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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Keeneland Barn Notes—Saturday, April 18, 2009


Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm’s Friesan Fire is scheduled to work a mile at Keeneland on Sunday with jockey Gabriel Saez aboard.

“This will kind of be like his scrimmage for the Derby,” trainer Larry Jones said of the work that is scheduled for 7 a.m.

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Friday, April 17 2009

Indescribable, Desormeaux Team To Win Doubledogdare

Lexington, Ky. (April 17, 2009)—Indescribable returned from a five-month layoff to win the $100,000, Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes Friday at Keeneland.

The 5-year-old daughter of Pleasant Tap took the lead from pacesetter Awesome Ashey with a quarter of a mile remaining and gradually pulled away to a 2 ¼-length victory.

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Keeneland Barn Notes—Friday, April 17, 2009


West Point Thoroughbreds’ Justwhistledixie tuned up for an expected run in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (G1) by working five furlongs in 1:00 in company with stablemate Fitz Just Right on Friday morning at Keeneland.

“She was doing so good that we gave her an easy half-mile in :50 last week,” said Neal McLaughlin, assistant to his brother, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “Today we gave her company and she did it in hand. I just didn’t want her to do anything crazy like :45 (for a half).”

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Keeneland Receives Accreditation Following Review by NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Inspection

At a press conference today at Keeneland, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced that the Lexington, Ky., racetrack has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Keeneland is the second track to be so designated by the Alliance. Churchill Downs was accredited last week.

The accreditation of Keeneland was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application. Keeneland then hosted several meetings with Alliance officials and met twice with the Alliance’s independent monitor, former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy Thompson. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, regulators and customers. It was led by Ronald Jensen, DVM; racing regulator Frank Lamb; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. Portions of the review were also observed by Thompson.

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