Keeneland Barn Notes for Saturday, October 12

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  • VELAZQUEZ CLOSES IN ON DAY’S NORTH AMERICAN EARNINGS MARK
  • QUEEN’S AWARD ENHANCES VALUE WITH BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY VICTORY
  • MANDELLA MAKES RARE TRIP TO KEENELAND FOR SARACH’S QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP RUN
  • 30th RUNNING OF THE QE II STIRS ROYAL MEMORIES
  • KEENELAND CELEBRATES KENTUCKY-ALABAMA FOOTBALL WEEKEND
  • FALL MEET EVENTS
  • FALL MEET LEADERS

 

VELAZQUEZ CLOSES IN ON DAY’S NORTH AMERICAN EARNINGS MARK

Racing Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez could become the leading rider by earnings for races in the U.S. and Canada with a victory in this afternoon’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) aboard Martin S. Schwartz’s Alterite (FR).

All-time leading Keeneland rider and fellow Hall of Famer Pat Day’s mounts amassed $297,914,839 in earnings in races in the U.S. and Canada during his career.

Entering this afternoon’s program at Keeneland, Velazquez’s mounts have earned $297,733,120. A victory on Alterite in the QE II would be worth $240,000.

Velazquez, who has won two previous renewals of the QE II on Perfect Arc (1995) and Alwajeeha (2008), also has mounts in the sixth race on Formidable Heart, seventh race on Place Card and eighth race on Cynical Storm. He has won 36 stakes here, eight of them Grade 1s, including the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) with We Miss Artie and Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) with Judy the Beauty this fall. Velazquez sits atop the current meet standings with Rosie Napravnik with five victories.

 

QUEEN’S AWARD ENHANCES VALUE WITH BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY VICTORY

Queen’s Award picked the right time to get her first stakes victory on Friday when she sprang a $63.80 upset in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County.

“I’d say her value went up,” trainer Eduardo Caramori said Saturday morning of the 6-year-old mare who is cataloged in Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale as a racing or broodmare prospect.

“I wouldn’t mind keeping her in training,” Caramori said with a laugh. “She’s only 6 and has not run that often and is sound.”

Caramori said Queen’s Award came out of the race in good order and returned to The Thoroughbred Center after the race.

Queen’s Award gave jockey Kent Desormeaux his 23rd Keeneland stakes victory in a run that dates to 1996 with Afternoon Deelites in the Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup (G2).

“That was a pleasant surprise,” Desormeaux said Saturday morning. “I thought she would do well but not that well. She ran well for me the one time I rode her at Arlington and she just got beat. Eduardo does a good job with his horses.”

The stakes victory was the first for Desormeaux since September 2012 when he guided Politicallycorrect to the winner’s circle in the Oklahoma Derby. Desmoreaux’s most recent Keeneland stakes victory came aboard Dullahan in the 2012 Toyota Blue Grass (G1).

“I found a lot of friends yesterday,” Desormeaux said. “I must have had 60 text messages since the race. To win at Keeneland is even better.”

The 43-year-old Racing Hall of Fame rider from Maurice, La., plans to ride at Churchill Downs after the Keeneland meet and then go to Fair Grounds for the winter.

“That is the plan for right now unless I get redirected to Miami,” Desormeaux said. “I never have ridden regularly at Fair Grounds. After I got out of school, I rode five weeks at Evangeline Downs and then five weeks at Louisiana Downs and then it was off to Maryland.”

Queen’s Award collared 2012 race winner Madame Giry in deep stretch to win by a half-length.

“That was a tough beat, but when they run like that you can’t complain,” trainer Cam Gambolati said of Madame Giry. “She seems fine this morning and lives to fight another day.”

Gambolati said Madame Giry would leave Keeneland Sunday to return to Gulfstream Park.

“There is nothing down there for her until probably December, so she will get a little break,” Gambolati said. “It would be ideal to run her a couple of times and then come back here in the spring (for the Giant’s Causeway).”

 

MANDELLA MAKES RARE TRIP TO KEENELAND FOR SARACH’S QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP RUN

Racing Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella was on the scene early Saturday morning watching Wertheimer and Frere’s Sarach stretch her legs on the training track before this afternoon’s start in the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

“It has been awhile since I’ve been here,” said Mandella, whose most recent runner at Keeneland was Smart Ellis, who ran in the Bourbon (G3) in 2011. “This is a special place to come to when you get the opportunity.”

A homebred daughter of Arch, Sarach comes into the QE II off a victory at Del Mar in the Sandy Blue Handicap at a mile.

“She won the Grade 2 Honeymoon at Hollywood Park and we avoided the Del Mar Oaks (G1) for a smaller stakes that she ran well in and won,” Mandella said. “We had this race under consideration and this gives up her an opportunity to step up.”

Martin Garcia, who has ridden Sarach in her past three starts that includes a fourth-place finish in the American Oaks (G1), will have the mount this afternoon.

Mandella has won three graded stakes at Keeneland, the first coming in 1989 with Exclusive Partner in the Elkhorn (G3). He also won the Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup (G2) with Memo (CHI) in 1994 and Afternoon Deelites in 1996.

 

30th RUNNING OF THE QE II STIRS ROYAL MEMORIES

Today marks the 30th running of the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), a race named in honor of Britain’s longtime monarch who is an avid horsewoman and breeds and races Thoroughbreds. On Oct. 11, 1984, Queen Elizabeth II visited Keeneland and presented the trophy for the inaugural running.

In Ted Bassett: My Life, his autobiography written with Bill Mooney, former Keeneland President and Director Emeritus James E. “Ted” Bassett III recalled the Queen’s visit, one of the most important events in Keeneland history:

“It was to be the Queen’s sixth visit to the United States, but her first ever to our Bluegrass State and her afternoon at Keeneland was to be her first at a racetrack in this country. Six or seven weeks before her visit, the British Secret Service came to see us and explain the procedures of her visit, and to work out such plans as where she would dine and where the trophy presentation would take place for a race we were inaugurating in her honor, the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes. Back then at Keeneland, we did not have a winner’s circle. For regular races, we’d simply have the clerk of scales draw a chalk circle on the track surface, and the brief congratulatory ceremony would take place there.

“But, after a stakes race was run, people were to walk across the track for the trophy presentation, and it didn’t matter whether rain, snow or sleet was falling, or how thick or gooey the track surface was. If you were the winning owner or trainer, or had been invited to make the trophy presentation, you had to walk across, even if it meant wading through a swamp.

“Well, the British and United States Secret Service, not surprisingly, suggested to us that it wouldn’t really be appropriate for the Queen to do something like this, and said that for a number of reasons, involving security and so forth, they’d prefer to have her present the trophy on the grandstand side. And this is why we finally, in Keeneland’s forty-ninth year of existence, constructed a winner’s circle. We did it so Queen Elizabeth II would have the proper setting to present the trophy for the stakes race that was named in her honor.”

During her Keeneland visit, the Queen also met members of the jockey colony and attended a mock sale of horses in the sales pavilion. Keeneland re-created the sale of European standouts Sir Ivor, The Minstrel, Storm Bird and Shareef Dancer, along with Snaafi Dancer, who a year earlier had sold for $10.2 million at the Keeneland July Selected Yearling Sale. (During a return to Kentucky in 1986, the Queen visited several farms, including Hermitage Farm, which at the 1985 July Sale sold Seattle Dancer for a world-record $13.1 million.)

The winner of the inaugural QE II was Cherry Valley Farm’s homebred Sintra, who was ridden by Keith Allen for trainer Steve Penrod. The Drone filly was the 3-5 favorite for the race, and she nosed out Solar Halo for the victory.

 

KEENELAND CELEBRATES KENTUCKY-ALABAMA FOOTBALL WEEKEND

 Friday was See Blue Day at Keeneland to fire up fans for tonight’s football game between the University of Kentucky and the University of Alabama. Activities included a handicapping challenge between Tom Leach, the “Voice of the Wildcats,” and Eli Gold, the radio voice of the Crimson Tide. Both are tremendous racing fans and avid horseplayers.

After 10 races on Friday, Gold finished with an account balance of $591, which will be donated to the University of Alabama Dance Marathon. Leach’s account balance of $232.50 will be donated to DanceBlue, UK’s Dance Marathon.

Additionally, Keeneland presented a check for $5,000 to DanceBlue. DanceBlue is the largest student-run philanthropic event in the Southeastern Conference, raising money throughout the year to benefit the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Children who have been patients of the clinic co-presented the check.

The 22,807 fans at Keeneland on See Blue Day represented a record attendance for a Friday during the fall meet. The UK contingent scored a victory in the eighth race when Jorts – named for popular former Kentucky basketball player Josh Harrellson – defeated Fight the Tide.

A homebred racing for Whitetail of trainer Mike Bell and his wife, Bill, Jorts is a 3-year old gelding by Johar who made his career debut in the 6½-furlong race on the main track. Jorts’ odds in the morning line were 15-1, and dropped to 7-2 before reaching 7-1. Ridden by Corey Lanerie, the gelding settled in the middle of the pack down the backstretch. He used a ground-saving trip along the rail and took the lead in the stretch to hold off the fast-closing 6-1 shot Fight the Tide to win.

Jorts paid $17.20 to win, and the Jorts-Fight the Tide exacta paid $109.60.

 

GALLOPING OUT

Winner of the 2011 Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1), Sean Avery was at Keeneland Saturday morning for the Sunrise Trackside paddock demonstration with Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky. Sean Avery, a 7-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Cherokee Run, was sold for $30,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Racing for Black Swan Stable, he won seven races in 14 starts and earned $398,640 for Black Swan Stable. He was retired to Old Friends this year.

 

FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS

Sunday, Oct. 13

Chase Bank Customer Day. Patrons can present their JPMorgan Chase debit or credit card at South or East Gate entrances to receive free general admission.

 

FALL MEET LEADERS

Through Oct. 11

Jockey

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

John Velazquez

24

5

7

4

$860,531

Rosie Napravnik

29

5

3

3

$159,983

Joe Rocco Jr.

27

3

4

6

$220,589

Miguel Mena

15

3

4

1

$176,038

Robby Albarado

24

3

4

0

$578,653

Shaun Bridgmohan

31

3

3

4

$226,486

Pablo Morales

13

3

2

0

$ 71,893

Corey Lanerie

31

3

1

3

$101,693

  

Trainer

Starts

Wins

2nd

3rd

Purses

Wesley A. Ward

16

3

3

2

$212,566

Mark E. Casse

14

3

2

1

$401,660

Michael J. Maker

25

3

1

3

$ 71,356

Todd A. Pletcher

6

3

1

0

$324,271

 

SPECIAL: Tom Leach talks to John Velazquez about Alterite (FR), running in today’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvFUclPGGpM&feature=youtu.be

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