Friday, October 10, 2008
Keeneland Barn Notes—Friday, October 10, 2008
TAGG LOOKS TO DOUBLE UP IN QE II
Trainer Barclay Tagg has one Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) in his pocket, and it has not taken him long to begin pursuit of a second.
On Saturday, he will send Lael Stables’ My Princess Jess postward in the 25th running of the $500,000 stakes at 1 1/8 miles on the turf in an attempt to become the fourth trainer to saddle back-to-back winners of the QE II. In 2007, Joyce Young and Gerald McManus’ Bit of Whimsy rallied from off the pace to run down champion Dreaming of Anna to win the QE II and give Tagg his second Keeneland stakes score.
“They are different types of horses, but they both like to come from off the pace and make one run,” Tagg said.
Eibar Coa, who has ridden My Princess Jess in her two most recent starts, has the assignment Saturday and will break from post position 11.
“I’m not thrilled about the post position, but it may keep her out of trouble,” Tagg said. “I am not sure about any distance limitations with her. If the race sets up well, she should be right there.”
Other trainers to win the QE II in consecutive years were Woody Stephens (Contredance in 1985 and Lotka in 1986), John Veitch (Graceful Darby in 1987 and Love You by Heart in 1988) and Joe Orseno (Perfect Sting in 1999 and Collect the Cash in 2000).
REYNOLDS MAKES KEENELAND DEBUT WITH BACKSEAT RHYTHM
Based year-round in New York, trainer Patrick Reynolds simply never has had a reason to race a horse at Keeneland until now with Paul P. Pompa Jr.’s Backseat Rhythm. Winner of the Garden City (G1) and Lake Placid (G2) in her two most recent races, the three-year-old daughter of El Corredor will become Reynolds’ first starter at Keeneland when she races in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Saturday.
“It was a natural progression,” Reynolds said about sending Backseat Rhythm to Keeneland. Reynolds added that the QE II was attractive because it is one of the season’s last turf races for three-year-old fillies and offers a lucrative purse.
“It’s pretty much against horses she’s run against and beat before,” Reynolds said. “But it’s not like we’re shooting tops; it’s a Grade 1, and they’ve all got a chance. I wouldn’t trade mine with anybody.”
Last year, Backseat Rhythm was third behind eventual champion Indian Blessing and Proud Spell in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). This year, she has three wins in seven starts, with her past five races coming on turf. Reynolds was particularly impressed with Backseat Rhythm’s performance in the Garden City on September 6 at Belmont Park.
“She had a tough race in the Garden City,” he said. “She had to make two moves: one to get in contention and the other one to go past the leaders. It was a real Grade 1 performance.”
Backseat Rhythm worked on Sunday at Belmont and arrived at Keeneland on Monday. Javier Castellano, who has ridden Backseat Rhythm in all but her first race, will again be aboard the filly in the QE II. Reynolds is relying on the rider’s judgment.
“Castellano just won a $2 million race the other day (the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine on October 4), and he’s won a bunch of races on her,” Reynolds said. “I never ran a horse at Keeneland, so I’ll leave it all up to him.”
Reynolds, who trained Big Brown in his first race before he was transferred to trainer Rick Dutrow, said the last time he was even in Kentucky was in 1980 when he was working at Churchill Downs and saw Genuine Risk win the Kentucky Derby (G1). He said he might have come to Keeneland for the races in April of that year.
“But we haven’t had a chance to perform here yet,” he said. “It looks like a great place, and we’re glad to be a part of it. Maybe this will become a habit.”
I’M SO LUCKY BRINGS GLOWING RESUME INTO PERRYVILLE
John Oxley’s I’m So Lucky has accomplished a lot in a short time. On Saturday afternoon, the three-year-old son of Langfuhr will try to add the title of stakes winner to his resume when he starts in the 10th running of the Perryville (G3) over the Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet.
Trained by John Ward, I’m So Lucky won his first three starts in 2008 by an average of more than five lengths before stepping into stakes company in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga in which he finished third behind Visionaire.
“(Jockey) Robby Albarado really likes him and he encouraged us to make that race, that he deserved a chance,” Ward said. “I think he passed that test in fine style.”
I’m So Lucky had only two starts as a two-year-old and his campaign ended abruptly after a third-place finish in a sprint at Keeneland last October.
“We detected a minor crack in a pastern that required rest,” Ward said. “He returned to the barn in mid-February.”
I’m So Lucky’s rise up the class ladder began with a maiden score here in late April, followed by allowance wins at Churchill Downs and Saratoga. Now he is back home where he regularly trains and has had three works since returning from Saratoga.
“The last third of the year, races for straight three-year-olds decline rapidly, hence the reason for the choice of this race,” Ward said of the Perryville in which I’m So Lucky will break from post position one. “He has trained well here and he is quite comfortable on the track.”
TOP TWO JPMORGAN CHASE JESSAMINE RUNNERS DOING WELL THE DAY AFTER
Golden Goose Enterprise and IEAH Stables’ Laragh, runaway winner of Thursday’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes, had a quiet morning at Barn 22 a day after her 4 ¾-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile turf contest.
The victory earned Laragh a spot in the starting gate for the $1 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to be run at Santa Anita on October 24.
“She looked good this morning,” trainer John Terranova said upon arrival back in New York. “It looks like she is ready to go to the Breeders’ Cup. I am going to talk it over the guys, but it looks like a good possibility.”
Laragh’s victory was the first stakes score at Keeneland for Terranova, who plans to leave Laragh at Keeneland for the time being.
“She will walk for a couple of days and then I am coming back on Monday,” Terranova said. “I think I am going to keep her there because Keeneland is a great place to train. We have her scheduled to fly out to California on the last plane out of Lexington on the 21st.”
Neal McLaughlin, assistant to and brother of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, said that Shadwell Stable’s runner-up Habaya came out of the race well but did not expect the daughter of Storm Cat to go on to the Breeders’ Cup.
“We will see what Sheikh Hamdan (bin Rashid Al Maktoum) decides,” McLaughlin said. “The Breeders’ Cup would be coming back a little quick. She ran a nice race yesterday and we think she is going to be a really nice filly.”
MAP OF THE WORLD GIVES STALL EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT
Trainer Al Stall Jr. turned 47 on Friday, but the native of New Orleans received his biggest present the day before when Map of the World debuted with a stylish victory in Keeneland’s sixth race.
“He is a nice colt and he had trained well,” Stall said about the son of Hennessy. “We were looking forward to getting him started and he delivered.”
Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Map of the World was a $500,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase. Under Robby Albarado, Map of the World covered the six furlongs in 1:10.38 to win by 1 ¼ lengths as the 3-1 favorite off an 8-1 morning line.
Stall said he would look for an allowance race at Churchill Downs or Fair Grounds as the next step for the Maryland-bred.
Map of the World gave Stall his second victory of the fall meet and ran his record to 8-2-4-1. One of those runners-up is Terrain, who chased Square Eddie home in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last Saturday.
“We are still riding the fence, but the fence is starting to wobble on us,” Stall said regarding a possible run at the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita on October 25. “We are going to have to decide soon because we have to put up $20,000 to pre-enter next Tuesday.”
Owned and bred by Adele Dilschneider, Terrain is a son of Sky Mesa out of the Forty Niner mare Minery.
“He is a gelding, and with him it is all about money,” Stall said. “If he was a colt, he would go to the (Breeders’ Cup) Juvenile for sure. He’s doing fine and he’ll go to either the Breeders’ Cup or the Delta Jackpot (a $750,000-guaranteed Grade 3 event December 5 at Delta Downs). The good thing about him is that he shows up wherever he runs.”
NOMINATIONS CLOSE FOR FOUR KEENELAND STAKES
Susan Moore and M and M Thoroughbred Partners’ Zaftig, winner of the Grade 1 Acorn in her most recent start, headlines a list of 35 three-year-old fillies nominated to the $300,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2), the centerpiece of a four-stakes package for the third weekend of the Keeneland fall meet.
Other stakes slated for next weekend are the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf on Friday, October 17; the $150,000 Sycamore (G3) for three-year-olds and up going 1 1/2 miles on the turf that shares the October 18 card with the Lexus Raven Run; and the $150,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager for fillies and mares three-years-old and up to be run Sunday, October 19 at 1 1/2 miles on the turf.
Among the other nominees to the seven-furlong Lexus Raven Run is Ron McCauley’s Golden Doc A, winner of the Grade 1 Las Virgenes this winter at Santa Anita and second in the Grade 2 Stonerside Beaumont in her lone Keeneland appearance.
Shadwell Stable’s Alwajeeha is the only Keeneland graded stakes winner nominated to the Pin Oak Valley View, but the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee is entered in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1). Forty-eight fillies were nominated to the Pin Oak Valley View, among them Zayat Stables’ Mushka, a turf allowance winner at 1 3/16 miles here on October 3 and winner of the Grade 2 Demoiselle last fall.
Defending champion Transduction Gold is one of 29 nominees to the Sycamore. His victory in last year’s renewal made John Glenney only the second person to breed, own and train a graded stakes winner at Keeneland, joining Donald McKellar, who turned the trick twice in taking the 1974 and 1976 runnings of the Alcibiades with Hope of Glory and Sans Supplement, respectively.
Among the 35 nominees to the Rood & Riddle Dowager is G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Communique. Trained by Rusty Arnold, Communique won the Grade 3 Bewitch here this spring at the Dowager distance and in her two most recent starts has run second in the Grade 1 Beverly D. and third in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl.
UPCOMING FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Saturday, October 11 – Breakfast With the Works – Take a behind-the-scenes look at racing’s stars during Breakfast With the Works, from 7-8:30 a.m. Enjoy a Southern-style breakfast and free children’s activities. This Saturday, the Thoroughbred Racing Foundation’s Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center at the Kentucky Horse Park will give a demonstration in the paddock at 8:45 a.m.
October 11-12 – Anna Morgan Ford Book Signing – Book signing by Anna Morgan Ford, author of Beyond the Track: Retraining the Thoroughbred from Racehorse to Riding Horse. Ford will sign books from 8:30-9:30 a.m. as part of Saturday’s Breakfast With the Works. Also on Saturday, and again on Sunday, Ford will sign books from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Keeneland Gift Shop.
Sunday, October 12 – WoodSongs Partners Day – Show your 2008 WoodSongs Partners card at any Keeneland passgate for free general admission for you and a guest. For information on becoming a WoodSongs Partner, visit http://www.woodsongs.com.
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