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Keeneland Sales and Racing Produce Favorites for Kentucky Derby in Zandon and Kentucky Oaks in Nest

May 2, 2022

Two horses who sold at Keeneland’s 2020 September Yearling Sale and won prestigious races during the recently concluded Spring Meet – Toyota Blue Grass (G1) winner Zandon and Central Bank Ashland (G1) winner Nest – are the respective morning-line favorites for 148th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday and the 148th running of the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Friday.

Entries for both races at Churchill Downs were taken today.

Keeneland sales have produced 23 Kentucky Derby winners, including four of the past six: champion Nyquist (2016), Always Dreaming (2017), undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify (2018) and Authentic (2020). Justify and Authentic both were named Horse of the Year.

Favored Zandon, at 3-1, and second choice Epicenter, at 7-2, lead the 12 graduates of Keeneland sales who are among the 22 3-year-olds entered in the 1¼-mile Kentucky Derby:

Barber Road (Race Day-Encounter) – Susan Forrester, who bred Barber Road with Judy Curry, consigned the colt as a weanling to the 2019 November Breeding Stock Sale, where he sold to Long Lick Bloodstock for $15,000. William Simon’s WSS Racing owns Barber Road, the Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up who is trained by John Ortiz. Reylu Gutierrez will ride.

Ethereal Road (Quality Road-Sustained) – Julie Gilbert and Aaron Sones own the Rebel (G2) runner-up, who was bred by Paul Pompa Jr. Lane’s End, agent, consigned Ethereal Road to the 2020 September Sale, where Wingardium Leviosa bought him for $90,000. Luis Contreras will ride the colt for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Epicenter (Not This Time-Silent Candy) – Owner Winchell Thoroughbreds of Joan Winchell and Ron Winchell bought the winner of the TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) and Risen Star (G2) Presented by Lamarque Ford for $260,000 at the 2020 September Yearling Sale. Bred by Westwind Farms, Epicenter was consigned by Bettersworth Westwind Farms. Joel Rosario will ride Epicenter for trainer Steve Asmussen. He is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.

Happy Jack (Oxbow-Tapitstry) – Breeder Calumet Farm owns the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) third-place finisher, who is trained by Doug O’Neill. Select Sales, agent, offered the colt as a weanling at the 2019 November Sale. Happy Jack will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.

Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo-Callingmissbrown) – Co-owner Donegal Racing purchased the winner of the Wood Memorial (G2) Presented by Resorts World Casino and Remsen (G2) for $250,000 at the 2020 September Sale. Mo Donegal was consigned by Ashview Farm, agent. Ashview bred the colt with Colts Neck Stable. Donegal races Mo Donegal with Mike Repole’s Repole Stable. The colt is trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Pioneer of Medina (Pioneerof the Nile-Lights of Medina) – Sumaya U.S. Stables races the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) third-place finisher, who is trained by Todd Pletcher. International Equities Holding bred Pioneer of Medina, who was offered by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, at the 2020 September Sale. He will be ridden by Joe Bravo.

Simplification (Not This Time-Simply Confection) – Tami Bobo owns the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Mucho Macho Man Stakes (L) winner, who is trained by Antonio Sano. Bred by France Weiner and Irwin Weiner, he was offered by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, as a weanling at the 2019 November Sale. Jose Ortiz will ride.

Smile Happy (Runhappy-Pleasant Smile) – Moreau Bloodstock Int’l bred Smile Happy in partnership with White Bloodstock and consigned the colt as a weanling to the 2019 November Sale, where he sold for $175,000 to Cooper Bloodstock. Michael J. Mackin’s Lucky Seven Stable owns Smile Happy, who won the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). Corey Lanerie will ride him for trainer Kenny McPeek.

Summer Is Tomorrow (Summer Front-Always Tomorrow) – Brereton C. Jones bred the UAE Derby (G2) Sponsored by Mubadala runner-up, who is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Jones/Airdrie Stud, agent, consigned him as a weanling to the 2019 November Sale, where he sold to Nicholas Malhouitre for Magna Carta Bloodstock for $25,000. Runnymede Farm, agent, offered Summer Is Tomorrow at the 2020 September Sale. Racing for Michael Hilary Burke and Negar Burke and trained by Bhupat Seemar, he will be ridden by Mickael Barzalona. 

Tawny Port (Pioneerof the Nile-Livi Makenzie) – Winner of Keeneland’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3), Tawny Port sold to John P. Fort of owner Peachtree Stable for $430,000 at the 2020 September Sale. WinStar Farm bred the colt, who was consigned by Machmer Hall Sales, agent. Ricardo Santana Jr. will ride for trainer Brad Cox.

Zandon (Upstart-Memories Prevail) – Jeff Drown owns Zandon, who won Keeneland’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1). Mike Ryan, agent, purchased the colt for $170,000 at the 2020 September Sale from breeder Brereton C. Jones and his Airdie Stud. Chad Brown trains Zandon, who will be ridden by Flavien Prat.

Also-eligible:

Rattle N Roll (Connect-Jazz Tune) – Bred by St. Simon Place, the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Select Sales, agent, consigned Rattle N Roll as a weanling to the 2019 November Sale, where he sold to Rexy Bloodstock for $55,000. Trainer Kenny McPeek purchased him for $210,000 at the 2020 September Sale from the consignment of Paramount Sales, agent. James Graham will ride the colt.

Sales graduates Nest, Kathleen O., champion Echo Zulu lead field for Kentucky Oaks

September Sale graduate and Central Bank Ashland (G1) winner Nest is the 5-2 morning-line favorite among the 15 3-year-old fillies entered today in the Kentucky Oaks. Other early favorites are additional sales graduates Kathleen O. and champion Echo Zulu.

Keeneland sales have produced the past five winners of the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks: champion Abel Tasman (2017), champion Monomoy Girl (2018), Serengeti Empress (2019), Shedaresthedevil (2020) and champion Malathaat (2021).

Nest is bidding to become the latest filly to win the Central Bank Ashland and the Kentucky Oaks. Fourteen fillies have won the two races, most recently Malathaat. A total of 35 fillies who have competed in the Central Bank Ashland have won the Oaks. Another recent notable is 2016 Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia, who was third in the Central Bank Ashland.

Keeneland sales alumni entered in the 2022 Kentucky Oaks are:

Candy Raid (Candy Ride [ARG]-Lady Samuri) – Don’t Tell My Wife Stables purchased Candy Raid, winner of the Bourbonette Oaks, for $35,000 at the 2020 September Sale and races her with trainer Keith Desormeaux. The filly was consigned by Denali Stud, agent for Stonestreet Bred & Raised. Rafael Bejarano will ride.

Cocktail Moments (Uncle Mo-River Maid) – Runner-up in the Central Bank Ashland, Cocktail Moments is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned her as a weanling to the 2019 November Sale, where she sold for $135,000 to Beryl Stokes Jr. Owner William Shively’s Dixiana Farms purchased Cocktail Moments for $190,000 from the consignment of Gainesway, agent, at the 2020 September Sale. Mark Stansell bred the filly, who will be ridden by Corey Lanerie for trainer Kenny McPeek.

Echo Zulu (Gun Runner-Letgomyecho) – Champion filly at 2, Echo Zulu sold to Winchell Thoroughbreds for $300,000 at the 2020 September Sale from the consignment of Betz Thoroughbreds. Winchell Thoroughbreds co-owns the filly, recent winner of the Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), with the L and N Racing of Lee Levinson, Andy Levinson, Michael Levinson and Don Nelson. Echo Zulu was bred by Betz, J. Betz, Burns, CHNNHK, Magers, CoCo Equine and Ramsby. Joel Rosario will ride the filly, who is the 4-1 third choice on the morning line, for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Hidden Connection (Connect-C J’s Gal) – Winner of the 2021 Pocahontas (G3) and second in the Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), the filly is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. St. Simon Place bred Hidden Connection, who was offered by Select Sales, agent, as a weanling at the 2019 November Sale. At the 2020 September Sale, Mike Pender purchased her for $40,000 from the consignment of Machmer Hall Sales, agent. Bret Calhoun trains the filly for James D. Hall’s Hidden Brook Farm and Jake Ballis’ Black Type Thoroughbreds. She will be ridden by Reylu Gutierrez.

Kathleen O. (Upstart-Quaver) – The undefeated winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), Davona Dale (G2) Presented by FanDuel and Cash Run Stakes was a weanling at the 2019 November Sale when she sold to Shooting Star Thoroughbreds for $8,000. Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds and Bridlewood Farm, she was consigned by Gainesway, agent. Shug McGaughey trains Kathleen O., who will be ridden by Javier Castellano. She is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.

Nest (Curlin-Marion Ravenwood) – Winner of Keeneland’s Central Bank Ashland (G1) along with the Demoiselle (G2) and Suncoast (L), Nest was consigned by Ashview Farm, agent, to the 2020 September Sale and sold for $350,000 to Aron Wellman’s Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Mike Repole’s Repole Stable. Ashview bred the filly with Colts Neck Stables. Eclipse and Repole own Nest with Michael House. Todd Pletcher trains Nest, who will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Turnerloose (Nyquist-Goaltending) – Bred by William Humphries and Altair Farms, the Rachel Alexandra (G2) winner is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. James B. Keogh, agent, offered her as a weanling at the 2019 November Sale. At the 2020 September Sale, owners Ike and Dawn Thrash purchased her for $50,000 from the consignment of Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent. She will be ridden by Manny Franco for trainer Brad Cox. 

Also-eligible:

Beguine (Gun Runner-Shananies Song) – Charles T. Matses bred and owns the Fantasy (G3) runner-up, who was offered by Sheltowee Sales, agent, at the 2020 September Sale. Danny Peitz trains Beguine, who will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.