HORSE OF THE YEAR WISE DAN WORKS
Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who won the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) here on April 12 in his 2013 debut, worked five furlongs in :59.60 on Wednesday. The time was the fastest of the 14 workers at the distance.
“I just wanted to work him one time and see how he worked and how his fitness level was,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said about the six-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding, who is based at Keeneland. “He worked really good today.”
Wise Dan was ridden by exercise rider Damien Rock. Clockers caught the gelding in fractions of :11.60, :22.40, :34.20, :46.40, :59.60, galloping out in 1:13.20 and 1:27.60.
LoPresti said he would talk to Wise Dan’s breeder and owner, Mort Fink, to determine future plans for the Horse of the Year and for his year-older half-brother, Successful Dan, who returned to competition on Sunday with a one-length victory in the Ben Ali Stakes (G3). The race marked Successful Dan’s first start since June 30.
“We really haven’t made a plan yet, but I’m going to talk to (Fink) this morning and see how (Wise Dan) comes out of this,” LoPresti said. “Successful Dan will go back to the track tomorrow, and we’ll try to figure out what we’re doing.
“At this point, we’re trying to just enjoy the races we’ve won.”
MAKER BREAKS SPRING MEET TRAINER RECORD
With a win in the first race on Wednesday with Bernie the Maestro, Mike Maker earned his 17th victory, a record number of wins by a trainer during the spring meeting. The previous record of 16 wins was held by Todd Pletcher.
Bernie the Maestro is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who won their record 18th race this spring. The win also marked the 27th victory this meet for jockey Joel Rosario, who is just five wins shy of Randy Romero’s spring meet record 32 wins.
GATHERING STEPS UP IN BEWITCH
An impressive victory in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race on the Keeneland turf course on April 6 propelled Gathering into Thursday’s Bewitch Stakes (G3) for owner George Strawbridge Jr.’s Augustin Stable and trainer Jonathan Sheppard. The performance came in the North American debut for the four-year-old Street Cry (IRE) filly, who reared at the start under Rosie Napravnik and still won by 3¼ lengths.
“She won nicely enough in her first start and we were looking around for another spot,” said Sheppard about racing Gathering in the 1 1/2-mile Bewitch, which he won in 2009 with Augustin’s Winter View. “Quite frankly, my only concern is the distance. I think she could probably get that long a distance if she was amenable to rating.
“That last race maybe made her look her a little better than she possibly might be. She did relax because she broke behind the field, but I doubt that will happen every time. If she breaks out with the leaders, she might be too keen and use herself up. A lot will depend on how amenable she is to rating and having Rosie Napravnik settle her off the pace.”
Gathering, who made the first six starts of her career in England, where she was group-placed, represents an accomplished family for Strawbridge. Her dam, Seebe, by Danzig, was a Grade 3 winner trained by Sheppard and a Group 1-placed runner in England. Seebe is a half-sister to Strawbridge’s Group 1 winner and English highweight Selkirk.
In the Bewitch, Gathering and Napravnik are the 3-1 morning-line favorite and will break from post five in the field of 12.
LEADING SIRE STORM CAT LEAVES LASTING LEGACY AT KEENELAND
Leading sire Storm Cat, who was euthanized today at age 30 at the Young family’s Overbrook Farm near Lexington, was a major influence at Keeneland’s yearling and breeding stock sales for much of his 20 years at stud.
The son of Storm Bird ranked as leading sire (average three or more sold) eight times each at the September Yearling Sale (1998, 2000, 2001, 2003-2005 and 2008-2009) and November Breeding Stock Sale (covering sire) (1996, 1998-2000, 2002-2003 and 2005-2006). He led the July Selected Yearling Sale sire list (average three or more sold) four times (1997, 1999 and 2001-2002) and November Sale weanling sire list (average three or more sold) six times (1995-1997, 1999, 2000 and 2003).
“Storm Cat was one of the most influential horses of his generation,” said Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell. “He left an indelible imprint on Keeneland’s sale history. Our condolences go out to the Overbrook Farm family.”
Storm Cat sired two of the top 10 highest-priced horses sold at Keeneland: Jalil, who brought $9.7 million at the 2005 September Sale, and Emirates Flyer, sold for $8.2 million at the 2006 September Sale. Both yearlings were purchased by John Ferguson.
CLOSING WEEK SPECIAL EVENTS
Thursday, April 25
TVG Hat Giveaway. The first 1,000 patrons with paid admissions through the gates will receive a voucher for a free TVG hat.
Friday, April 26
Concert on the Lawn. Join us on the Clubhouse Lawn immediately following the day’s races for a free concert by Changes In Latitudes, a premier Jimmy Buffett tribute band, hosted by the Markey Cancer Foundation Legacy Council.
KEENELAND 2013 SPRING MEET LEADERS
(Stats Through Sunday, April 21)
Current Meet Leading Jockeys
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Joel Rosario 83 26 12 8 $984,004
Julien Leparoux 77 15 12 10 $1,480,433
Rosie Napravnik 64 9 13 11 $545,100
Alan Garcia 38 9 3 2 $442,704
Edgar Prado 28 7 3 3 $362,300
Javier Castellano 26 6 3 3 $344,056
Shaun Bridgmohan 52 5 6 8 $282,004
Jesus Castanon 32 4 4 3 $144,998
Corey Lanerie 68 3 12 12 $277,641
Robby Albarado 29 3 4 2 $141,056
Joseph Rocco Jr. 37 3 3 3 $200,427
Roberto Morales 27 3 2 1 $ 77,438
Gary Stevens 23 3 1 2 $124,733
Current Meet Leading Trainers
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Michael Maker 59 16 9 4 $483,275
Wesley Ward 34 8 6 3 $287,023
H. Graham Motion 25 6 4 3 $398,086
Ken McPeek 34 6 4 2 $679,080
Mark Casse 30 5 2 1 $209,807
Shug McGaughey 14 4 3 2 $275,454
Todd Pletcher 9 4 1 2 $484,948
Jonathan Sheppard 10 4 1 0 $141,416
Wayne Catalano 20 3 2 5 $122,642
George Arnold II 20 3 1 2 $313,592
Eddie Kenneally 10 3 1 1 $ 97,445
Charlie LoPresti 13 3 1 0 $330,241
Current Meet Leading Owners
Ken and Sarah Ramsey 17
Augustin Stable (George Strawbridge Jr.) 6
Gary Barber* 3
Phipps Stable (O.M. Phipps, et al) 3
Team Valor International (Barry Irwin) 3
Alto Racing (Gil Moutray) 2
Mort Fink 2
G. Watts Humphrey Jr. 2
Ice Wine Stable (David Reid) 2
Magdalena Racing (Susan McPeek, et al) 2