UNBELIEVABLE DREAM PROVES TO BE JUST THAT IN APPALACHIAN VICTORY
Unbelievable Dream’s last-to-first dash to victory in Thursday’s Appalachian Stakes Presented by the Japan Racing Association (G3) on the turf gave the Sure Thing Stables of Michael McGuire its first stakes victory.
“I have been training for them for 10 years and they are the nicest people in the world,” trainer Barclay Tagg said Friday morning of the Chicago-area owners. “Yesterday was their first stakes win and they get it in a graded stakes.”
Under meet-leading rider Joel Rosario, who won five races on Thursday’s program, Unbelievable Dream was 15 lengths back halfway through the one-mile Appalachian and was still 4½ lengths back at the eighth pole before catching Overheard and Eden Prairie in the final strides.
“She’s a lovely filly and she seems to have come out of the race good,” Tagg said about the daughter of Kitalpha. “She is a New York-bred and she might have transcended those yesterday.”
The $200,000 Sands Point Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park on May 27 is a possible next stop for Unbelievable Dream, although Tagg said he has another filly he has initially eyed for that spot.
“I’ve got Caroline Thomas, who is a daughter of Bit of Whimsy,” Tagg said, referring to the filly he trained to victory in the 2007 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1) here. Caroline Thomas, by Giant’s Causeway, was a troubled fifth in the Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) in her most recent start on March 2 at Gulfstream Park.
Pin Oak Stable’s Overheard soon will head to Woodbine, the home base for trainer Malcolm Pierce.
“She looked like a winner at the sixteenth pole,” Pierce said. “She is fine this morning, but I am not sure when she will start next.”
The next major stakes at Woodbine for three-year-old fillies is the Selene Stakes (G3) on May 19, but that race is on Polytrack.
“She has handled the Polytrack fine, but she is a Kentucky-bred and there is not a lot for her on grass up there,” Pierce said. “If it turns out she likes the grass better, she may have to do some traveling. She proved her quality yesterday, and we will space her races out.”
Lothenbach Stables’ Eden Prairie likely is headed to the $100,000-added Regret Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on June 15, according to trainer Neil Pessin.
“The Edgewood (on May 3 at Churchill Downs) is too quick,” Pessin said. “She ran a gutsy race yesterday and was the only speed to hold up.”
Named for the Minneapolis suburb where owner Robert Lothenbach lives, Eden Prairie “showed she could run with them and a Grade 3 placing helps her value,” Pessin said.
Following the Regret, the Hatoof Stakes on August 17 and the Pucker Up Stakes (G3) on September 14 at Arlington are on the radar for Pessin.
CHANGE OF SCENERY MIGHT BE WHAT RICHARD’S KID NEEDS
With more than $2.3 million in his bank account, Richard’s Kid enters Sunday’s $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (G3) as the most accomplished member in the field of seven.
Purchased privately before last August’s TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) by David Kenney, Triple B Farms and Westside Rentals.com, et al., the now eight-year-old Richard’s Kid has compiled a record of 7-0-0-3 for trainer Doug O’Neill.
“Let’s just say that he is not ready for retirement,” said Leandro Mora, O’Neill’s top assistant, about the son of Lemon Drop Kid. “He has been running in Grade 1s and running some big numbers.”
Since arriving at Keeneland, Richard’s Kid has had one work, a half-mile breeze in :50.40 on April 12, and has adapted to his new surroundings.
“He is a happy horse here. The change of scenery has really picked him up,” Mora said. “We just need to get him a little more confidence. He has had a couple of bad races, one going long on the turf and on dirt on a surface he didn’t like.”
Rosie Napravnik, who won Thursday’s sixth race on the O’Neill-trained There Is No Limit, will have the mount Sunday on Richard’s Kid as she seeks to build momentum toward what could be a historic weekend in early May at Churchill Downs.
Napravnik, who is tied for third in the rider standings through 10 days of the 16-day Keeneland spring meet, has been confirmed to ride Mylute in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) on May 4 and Pure Fun the day before in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Only the sixth woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby, Napravnik would join Julie Krone as the only female jockey to have ridden in the Derby twice. No female rider has won the Kentucky Derby.
Napravnik became the first woman rider to win the Oaks last year aboard Believe You Can. Should she repeat this year, she would be the first rider to do so since Eddie Arcaro won the Oaks three consecutive years (1951-53). Only six riders in the 138-year history of the Oaks have won consecutive runnings of the race, just two since 1900.
FIVE-WIN DAY INCREASES ROSARIO’S LEAD
Joel Rosario, riding his first full Keeneland meet, won the first race of the spring meet on April 5 and has not slowed a step. Thursday’s five-win day gave Rosario 20 wins for the meet, double the total of runner-up Julien Leparoux.
Rosario, who capped the day with Unbelievable Dream’s victory in the Appalachian Stakes Presented by the Japan Racing Association (G3), won on his first four mounts. His other winners were Whatthecatdrugin ($3.80 in the first), Hurricane Girl ($6.80 in the second), Mary At the Cove ($5.20 in the third) and Southpaw Slammer ($5 in the fifth).
The Keeneland record for wins in a day is six, first accomplished on April 7, 1990, by Randy Romero on nine mounts. Eleven days later, Craig Perret won six races with seven mounts. Last spring, Leparoux rode six winners from eight mounts on April 20.
Rosario became the 11th rider to win five races on a Keeneland program. The feat has been accomplished 16 times with Pat Day doing it four times and Romero and Leparoux doing it twice.
UPCOMING SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Friday, April 19 - Saturday, April 20
Budweiser Clydesdales. On Friday, fans can have their photo taken with a member of the world-famous team from noon – 1 p.m. at the South Grandstand entrance (weather permitting). On April 20, the Budweiser Clydesdales will appear on Keeneland’s main track between races.
Friday, April 19 - Sunday, April 21
The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents a trunk show by Dorfman Pacific from 11 a.m –6 p.m.
Saturday, April 20
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 featuring millionaire and multiple graded stakes winner Arson Squad, a resident of Old Friends equine retirement facility (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 by the Bluegrass band Town Mountain will be featured.
Sunday, April 21
Military Appreciation Day Presented by Windstream. Active and inactive members of the military and their families receive 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 and activities. Because April is the Month of the Military Child, Keeneland will have special giveaways and activities for children in the Military Family Zone from noon-4 p.m.
KEENELAND 2013 SPRING MEET LEADERS
(Stats Through Thursday, April 18)
Current Meet Leading Jockeys
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Joel Rosario 57 20 4 6 $694,794
Julien Leparoux 52 10 9 7 $1,112,592
Rosie Napravnik 47 7 11 7 $426,329
Alan Garcia 32 7 3 2 $390,666
Javier Castellano 26 6 3 3 $344,056
Edgar Prado 21 5 3 2 $282,946
Corey Lanerie 63 3 11 10 $256,968
Shaun Bridgmohan 45 3 4 8 $187,893
Jesus Castanon 20 3 3 1 $ 94,571
Roberto Morales 24 3 2 1 $ 76,598
Robby Albarado 22 2 4 1 $113,345
Francisco Torres 28 2 3 2 $ 95,799
Miguel Mena 27 2 3 2 $106,710
Joseph Rocco Jr. 27 2 1 3 $ 82,165
Gary Stevens 15 2 1 1 $ 70,605
Leandro Goncalves 12 2 0 1 $ 27,364
John Velazquez 4 2 0 0 $ 93,248
Current Meet Leading Trainers
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Michael Maker 42 11 8 2 $348,382
Wesley Ward 24 6 1 3 $204,224
H. Graham Motion 18 5 4 3 $345,632
Ken McPeek 26 5 3 1 $630,902
Shug McGaughey 12 4 2 2 $245,222
Mark Casse 27 4 2 0 $170,640
Jonathan Sheppard 6 4 0 0 $135,516
Todd Pletcher 8 3 1 2 $364,948
Wayne Catalano 16 2 1 4 $ 93,042
George Arnold II 13 2 1 2 $249,619
Eddie Kenneally 8 2 1 1 $ 69,455
Charlie LoPresti 9 2 1 0 $238,238
Doug O’Neill 6 2 1 0 $157,430
James Baker 4 2 1 0 $ 57,884
George Leonard III 4 2 0 0 $ 25,350
Tevis Q. McCauley 3 2 0 0 $ 34,800