GANTRY, HANDSOME MIKE HEADLINE SATURDAY’S COMMONWEALTH FIELD
Brittlyn Stable’s Gantry, winner of last year’s Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) at Calder, and Reddam Racing’s Handsome Mike, winner of the 2012 Pennsylvania Derby (G2), headline a field of six older runners for Saturday’s 27th running of the $175,000 Commonwealth (G3).
The Commonwealth, run at seven furlongs on the main track, will go as the sixth race on Saturday’s 12-race program with a post time of 3:35 p.m. (ET). First post time Saturday is 1:05 p.m.
Trained by Ron Faucheux, Gantry enters the Commonwealth off three consecutive runner-up finishes behind Delaunay in stakes at Fair Grounds. Richard Eramia retains the mount on Gantry, who will break from post position one.
Handsome Mike returns to a one-turn race for the first time since breaking his maiden in his second career start in the summer of 2011. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Handsome Mike finished seventh behind Game On Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) at 1¼ miles on March 2 in his most recent start.
Mario Gutierrez has the mount on Handsome Mike, who will break from post position six.
The field for the Commonwealth, from the rail out, is as follows: Gantry (Eramia), Candyman E (Joe Bravo), Bind (Joel Rosario), Big Blue Spirit (GB) (Julien Leparoux), Bernie the Maestro (Javier Castellano) and Handsome Mike (Gutierrez). All starters will carry 118 pounds.
PERFECT OFFICER FACES EIGHT RIVALS IN BID FOR SHAKERTOWN REPEAT
David A. Ross Racing Stable’s Perfect Officer, a nose winner in last year’s Shakertown Stakes (G3), will face eight rivals Saturday when he makes his 2013 debut in the 17th running of the $100,000 Shakertown at 5½ furlongs on the turf.
The Shakertown will go as the seventh race on Saturday’s 12-race program with a post time of 4:05 p.m. (ET).
Trained by Anthony Dutrow, Perfect Officer will attempt to join Soaring Free as the only repeat winner of the Shakertown. Soaring Free won the race in 2004 and 2005.
Unraced since finishing second in the Troy Stakes at Saratoga in August, Perfect Officer will be ridden Saturday by Javier Castellano and break from post position eight. Castellano was aboard for last year’s Shakertown victory.
Chief among Perfect Officer’s rivals are Vinery Stables’ Regally Ready and Silverton Hill’s Havelock.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Regally Ready also will be making his first start since the Troy Stakes in which he was fifth. A four-time grade stakes winner on the turf that includes victories in the 2011 Nearctic Stakes (G1) at Woodbine and the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs, Regally Ready will break from post position seven under Corey Nakatani.
Darrin Miller trains Havelock, winner of the Woodford Stakes (G3) here in the fall of 2011. Winner of the Play the King Stakes (G2) at Woodbine in 2011 and the 2012 Hanshin Cup Stakes (G3) at Arlington Park last year, Havelock will break from post position five and be ridden by Garrett Gomez.
The field for the Shakertown, from the inside out, is as follows: Something Extra (Julien Leparoux, 120 pounds), Hogy (Chris Emigh, 118), Berlino Di Tiger (BRZ) (Alan Garcia, 118), Canuletmedowneasy (Rosie Napravnik, 118), Havelock (Gomez, 118), Next Question (Joel Rosario, 120), Regally Ready (Nakatani, 118), Perfect Officer (Castellano, 118) and China (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., 120).
SIZABLE FIELD EXPECTED FOR SUNDAY’S BEAUMONT
The 28th running of the $150,000 Beaumont Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select (G2) on Sunday offers three-year-old fillies one last chance in Kentucky to accumulate points toward the 139th running of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
A total of 34 points are available with 20 points going to the winner of the sprint over the Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet.
According to Keeneland racing officials, fillies deemed probable to pass the entry box on Thursaday include Cash Is Queen, Ciao Bella Luna, Fearless Jacq (IRE), Finding More, Irish Presence, Judy In Disguise (GB), Lady Banks, Magical Moon, My Special J’s, Premier Steps (IRE) and Renee’s Titan.
QUOTES FROM TODD PLETCHER, CHAD BROWN ON TOYOTA BLUE GRASS DRAW
Todd Pletcher (trainer of Palace Malice, post position 5)
“We’re very happy with (post position 5). He has enough tactical speed to get in good position, and (jockey) Garrett (Gomez) can take it from there. He ran a much better race in the Louisiana Derby (G2) than the finish showed. We’re hoping for a smoother trip this time.”
Chad Brown (trainer of Balance the Books, post position 11)
“I’m disappointed with the post (11), but I can’t do anything about it. He could potentially still save some ground since there’s not a lot of speed in the race, but I’m not happy with it.”
TOYOTA BLUE GRASS WEEK SPECIAL EVENTS
Thursday, April 11 - 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
Tailgating on “The Hill.” Owing to its popularity, Keeneland will open “The Hill” for Friday tailgating fun. Located adjacent to the Keene Barn and Entertainment Center, The Hill features food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, and programs and general admission tickets available for purchase.
Maker’s Mark bottle signing will begin at 6:30 a.m. The 2013 commemorative bottle celebrates University of Kentucky basketball great Dan Issel. Proceeds from sales of the bottle will benefit UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart Institute. The Keeneland Gift Shop will host a Maker’s Mark Dipping Station on the first floor grandstand for fans to have special Keeneland and Maker’s Mark merchandise dipped from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday Pick 4 Presented by TVG. A $200,000-guaranteed pool will be offered on races 7-10.
Friday Happy Hour. Fans are encouraged to stick around after the final race to enjoy live music and simulcast wagering at Happy Hour in the Mezzanine Bar.
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 Stakes (G1). 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.