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Nashville Sets Track Record to Open Championship Saturday of Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland

November 7, 2020

In the first race of Championship Saturday of the 37th Breeders’ Cup World Championships being held at Keeneland, CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm’s highly touted sprinter Nashville remained undefeated with a dominant 3½-length victory in the $125,000 Perryville while breaking the 6-furlong track record with a final time of 1:07.89. (Click here for a replay of the race.)

Nashville, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., led every step of the way in the Perryville for his third win. Following an opening quarter-mile clocking of :21.54, Santana and Nashville opened up 6 lengths on the field of 3-year-old sprinters around the far turn. Nashville cruised through the finish while in hand the entire journey.


Wild Wes, Little Menace, Bango, Fore Left, Cajun Brother and Relentless Dancer completed the running order.

Nashville, the overwhelming 1-5 favorite, returned $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10. Wild Wes, with Mitchell Murrill in the saddle, paid $8.60 and $5. Little Menace, with Tyler Gaffalione up, returned $4.60.

Keeneland’s previous 6-furlong track record was 1:08.43 set by A.P. Indian in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3) on Oct. 7, 2016.

A 3-year-old colt by Speightstown out of the Mizzen Mast mare Veronique, Nashville was purchased at Keeneland’s 2018 September Yearling Sale for $460,000.

Veronique, who is in foal to Collected, is cataloged as Hip 244D in Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale and scheduled to sell during the premier Book 1 on Monday’s opening day of the auction. Nashville’s weanling half-sister by Mastery also is cataloged to the sale as Hip 885.

The November Sale runs through Nov. 18.

In other supporting stakes Saturday prior to the Breeders’ Cup races:


Merneith Gets Up Late to Take Qatar Fort Springs


HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud’s Merneith got up in the final jump over Motivated Seller to win the $125,000 Qatar Fort Springs for her first stakes victory. (Click here for a replay of the race.)


Merneith is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and was ridden to victory by Luis Saez.

Ain’t No Elmers and Rising Seas battled on the lead in the 6-furlong affair through an opening quarter mile of :21.91. Merneith was in sixth early, about five lengths behind the dueling leaders. Saez tipped Merneith three wide around Motivated Seller and a fading Rising Seas in midstretch to get up in the final strides.

Merneith returned $11.20, $6.00 and $4.60. Motivated Seller, with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, paid $5 and $3.40. Longshot Rising Seas, with Gerardo Corrales up, paid $12. 

Fair Maiden, Wicked Whisper, Ain’t No Elmers, Anna’s Fast, Miss T Too and Boerne completed the order of finish.

Merneith, a 3-year-old filly by American Pharoah out of the Flatter mare Flattermewithroses, earned $75,000 for the win and improved her record to 8-3-3-1. She completed 6 furlongs in 1:09.35.  


Sleepy Eyes Todd Charges from Last to Win Lafayette Presented by Keeneland Select

Thumbs Up Racing’s Sleepy Eyes Todd closed from last to win the 73rd running of the $150,000 Lafayette Presented by Keeneland Select.

Trained by Miguel Silva and ridden by Joel Rosario, Sleepy Eyes Todd was relegated to last by Rosario but rallied in late stretch to record a 1½-length victory from True Timber. He completed 
7 furlongs in 1:21.77.

Finishing third was Edgemont Road, who was followed in order by Ebben, Engage, Phat Man, Everfast, Midnight Sands and Mind Control.

The Lafayette victory was worth $90,000 and increased Sleepy Eyes Todd’s career earnings to $687,165 with a record of 14-7-2-0. His wins include the Aug. 28 Charles Town Classic (G2).

Sleepy Eyes Todd is a 4-year-old gelded son of Paddy O’Prado out of the Wild Rush mare Pledge Mom. He sold as a weanling at Keeneland’s 2016 November Breeding Stock Sale for $9,000.

For his Lafayette win, Sleepy Eyes Todd returned mutuel payouts of $10, $6.80 and $5.20. True Timber, under Jose Lezcano, returned $12 and $6.60. Edgemont Road, ridden by Declan Cannon, paid $8.80. 

Content by Kevin Kerstein.j