FOOTBRIDGE TAKES BIG JUMP FROM MAIDEN VICTORY TO GRADE 1 TOYOTA BLUE GRASS
Godolphin Racing’s Footbridge attempt to overcome some serious history on Saturday when he makes his stakes debut in the 89th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1).
No horse has won this major Keeneland prep for the Kentucky Derby after breaking his maiden in his previous start, something Footbridge accomplished in his fourth start.
Footbridge, who will be ridden for the first time by Corey Lanerie, is the only 2013 Toyota Blue Grass entrant coming into the race off a maiden win. The Street Cry (IRE) colt and did not make his debut until December 26, the latest starting point for any Blue Grass starter.
“I did not get him until September,” trainer Eoin Harty said. “He was very straightforward and did things very easily. It was not like the light bulb just went on.”
In his debut, going 6½ furlongs, Footbridge finished third, beaten 5½ lengths. Following two consecutive runner-up finishes going a mile, Footbridge reached the winner’s circle with a victory by three-quarters of a length in a mile race at Santa Anita on March 17.
That victory put Footbridge into consideration for the Toyota Blue Grass, a race that awards the winner 100 qualifying points and a spot in the starting gate for the 139th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
“It’s the nature of the beast,” Harty said about making the jump to Grade 1 stakes company for a shot at the Run for the Roses. “It is not like he is coming in here off a 47 Beyer (Speed Figure) and the company line of who he has been running against is very strong.”
In the race before he broke his maiden, Footbridge finished a neck behind Govenor Charlie, who won the Sunland Derby (G3) in his next start in track-record time.
On Friday morning, Footbridge visited the starting gate and then galloped 1½ miles under exercise rider Tim Neal.
“The gate this morning is part of my regular routine,” Harty said, noting that Footbridge has not had any gate issues.
“He has been training on a synthetic surface (at Betfair Hollywood Park) and he is improving every race.”
In other Toyota Blue Grass activity at Keeneland Friday morning, Uncaptured and Dynamic Sky, both trained by Mark Casse, galloped 1½ miles after the renovation break. Wayne Brown was on Uncaptured, the race’s morning-line favorite, and Juan Bernardini was on Dynamic Sky. …
West Hills Giant galloped a little less than 1½ miles with exercise rider Leo Garcia up before the break to the delight of trainer John Terranova. “He has done well here,” Terranova said of West Hills Giant, who arrived here Tuesday morning. “He settled in nicely and has gotten over the track well.” …
Rydilluc made his usual morning stroll through the paddock and then stood trackside for about 15 minutes before jogging once around the main track with exercise rider Ricardo Orantes up. “I blew him out yesterday (:37.40 for three furlongs) and this is all we are doing today,” trainer Gary Contessa said.
Rydilluc is scheduled for another paddock schooling session with this afternoon’s second race.
“He has been great in the paddock all week; no problems at all,” said Contessa, who noted Rydilluc can sometimes be a handful in the paddock. “Of course, you never know what is going to happen on race day, but so far he has been great here.” …
Trained by Ken McPeek, Java’s War galloped 1½ miles with exercise rider Danny Ramsey aboard. ...
For Baldo Hernandez and Sean Ryan, assistants to trainer Chad Brown, Balance the Books schooled in the paddock and galloped once around the main track under exercise rider Kriss Bon. …
My Name Is Michael schooled in the paddock and galloped 1 1/8 miles with exercise rider Marnie Pacheco aboard for trainer Bill Mott. “We are very happy,” assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset said. “He’s moving very well.” …
Tesseron jogged a half-mile and galloped a half-mile under Ruth Schmidt, assistant to trainer Josie Carroll.
CECIL MAKES RARE KEENELAND APPEARANCE FOR TWO SATURDAY STAKES
Ben Cecil has been an infrequent visitor to Keeneland from his Southern California base with only five starters here, the most recent in 2008.
That figure will increase by two on Saturday when Cecil sends out Shumoos in the 12th running of the $300,000 Madison Stakes (G1) and Quiet Oasis (IRE) for the 25th running of the $300,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1).
Shumoos will make her third start since coming off a 14-month layoff after finishing second against males in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs.
“I have had her since the Breeders’ Cup,” Cecil said. “She had a hairline fracture and then after that it was one thing after another. She was very impressive in her first start back (a 2½-length victory going six furlongs).”
In her most recent start, Shumoos finished third in the Las Flores Stakes (G3) at 6½ furlongs.
“I don’t think she likes to be on the lead, and I think we will try something different tomorrow,” Cecil said.
Quiet Oasis also is on the comeback trail.
“She was third in the Santa Ana (G2) in her first start in eight months,” Cecil said of the two-time graded stakes winner.
The Jenny Wiley field of nine includes six other graded stakes winners, three of them Grade 1 victors.
“They don’t just give away Grade 1s,” Cecil said referring to the depth of the race.
RAMSEYS TAKE AIM ON OWNERS WIN MARK
Horses owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey of Nicholasville, Kentucky, won two races on Thursday, pushing the Ramseys’ total number of victories through the first five days of the 16-day spring meet to nine. The Ramseys need four more wins to set a record for owners during a Keeneland meet.
The Ramseys won a total of 12 races last fall and tied Calumet Farm, who achieved that mark in the spring of 1941, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Roberts, who won 12 races during the 1968 fall race meet.
The Ramseys, who received the Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in 2011, have earned 11 titles as Keeneland’s leading owner, including a sweep of last year’s spring and fall race meets.
The Ramseys do not have any horses racing today. On Saturday, they will have a horse in three graded stakes: Bernie the Maestro in the Commonwealth Stakes (G3), Holiday for Kitten in the Madison Stakes (G1) and Charming Kitten in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1).
A victory by one of those runners will give the Ramseys eight graded stakes wins at Keeneland. In honor of that milestone, the Ramseys would receive a gold tray as part of Keeneland’s signature graded stakes trophy program. Only 17 other owners in Keeneland history have achieved such an accomplishment.
VIDEO INTERVIEWS WITH OWNER KEN RAMSEY AND TRAINER EDDIE KENNEALLY
Video interviews conducted by sports broadcaster Tom Leach with owner Ken Ramsey about his upcoming stakes entries (Charming Kitten, Toyota Blue Grass Stakes-G1; Holiday for Kitten, Madison Stakes-G1 and Bernie the Maestro, Commonwealth Stakes-G3) and trainer Eddie Kenneally about his Madison Stakes (G1) starter, Jamaican Smoke, are available by clicking the following links:
TOYOTA BLUE GRASS WEEK SPECIAL EVENTS
Friday, April 12 - Sunday, April 14
The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents a trunk show with hat milliner Christine A. Moore and Elizabeth McKay. Fans can meet these celebrity designers from 9 a.m.– 6 p.m. ET.
Friday, April 12 - Saturday, April 13
The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents a book signing with internationally acclaimed artist Peter Williams, author of Peter Williams Retrospective: Paintings and People Dear to Me, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.
Saturday, April 13
Sunrise Trackside offers activities for the entire family beginning at 7 a.m. with Breakfast With the Works, featuring a Southern-style breakfast and trackside commentary on Thoroughbreds as they train until 8:30 a.m.); children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7-9 a.m.); a demonstration in the paddock with Justin the Artistic Horse (8:45 a.m.); walking tours of Keeneland (8:30-10:30 a.m.); photos with legendary bugler George “Bucky” Sallee in the paddock (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.); a trackside handicapping seminar (11:30 a.m.); and a Q&A session with a Keeneland jockey in the paddock (12:05 p.m.).
Tailgating on “The Hill.” Watch and wager on Keeneland’s live racing from the tailgate lot. Located adjacent to the Keene Barn and Entertainment Center, The Hill features a variety of food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, and race-day programs and general admission tickets available for purchase. A concert series, held in conjunction with Best of Bluegrass, will feature Laurel River Line (April 13) and Town Mountain (April 20).
“ABRV at The Hill.” The interactive fan experience is the latest initiative from The Jockey Club’s new cross-country fan development initiative, America’s Best Racing (ABR). The ABR tour bus, dubbed the ABRV, and six brand ambassadors will bring the popular Racing 101 program to the tailgate lot.
Keeneland Double. A day at the races features the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and is followed by the University of Kentucky’s Blue-White scrimmage football game at Commonwealth Stadium. Fans can park early in the day at Commonwealth Stadium, take a Lextran bus or trolley for $1 each way to Keeneland for a day at the races and return to Commonwealth for the 7 p.m. kickoff. Lextran will have dedicated shuttles from 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 4:25 – 6:45 p.m.
All-Stakes Pick 4 presented by TVG. A $250,000 guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four Presented by TVG features races 7-10, the Shakertown (G3), Madison (G1), Jenny Wiley (G1) and Toyota Blue Grass (G1) Stakes. Two Pick Five wagers will be offered: Early Pick Five on races 3-7 and a Late Pick Five on races 8-12.
Sunday, April 14
Horses and Hope Pink Day. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to raise breast cancer awareness. Keeneland co-hosts Pink Day with Horses and Hope, First Lady Jane Beshear’s initiative to reach women working in Kentucky’s horse industry with education and mammography screening. Join survivors and supporters in the North Terrace for live music, a ladies-only handicapping contest, prize drawings and unique Pink Day activities. Prior to the races, a special luncheon sponsored by the First Lady, Kentucky Cancer Program, embry’s and WKYT-TV will be held in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion.
2013 TOYOTA BLUE GRASS STAKES (G1) ENTRANTS
LISTED IN POST POSITION ORDER
HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER/BARN
DYNAMIC SKY J. Rosario M. Casse/KEE 1
Last race: 4th Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on 3/9
Last work: 5F in 1:01.40 on 4/6 @ CD
MY NAME IS MICHAEL* S. Bridgmohan B. Mott/KEE 25
Last race: 8th Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 4F in :49 on 4/7 @ KEE
UNDRAFTED* C. Nakatani W. Ward/KEE 47
Last race: 3rd Swale (G3) on 3/2 @ GP
Last work: 5F in 1:01.60 on 4/6 @ KEE
JAVA’S WAR J. Leparoux K. McPeek/KEE 32
Last race: 2nd Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on 3/9
Last work: 5F in 1:00.56 on 4/7 @ GP
PALACE MALICE* G. Gomez T. Pletcher/CD
Last race: 7th LA Derby (G2) on 3/30 @ FG
Last work: 5F in 1:00.82 on 3/24 @ PM
CHANNEL ISLE J. Rocco Jr. D. Wayne Lukas/CD
Last race: 7th Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 5F in 1:00.60 on 4/4/@ CD
UNCAPTURED* M. Mena M. Casse/KEE 1
Last race: 2nd Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 5F in 1:01.40 on 4/6 @ KEE
CHARMING KITTEN J. Bravo T. Pletcher/CD
Last race: 2nd Palm Beach (G3) on 3/3 @ GP
Last work: 4F in :50.08 @ Palm Meadows
TESSERON A. Garcia J. Carroll/KEE 7
Last race: 4th OC on 2/23 @ GP
Last work: 6F in 1:16.20 on 4/3 @ KEE
FOOTBRIDGE C. Lanerie E. Harty/40
Last race: Won maiden on 3/17 @ SA
Last work: 5F in 1:00.40 on 4/8 @ BHP
BALANCE THE BOOKS* J. Castellano C. Brown/KEE 12
Last race: 11th Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 4F in :48.20 on 4/7 @ KEE
WEST HILLS GIANT J. Espinoza J. Terranova/KEE 23
Last race: 2nd Gotham (G3) on 3/2 @ Aqu
Last work: 5F in 1:00.47 on 4/8 @ BEL
RYDILLUC* E. Prado G. Contessa/KEE 30
Last race: Won Palm Beach (G3) on 3/3 @ GP
Last work: 3F in :37.40 on 4/11 @ KEE
FEAR THE KITTEN R. Napravnik M. Maker/CDT
Last race: 5th Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 5F in 1:02.20 on 4/6 @ Trackside
DIVINE AMBITION* J. Graham D. Miller/KEE 30
Last race: 2nd Rushaway on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 4F in :47.60 on 4/8 @ KEE
*Indicates Keeneland sales graduates
KEENELAND 2013 SPRING MEET LEADERS
(Stats Through Thursday, April 11)
Current Meet Leading Jockeys
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Joel Rosario 30 10 1 4 $241,761
Alan Garcia 15 5 3 1 $305,042
Rosie Napravnik 26 4 4 3 $178,247
Julien Leparoux 24 4 3 3 $231,070
Corey Lanerie 31 3 6 6 $166,495
Jesus Castanon 15 3 2 1 $ 76,032
Shaun Bridgmohan 21 2 3 1 $114,357
Edgar Prado 13 2 2 2 $125,674
Javier Castellano 4 2 0 1 $ 79,988
John Velazquez 4 2 0 0 $ 93,248
Robby Albarado 17 1 4 1 $ 77,680
Francisco Torres 15 1 2 2 $ 50,814
Joseph Rocco Jr. 14 1 1 3 $ 37,157
Miguel Mena 12 1 1 2 $ 57,706
Roberto Morales 10 1 1 0 $ 20,892
Patrick Husbands 9 1 0 0 $ 33,967
Mike Smith 3 1 0 0 $302,453
Gary Boulanger 3 1 0 0 $ 21,867
Gary Stevens 3 1 0 0 $ 19,000
Current Meet Leading Trainers
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Michael Maker 25 9 2 1 $224,830
Wesley Ward 19 5 1 3 $166,491
H. Graham Motion 12 3 3 3 $265,194
Mark Casse 18 3 1 0 $122,807
Ken McPeek 10 2 2 1 $ 89,801
Todd Pletcher 4 2 0 1 $102,448
Shug McGaughey 4 2 0 1 $ 87,656
20 trainers tied with 1 win each.