NEXT-RACE DECISION ON FALLING SKY EXPECTED SATURDAY
Trainer John Terranova was on hand at Keeneland Friday morning and said a decision on the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) status for Falling Sky would be made Saturday.
“We are going to get together tomorrow and talk it over,” said Terranova, who trains the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) winner for the ownership group of Newtown Anner Stud, James Covello and Joseph Bulger.
Also under consideration for Falling Sky, who is at Churchill Downs and scheduled to work there Sunday, is the Arkansas Derby (G1). The Toyota Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby are both scheduled to be run April 13.
Terranova also trains Gotham Stakes (G3) runner-up West Hills Giant for the ownership of Long Island Racing Stable, Sunrise Stables and Gina Bentivegna.
“He is going to breeze Monday at Belmont and if he works well, he could show up here for the Blue Grass or the (Coolmore) Lexington (G3),” Terranova said. “We got off schedule a little bit and that forced us to miss Saturday’s Wood Memorial (G1). He had a nice work Wednesday at Belmont (a half-mile in :49). We will make a decision after he breezes.”
An overflow field is expected to pass the entry box Wednesday for the 89th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass.
Considered as probable by Keeneland stakes coordinator Scott Jones are Uncaptured, Will Take Charge, Noble Tune, Dynamic Sky, Java’s War, Charming Kitten, Rydilluc, Fear the Kitten, Palace Malice, Undrafted, Channel Isle, Tesseron, Dewey Square, Footbridge and Eton Blue. Possible starters include the Terranova duo of Falling Sky and West Hills Giant, Demonic and Do the Roar.
The maximum number of starters for the Toyota Blue Grass will be limited to 14. In the event more than 14 pass the entry box, the 14 starters will be determined at that time with preference given to graded stakes winners (in order 1-2-3), then highest earnings. The most recent 14-horse field for the Toyota Blue Grass was in 1974.
UNDEFEATED FILLY BRINGS BAHEN BACK TO KEENELAND AFTER LONG HIATUS
It has been awhile since jockey Steve Bahen rode at Keeneland, but Friday morning he was aboard the reason for coming back to Kentucky after driving here from Toronto.
“I have not been here for more than 20 years,” said Bahen, after dismounting from Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) hopeful Nipissing for trainer Rachel Halden. “I won a stakes (the inaugural running of the Rood & Riddle Dowager in 1992) on Green Noble.”
Bahen has been aboard the undefeated Nipissing for all four of her starts.
“Her first five-eighths work really impressed me and she showed a lot of talent,” said Bahen, who is based at Woodbine. “The first stakes she won (the Princess Elizabeth Stakes), a horse passed her and she beared down and went after her. She wants to do it.”
Nipissing closed her 2012 campaign with a four-length victory in the South Ocean Stakes at Woodbine, going off at odds of .15 to the dollar.
“Now that was pressure,” Halden said with a laugh. “She was 1-to-9 on the board.”
Nipissing, a homebred owned by Chiefswood Stables, will not be 1-9 Saturday against a full field of fillies racing over Keeneland’s Polytrack, a surface she raced exclusively on last year at Woodbine.
“She really liked it out there this morning,” Bahen said. “She gets over the Polytrack better compared to when she was in Florida (at Payson Park). Her stride is much better.”
Nipissing will break from post position two, a spot Bahen does not believe will be an issue.
“She is very tactical and she will wait until you call on her,” Bahen said. “We just need to have a good trip and have some luck.”
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Centre Court, a four-time graded stakes winner and runner-up in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1) here last fall, worked an easy half-mile in :51 on the main track Friday morning. Trained by Rusty Arnold, Centre Court is expected to start in the $300,000 Jenny Wiley (G1) on April 13 going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. …
A couple of Grade 2 winners for trainer Doug O’Neill worked together after the morning maintenance break for likely stakes engagements. Reddam Racing’s Handsome Mike, winner of the 2012 Pennsylvania Derby and a candidate for the Commonwealth Stakes (G3) on April 13, and Zillah Reddam’s Renee’s Titan, winner of this year’s Santa Ynez Stakes and a candidate for the Beaumont Presented by Keeneland Select Stakes (G2) on April 14, worked a half-mile in :47.80. Keeneland clockers caught the first quarter-mile in :23.60 and had a gallop-out time of 1:01.40 for five furlongs.
SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Friday, April 5/Saturday, April 6
The Keeneland Gift Shop Presents a designer hat trunk show from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. with couture milliner Jenny Pfanenstiel of Forme’ Millinery.
Saturday, April 6
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 Central Kentucky Riding for Hope (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 will feature 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 The Bluegrass Collective (April 6), Laurel River Line (April 13) and Town Mountain (April 20).