 6-9.


Saturday, April 5

Bluegrass Double. Keeneland encourages fans to wear blue to the track to show their support for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, which has advanced to the Final Four. Post time for the first of 10 races at Keeneland is 1:05 p.m. ET. The 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.

Sunrise Trackside sponsored by LEX18, the Lexington Herald-Leader and Dunkin’ Donuts offers activities for all ages beginning at 7 a.m. Fans can enjoy Breakfast With the Works, a Southern-style breakfast and trackside commentary during the morning workouts with a show and tell with farrier James Guthrie (until 8:30 a.m.); children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7-9 a.m.); a demonstration in the Paddock by Central Kentucky Riding for Hope (9 a.m.); guided walking tours of Keeneland (8-10 a.m.); a trackside handicapping seminar (11:30 a.m.); and a Q&A session with jockey Joel Rosario in the Paddock (12:05 p.m.). Keeneland Bugler Steve Buttleman will be on hand to take photos with fans.

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.



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