Saturday, April 25 2009

Keeneland Spring Meeting Produces Third-Highest Total Attendance

Lexington, KY (April 24, 2009) – Keeneland realized total attendance of 240,755 – the third-highest in track history – for its 2009 spring race meeting, held April 3-24.

Total attendance for the 15-day meet was off just 1.1 percent from last year’s total of 243,606 for the 16-day meeting. The Keeneland record of 244,145 was set during the 2006 spring meeting.

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Spice Route Scores Mild Upset In Fifth Third Elkhorn

Lexington, Ky. (April 24, 2009)—Spice Route (GB) won the $200,000, Grade 2 Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes Friday at Keeneland, upsetting heavily favored Champs Elysees (GB) and spoiling the 10-year-old debut of multi-millionaire Better Talk Now.

The 5-year-old son of King’s Best took the lead with an eighth of a mile remaining in the 1 1/2-mile turf race under Rene Douglas en route to a two-length victory. Time for the race on the firm turf was 2:29.23.

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Friday, April 24 2009

Keeneland Barn Notes—Friday, April 24, 2009


Trainer Graham Motion had to laugh when he told a story about Bushwood Stables LLC’s Better Talk Now.

“Somebody asked me yesterday if he’s retired,” Motion said, “and I said, ‘No, he’s running tomorrow.”

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Last to First, Winter View Wins Grey Goose Bewitch

Lexington, Ky. (April 23, 2009)—Winter View, who was still last with a quarter of a mile to go, closed with a flourish under jockey Julien Leparoux to win the $150,000, Grade 3 Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes Thursday at Keeneland.

The 5-year-old daughter of Thunder Gulch caught the leaders with a sixteenth of a mile remaining in the 1 ½-mile turf race and finished two lengths in front of Communique.

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Thursday, April 23 2009

Curlin and Zenyatta Among Seven Keeneland Sale Graduates Named 2008 Kentucky-Bred Champions

Lexington, KY (April 23, 2009) – Two-time North American Horse of the Year Curlin and champion older female Zenyatta are among seven Keeneland sale alumni named 2008 Kentucky-bred champions by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association.

Curlin was retired in 2008 following a career that encompassed 11 wins in 16 starts, including seven Grade 1 stakes, and North America record earnings of more than $10.5 million. He earned honors as Kentucky-bred Horse of the Year and champion handicap horse. Zenyatta, winner of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1), was named Kentucky-bred champion handicap mare.

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Keeneland Barn Notes—Thursday, April 23, 2009


Racing fans lamenting the early retirement of the stars of Thoroughbred racing are in for a real treat on Friday, closing day of Keeneland’s spring season. The ninth race is the $200,000 Fifth Third Elkhorn (G2), a 1½-mile turf stakes that brings together a collection of older runners with a long list of accomplishments. Among them is Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Champs Elysees (GB), a two-time Grade 1 winner on turf who is the 2-1 morning line favorite.

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Wednesday, April 22 2009

Keeneland Barn Notes—Wednesday, April 22, 2009


WinStar Farm LLC’s Hold Me Back, second in the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on April 11, is scheduled to leave Keeneland on Wednesday for Churchill Downs and prepare for his next start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). In the morning, the Giant’s Causeway colt galloped over Keeneland’s main track with trainer Bill Mott’s assistant Leana Willaford aboard.

Elliott Walden, WinStar’s vice president and racing manager, said Hold Me Back would work at Churchill either on Sunday or Monday. That is the same schedule for WinStar’s Coolmore Lexington (G2) winner, Advice, a son of Chapel Royal who is trained by Todd Pletcher. Advice also is set to leave Keeneland for Churchill on Tuesday for a possible run in the Derby.

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Tuesday, April 21 2009

Keeneland Barn Notes—Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Champs Elysees (GB), who is coming off a second-place finish to Einstein (BRZ) in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) on March 7, will make his Keeneland debut in the 24th running of the Fifth Third Elkhorn (G2) on Friday, closing day of the spring meeting. The 6-year-old, who will be ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr. for trainer Bobby Frankel, is the 124-pound highweight and will break from post 11 for the 1½ mile-turf race worth $200,000.

By Danehill, Champs Elysees is a full brother to champions Intercontinental (GB) and Banks Hill (GB) – just two of the accomplished members of his family. During her career, Intercontinental captured three Keeneland stakes: the Jenny Wiley (G3) in 2004 and 2005 and the WinStar Galaxy (G2) in 2005.

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Monday, April 20 2009

Parading Turns Ben Ali Into One-Horse Race

Lexington, Ky. (April 19, 2009)—Parading turned a highly competitive Ben Ali Stakes (G1) into a one-horse race Sunday at Keeneland, drawing away to a 7 ½-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile, $150,000 event for 4-year-olds and upward.

The 6-year-old son of Pulpit broke away from a three-horse battle for the lead midway down the backstretch, brought a substantial advantage into the stretch and then just drew away for his sixth career win.

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Keeneland Barn Notes—Sunday April 19, 2009


On Sunday around 7 a.m. as light rain fell, trainer Larry Jones on his pony, Pal, accompanied Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Friesan Fire and jockey Gabriel Saez to Keeneland’s main track for the colt’s final work at Keeneland before he heads to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). Jones galloped alongside Friesan Fire and Saez before turning the colt loose for his one-mile work, timed in 1:39.60.

As the colt was rounding the final turn, a huge plane at Blue Grass Airport across Versailles Road took off with a thunderous roar, distracting a few observers but apparently not bothering Friesan Fire. Clockers caught Friesan Fire’s eighth-mile splits in :13.52, :12.41, :12.44, :12.63, :12.50, :12.48, 11:91 and 12.00.

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Sunday, April 19 2009

Advice Enters Derby Picture with Coolmore Lexington Win

Lexington, Ky. (April 18, 2009)—Advice put himself in the Kentucky Derby (G1) picture Saturday at Keeneland with a come-from-behind victory in the $300,000, Grade 2 Lexington Stakes, the last major steppingstone to the Run for the Roses.

Still last with a half-mile remaining in the 1 1/16-mile race, he rallied between horses on the turn under Garrett Gomez and caught heavily favored Square Eddie in the final sixteenth for the one-length win. The final time on the fast Polytrack was 1:43.33.

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Keeneland Saturday Crowd Second-Largest in Track History

Lexington, KY (April 18, 2009) – A crowd of 33,680 – the second-largest in Keeneland history – turned out Saturday, April 18, for Coolmore Lexington Stakes (G2) Day.

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