Barn Notes -- Wednesday, April 16

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UNDEFEATED DIVINE OATH FACES 10 RIVALS IN STAKES DEBUT IN COOLMORE LEXINGTON

Let’s Go Stable’s undefeated Divine Oath, who did not draw into last Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1) field off the also-eligible list, will face 10 rivals this Saturday when he makes his stakes debut in the 33rd running of the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The Coolmore Lexington, one of three stakes on Saturday’s 10-race program, will go as the ninth race with a 5:13 p.m. ET post time. Saturday’s first race is 1:05 p.m.

The Coolmore Lexington is the final race with points on the road to the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) on May 3 with 17 points (10-4-2-1) available.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, who has won this race five times, including last year with Winning Cause, Divine Oath has won both of his races going 7½ furlongs on the turf. Javier Castellano has the mount and will exit post position six.

Pletcher also will send out Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Supermonic (post 10 under Joel Rosario) and Stonestreet Stables’ Global Strike (post 11 under Irad Ortiz Jr.)

Prominent challengers to Divine Oath are a quartet of Grade 3 winners: Ami’s Holiday, Mr Speaker and the Wayne Catalano-trained duo of Poker Player and Solitary Ranger.

Ivan Dalos’ Ami’s Holiday, winner of the Grey Stakes at Woodbine in October, will make his 2014 debut for trainer Josie Carroll. Robby Albarado will ride Ami’s Holiday and break from post position seven.

Phipps Stable’s Mr Speaker, winner of the Dania Beach and runner-up in the Palm Beach (G3) for trainer Shug McGaughey, will make his Polytrack debut Saturday. Jose Lezcano has the mount and will break from post position one.

Gary and Mary West’s Poker Player won the Bourbon here last fall on the main track. Stewart Elliott will ride and break from post position four.

Susan Moulton’s Solitary Ranger won the Arlington-Washington Futurity last September and last month won the Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park. Florent Geroux retains the mount and will exit post position two.

The field for the Coolmore Lexington, from the rail out, is as follows: Mr Speaker (Lezcano, 120 pounds), Solitary Ranger (Geroux, 120), Dynamic Impact (Alan Garcia, 118), Poker Player (Elliott, 120), Z Lucky (Jon Court, 118), Divine Oath (Castellano, 118), Ami’s Holiday (Albarado, 120), Ride Away (Julien Leparoux, 118), Morning Calm (Joe Rocco Jr., 118), Supermonic (Rosario, 118) and Global Strike (I. Ortiz Jr., 118).

 

PAST TWO FAYETTE WINNERS NEWSDAD AND NIKKI’S SANDCASTLE SQUARE OFF IN BEN ALI

James Karp’s Newsdad and Richard Sherman’s Nikki’s Sandcastle, winners of the past two runnings of the Fayette (G2) here, headline a field of 10 older runners entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 84th running of the $150,000 Ben Ali (G3) to be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

The Ben Ali will go as the eighth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 4:42 p.m. ET post time.

Trained by Bill Mott, Newsdad owns the Keeneland track record for 1¼ miles and enters the Ben Ali off his second victory in the Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Newsdad will break from post position 10 and be ridden by Joel Rosario.

Nikki’s Sandcastle, who finished second to Newsdad in the 2012 Fayette, is trained by Dave Kassan. The defending champion will break from post position three under Corey Lanerie.

The Ben Ali also marks the return to Keeneland of Joha, winner of the 2012 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1). Owned by Wade Wacker and now trained by Tom Albertrani, Joha will break from post position four and be ridden by Javier Castellano.

The field for the Ben Ali, from the rail out, is as follows: Norumbega (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118 pounds), Stealcase (Stewart Elliott, 118), Nikki’s Sandcastle (Lanerie, 123), Joha (Castellano, 118), Hattaash (Emmanuel Esquivel, 118), Winning Cause (Joe Rocco Jr., 118), Red Rifle (Robby Albarado, 118), Farhaan (Irad Ortiz Jr., 120), Frac Daddy (Alan Garcia, 118) and Newsdad (Rosario, 123).

 

SWEET CASSIOPEIA SEEKS REPEAT IN SATURDAY’S GIANT’S CAUSEWAY

Dan Considine and Steve Snowden’s Sweet Cassiopeia will attempt to become the first horse to repeat in the Giant’s Causeway when she faces 10 rivals in the 18th running of the $100,000 listed stake for fillies and mares at 5½ furlongs on the turf.

The Giant’s Causeway will go as the seventh race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 4:11 p.m. ET post time.

Trained by Bill Connelly, Sweet Cassiopeia won last year’s Giant’s Causeway by 1¼ lengths. In her most recent start here, Sweet Cassiopeia finished third behind Saturday rival Queen’s Award in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County last fall.

Joe Rocco Jr. will be aboard Sweet Cassiopeia and break from post position nine.

Queen’s Award, owned by Susie and Ed Orr and Alfonxo Mazzetti, will break from post position eight and be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.

The field for the Giant’s Causeway, from the inside out, is as follows: Prettyhotprincess (Albin Jimenez, 118 pounds), Allwewantforxmas (Jose Lezcano, 118), Point to the Wild (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Believe in Charlie (Javier Castellano, 120), Saturday Nthe Park (Robby Albarado, 118), Run a Risk (Dylan Davis, 118), To My Valentine (FR) (Leandro Goncalves, 118), Queen’s Award (Desormeaux, 118), Sweet Cassiopeia (Rocco Jr., 118), Free as a Bird (Joel Rosario, 118) and Ageless (Julien Leparoux, 118).

 

BIG BAZINGA STAYS AT KEENELAND FOR POSSIBLE DERBY START

With his connections eyeing a spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) on May 3, Toyota Blue Grass (G1) fourth-place finisher Big Bazinga remains at Keeneland. Original plans called for the 3-year-old Bluegrass Cat gelding to leave Monday night to return to trainer Katerina Vassilieva’s Woodbine base.

The horses that race in the Kentucky Derby must have earned points in selected graded stakes. The top 20 point earners that pass the entry box run in the Derby. Big Bazinga, who races for Derby Dreamers Racing Stable, ranks 27th on the list with 14 points. If the connections of horses with more points opt not to enter, Big Bazinga could find a place in the starting gate.

Vassilieva’s assistant, Amber Mayers, said Big Bazinga will continue to train at Keeneland at least through the weekend when a decision will be made regarding whether he ships to Churchill Downs or Woodbine.

“We’re going to stay and wait it out and hopefully get some good news,” she said.

 

RECEPTA BRINGS TONER BACK FOR APPALACHIAN RUN

Three years ago, trainer Jimmy Toner used Keeneland’s Appalachian Stakes as the launching point for the 3-year-old campaign for Winter Memories.

On Thursday, Toner will follow the same path with Recepta, who makes her 2014 debut in the 26th running of the $100,000 Appalachian (G3) Presented by Japan Racing Association at a mile on the turf.

“She is doing great and we are following the same program we did with Winter Memories,” Toner said. “Recepta has a lot of quality and ability, but we don’t know how deep that is. With Winter Memories we knew.”

Winter Memories did all of her racing on the grass and won eight of 12 starts. Seven of her wins were in graded stakes.

Recepta, a 3-year-old daughter of Speightstown, closed her 2013 campaign with a victory in the Chelsea Flower at Belmont on Oct. 27.

“Her one race on turf was very impressive,” Toner said. “We wanted to give her time to prepare for this year and we are looking forward to running her this year.”

Joel Rosario will be aboard for the first time Thursday and break from post position one in the 12-horse field.

Phillips Racing Partnership, which owns Recepta with Pam Gartin, will be going for a stakes double this week with homebred Moment in Dixie in Friday’s 20th running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Moment in Dixie comes into Friday’s race off a nearly three-month layoff.

“She is doing well,’’ Toner said of the 5-year-old Dixieland Band mare. “Gulfstream Park is a hard place to run because that course is not her forte.

“Her last race at Tampa (fourth in the Grade 3 Endeavor on Jan. 25), I was initially disappointed but Graham Motion’s horse (Cloud Scapes) came right back to win the Hillsborough (G3). Moment in Dixie was fourth beaten 2¾ lengths, so we decided to wait for here.”

 

KEENELAND LIBRARY ARTIFACTS FEATURED IN KENTUCKY HORSE PARK EXHIBIT

The Lexington Bowl, a unique silver trophy that was awarded to the winner of the Blue Grass Stakes from 1937-1952, is part of rare racing memorabilia that the Keeneland Library has provided for the “Equine Treasures of the Bluegrass” exhibit that opens today at the Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse.

Crafted in 1854, the Lexington Bowl was presented to Dr. Elisha Warfield by the citizens of Lexington in appreciation of the immortal Thoroughbred Lexington, whom he bred. The pedestal punch bowl remained in the Warfield family until 1937, when three anonymous sportsmen purchased the piece and presented it to Keeneland.

The Keeneland Library is lending more than 20 artifacts from its vast collection.  They include a hand-written ledger from Dr. Warfield on the foaling of Lexington and an engraving of the horse from an original issue of Turf, Field and Farm. Keeneland also provided a silk purse awarded to Poteen at the Kentucky Association race track; a gold Tiffany stopwatch owned by Man o’ War’s owner, Sam Riddle; a program and Lexington Herald article on Keeneland’s opening day; and diaries, sales catalogs and produce ledgers from Woodburn Farm, where Lexington stood at stud.

The exhibit runs through Nov. 9. 

 

GALLOPING OUT

Centre Court, fifth in Saturday’s Jenny Wiley (G1), returned to the track Wednesday morning for trainer Rusty Arnold.

“I hate to run fifth and say a horse ran a good race, but she did,” Arnold said of Centre Court, who had a wide trip after breaking from post position 10. “She ran hard and only got beat three-quarters of a length. It was a big effort and she did everything right.”

Next for Centre Court might be the $300,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on May 3 over a course on which she has not lost in three starts, two of them in graded stakes.

“We are going to look at it,” Arnold said. “It is a little quick. Today is her first day back. We’ll see how her energy level is the next two weeks.” …

Following the ninth and final race on Thursday (5:13 p.m. ET post time), jockey Joel Rosario will receive the 2013 Hartack Memorial Award from the Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation in a presentation in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion. The annual award honors the memory and lifetime achievements of Hartack, a five-time winner of the Kentucky Derby. Through its philanthropic arm, the Foundation annually contributes to Thoroughbred racing industry charities such as the Winners Foundation, Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and Racing Employees Assistance Program.

 

SPRING MEET LEADERS

Through April 13 (8 days of racing)

Jockey

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Julien Leparoux

53

12

4

8

$488,953

Stewart Elliott

33

8

1

3

$231,724

Javier Castellano

32

7

6

6

$596,260

Joe Rocco Jr.

35

6

6

4

$300,004

Rosie Napravnik

44

5

8

4

$229,757

Alan Garcia

26

5

3

2

$366,991

James Graham

39

4

4

3

$203,288

Joel Rosario

27

4

4

3

$357,995

Dylan Davis

23

4

1

4

$122,895

Shaun Bridgmohan

24

4

0

2

$345,044

 

Trainer

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Mark Casse

27

5

3

5

$305,312

Ken McPeek

22

5

0

2

$386,136

Wesley Ward

16

4

2

3

$370,726

H. Graham Motion

21

3

3

3

$161,207

Christophe Clement

13

3

2

1

$206,764

Chad Brown

10

3

1

2

$245,666

 

UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS

Wednesday, April 16

WINS-day Challenge, a handicapping contest presented by Malone’s. At Wagering Central, contestants can sign up to play for a $10 entry fee, then they place a mythical $2 win and place wager on Keeneland Races 3 through 8. The contest offers a guaranteed $2,500 pool, and the first 200 participants receive a free Daily Racing Form and a card for an appetizer at Malone’s. The first-, second- and third-place finishers receive cash prizes and a gift card from Malone’s.

Keeneland Library Lecture Series. At 6 p.m., the Keeneland Library and the University of Kentucky Department of History present Bourbon, Brothels and the Kentucky Derby: A Kentucky Story by Eclipse Award-winner journalist Maryjean Wall and The Nostalgic Origins of the Kentucky Derby by award-winning writer Jamie Nicholson. Wall and Nicholson will discuss their research and discoveries for their recent books with a reception and book signing to follow.

 

Thursday, April 17

Jockey Colony Autograph Signing. Meet retired and current jockeys from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for an autograph signing adjacent to the Paddock. The riders will autograph Jockey Colony Photos, and proceeds will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Hartack Memorial Award. Jockey Joel Rosario will receive the 2013 Hartack Memorial Award from the Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation. The annual award honors the memory and lifetime achievements of the five-time winner of the Kentucky Derby. The award will be presented following the last race that day in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion. Through its philanthropic arm, the Foundation annually contributes to Thoroughbred racing industry charities such as the Winners Foundation, Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Racing Employees Assistance Program.

 

Friday, April 18

The “50 to 1” Movie Tour celebrates Mine That Bird’s implausible journey from El Paso, Texas, to Churchill Downs and victory in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. The story is documented in the feature-length film “50 to 1.”  The day’s activities include an appearance by Mine That Bird and a fan meet-and-greet with actors from the movie. The movie premiers in Kentucky the same day. Click here for more about the movie.

The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents a trunk show by Dorfman Pacific from 11 a.m -6 p.m.

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.

It’s My Derby. Racing fans are invited to the evening event in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion to rub elbows with some of Thoroughbred racing’s most recognizable people. The fundraiser for the Kentucky Derby Museum features a panel discussion and VIP reception with 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb’s co-owner and breeder Stuart Janney and trainer, Shug McGaughey, as well as trainer Barclay Tagg, winner of the 2003 Derby and Preakness with Funny Cide, and two-time Derby-winning jockey Chris McCarron. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will moderate the panel. For more information, click here.

 

Saturday, April 19

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 the Kentucky Horseshoeing School; guided walking tours of Keeneland (8-10 a.m.); trackside handicapping seminar (11:30 a.m.); and a Q&A session with current leading rider Julien Leparoux in the Paddock (12:05 p.m.). Keeneland Bugler Steve Buttleman also will be on hand to take photos with fans.

Easter Egg Hunt. As part of Sunrise Trackside, the Keeneland Kids Club will also host an Easter Egg Hunt on the North Terrace Lawn at 9 a.m. Children will be able to see baby chicks and bunnies and other animals from Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.

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.

The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents a trunk show by Dorfman Pacific from 11 a.m -6 p.m.

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.

Easter Sunday, April 20: Keeneland is closed

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