• HOLLENDORFER’S LEXUS RAVEN RUN DUO GETS FEEL FOR KEENELAND TRACK
• AGELESS MUSKETIER RETURNS TO KEENELAND
• FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
• KEENELAND 2012 FALL MEET LEADERS
King 9 Stables, Gatewood Bell, Bret Jones and trainer Wesley Ward’s Gypsy Robin, front-running winner of this spring’s Beaumont (G2) here, headlines a field of 14 3-year-old fillies entered Wednesday morning for Saturday’s 14th running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) going seven furlongs on the main track.
The Lexus Raven Run is carded as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:27 p.m. (ET) post time. First post time is 1:05 p.m.
Undefeated in two starts over the Keeneland surface, Gypsy Robin enters the Lexus Raven Run off a runner-up finish to Contested in the Grade 1 Test on August 25 at Saratoga. John Velazquez has the mount Saturday on Gypsy Robin, who will break from post position 11.
Five other graded stakes winners are in the field for the Lexus Raven Run, which was won last year by Great Hot (BRZ).
Topping the quintet is Killer Graces, winner of the Hollywood Starlet (G1) in December. Owned in partnership by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Daniel Borislow, Gillian Campbell and Steve Melen, Killer Graces will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and break from post position six.
Hollendorfer also will send out Steve Beneto’s Via Villaggio, winner of the seven-furlong Railbird Stakes (G3) in May at Hollywood Park. Martin Pedroza will ride Saturday and exit post position 10 with Via Villaggio.
Also in the field are Salvador Hernandez’s homebred La Tia, Barry King’s Flashy Lassie and Peachtree Stable’s Sacristy.
Trained by Brian Williamson, La Tia won the Arlington Park Oaks (G3) in July and most recently the La Lorgnette on September 23 at Woodbine. Jesus Castanon has the mount on La Tia, who will break from post position three.
Flashy Lassie, trained by Garry Simms, won the Debutante (G3) as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs. Corey Lanerie has the mount on Flashy Lassie, who will break from post position nine.
Sacristy, trained by Wayne Catalano, won the Old Hat (G3) at Gulfstream Park in January and was second in the Beaumont to Gypsy Robin. Miguel Mena has the mount on Sacristy, who will break from post position 14.
The field for the Lexus Raven Run, from the rail out, is as follows: Sweet Cat (Julien Leparoux, 118 pounds), Assateague (Joe Rocco Jr., 118), La Tia (Jesus Castanon, 120), Lotta Lovin (Rosie Napravnik, 118), Yankee Union (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Killer Graces (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118), Anna Sophia (Victor Lebron, 118), Drama Drama (Jon Court, 118), Flashy Lassie (Corey Lanerie, 118), Via Villaggio (Martin Pedroza, 118), Gypsy Robin (John Velazquez, 120), Monono (Leandro Goncalves, 118), Mercy Lou (Carlos Villasana, 118) and Sacristy (Miguel Mena, 118).
HOLLENDORFER’S LEXUS RAVEN RUN DUO GETS FEEL FOR KEENELAND TRACK
It almost was like old home week Tuesday afternoon when Via Villaggio stepped off a van at Keeneland with Christina Jelm waiting to take the 3-year-old filly into her home for the week in Barn 36.
“She’s a good traveler,” Jelm said of Via Villaggio, who was making her third trip to the Eastern Time Zone from her Southern California base with Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “She’s bright and alert and loves to get outside. When she got here, she knew where the racetrack was.”
Jelm, who lives in Midway, oversees Hollendorfer’s horses when they ship East. She took care of Via Villaggio’s preparations for the Delaware Oaks (G2) in July and then the next month when the Bernardini filly shipped to Saratoga for the Alabama (G1).
“It looks like she traveled just as she has before,” said Jelm after Via Villaggio jogged one time around the main track and then spent some time in the Paddock. “I think she is going to run well here.”
The target for Via Villaggio, who is owned by Steve Beneto, is Saturday’s 14th running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) at seven furlongs on the main track for 3-year-old fillies.
Via Villaggio enters the Lexus Raven Run off a fourth-place finish against older fillies and mares in the Zenyatta (G1) at Santa Anita on September 29.
“I think Jerry chose this race because it is one of the last races of the year for 3-year-olds and the distance,” Jelm said. “She won a graded stake earlier this year (the Grade 3 Railbird at Hollywood Park) going seven-eighths.”
Martin Pedroza, who was aboard for the Railbird victory as well as her rider in the Zenyatta at 1 1/16 miles, will have the mount Saturday. Pedroza has one Keeneland stakes victory in his career, the 1991 Beaumont (G3) aboard Ifyoucouldseemenow.
“I think the Zenyatta was one of her better races,” Jelm said of Via Villaggio, who has faced the likes of Grace Hall, In Lingerie and Questing this year. “Martin knows her and he put her right in the race.”
After Via Villaggio had her morning exercise, a second Hollendorfer runner for the Lexus Raven Run, Killer Graces followed a similar routine.
“This is the first time she has shipped from Southern California,” Jelm said of the three-time stakes winner whose most recent victory came in the Hollywood Starlet (G1) in December. “She handled the trip well and ate up everything last night.”
Shaun Bridgmohan is scheduled to ride Killer Graces in the Lexus Raven Run. Owned by Hollendorfer in partnership with Daniel Borislow, Gillian Campbell and Steve Melen, the Congaree filly finished fourth in the 6½-furlong Unzip Me at Santa Anita on September 29 in her most recent start that marked her first sprint race of 2012.
AGELESS MUSKETIER RETURNS TO KEENELAND
Somebody earlier this year called Stella Perdomo’s Musketier (GER) the “10-year-old 2-year-old,” and Sue Lorimar, assistant to Woodbine-based trainer Roger Attfield, couldn’t agree more. With Lorimar aboard in the mornings, Musketier likes to kick up his heels when he begins his gallops, showing the enthusiasm and playfulness of a much younger horse. He kicks so high that she feels his tail hit her.
On Thursday, Musketier will make his seventh and perhaps final appearance at Keeneland in the $100,000 Sycamore (G3) at 1½ miles on the turf. The race will mark the 50th start for the popular gray horse, who has won 11 races and earned $1,129,027 in his career. Last year, he won the Sovereign Award as the champion turf male in Canada.
Musketier’s six stakes victories include Keeneland’s Grade 2 Elkhorn in 2010 and 2011. He was third in the 2010 Sycamore behind Brass Hat.
“He likes to travel, and he does like Keeneland,” Lorimar said about Musketier, who has raced at nine tracks in five states and Ontario. “A lot of horses really like Keeneland. It’s a little more laid back, a more country atmosphere. When they look out, they see green instead of cars and highways.”
Musketier began his career in France in 2004 and won a Group 3 race. He made his North American debut in November 2007, running third in the Red Smith (G3) at Aqueduct. Injured in that race, he was sidelined until February 2009 when he returned to competition in an allowance at Gulfstream Park. Lorimar, who has worked for Attfield for 10 years, began galloping Musketier in Florida before his comeback.
Musketier’s longevity likely can be attributed to Attfield’s care and handling of veteran runners, something for which he is known.
“He takes care of them. He pays attention to them,” Lorimar said about Attfield, who was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame this year. “When they need a break they get a break.”
Another factor in Musketier’s success might be “Teddy,” the stuffed horse that hangs at the back of his stall. The initial version of Teddy was a stuffed Teddy bear the Attfield crew introduced to Musketier in an attempt to calm the horse, who seemed to be claustrophobic. The stuffed animal did the trick.
John Velazquez, who also was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, will ride Musketier in the Sycamore and break from post six in the field of seven. Velazquez rode Musketier in his two previous Keeneland stakes wins.
FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Thursday, October 18
Jockey Autograph Signing: Meet retired and current jockeys from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for an autograph signing adjacent to the Paddock. Jockeys will autograph a 2012 fall meet jockey colony photo for $10, a 2012 fall meet poster for $10 or a Keeneland logo hat for $15. Proceeds benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Friday, October 19
See Blue Day. Kick off the University of Kentucky’s football homecoming weekend at Keeneland. Free general admission for UK students, alumni and faculty; activities for all Wildcat fans! Enjoy fan fun on the North Terrace from noon-3 p.m. with special UK alumni autograph signings featuring Denver Bronco Jacob Tamme, UK cheerleaders and more.
KEENELAND 2012 FALL MEET LEADERS
(Stats Through Sunday, October 14)
Current Meet Leading Jockeys
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Julien Leparoux 51 10 7 4 $592,036
Corey Lanerie 43 6 3 7 $265,449
Shaun Bridgmohan 34 6 2 6 $273,827
Javier Castellano 17 5 1 1 $472,215
Jon Court 36 4 3 3 $147,564
Julio Garcia 9 4 3 0 $116,070
Rosie Napravnik 32 3 6 2 $170,361
John Velazquez 22 3 3 2 $440,427
Macelino Pedroza Jr. 20 3 3 2 $102,494
Brian Hernandez Jr. 32 3 2 1 $ 93,394
Victor Lebron 25 3 1 0 $ 76,619
Current Meet Leading Trainers
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Michael Maker 30 6 6 2 $352,957
Todd Pletcher 28 6 1 1 $622,442
Wesley Ward 19 5 5 1 $146,305
Wayne Catalano 24 4 1 3 $157,876
Bill Mott 11 3 1 1 $138,912
H. Graham Motion 15 2 2 2 $115,053
Shug McGaughey 7 2 1 1 $132,323
Mark Casse 3 2 1 0 $350,000
Charles Lopresti 6 2 0 1 $473,527
Dale Romans 19 2 0 0 $321,226
Eduardo Caramori 6 2 0 0 $ 45,054
Chad Brown 5 2 0 0 $352,260
Tim Richardson 4 2 0 0 $ 39,420
Philip Oliver 3 2 0 0 $ 68,567