Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s undefeated Charitable Man completed his major work for Saturday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) by working five furlongs in :59.60 under exercise rider Pat Correa.
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee picked up some unexpected company at the head of the lane with another worker and finished his final quarter mile in :23.60, according to Keeneland clockers, who had Charitable Man galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.40.
Charitable Man, who has not started since winning the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park last September because of a saucer fracture of a shin, will be ridden Saturday by Alan Garcia. Garcia has been aboard for Charitable Man’s two victories.
HOLD ME BACK WORKS IN PREPARATION FOR TOYOTA BLUE GRASS
WinStar Farm’s Lane’s End (G2) winner, Hold Me Back, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, worked five furlongs Sunday morning, six days before his scheduled next start in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1).
Working in company with Emma’s Posse, ridden by Scotty Leleux, Hold Me Back drew away easily from his stablemate and was timed in 1:00.40.
“It was good, a nice, easy move,” said trainer Bill Mott. “He went in a minute and change, and did it very easily.”
Hold Me Back’s work also pleased Elliott Walden, WinStar’s vice president and racing manager, who watched the work with Doug Cauthen, the farm’s president and CEO. Walden said the prestige of the Toyota Blue Grass was one factor that helped the WinStar team decide to run Hold Me Back in the race.
“We’ve always wanted to win it, and we felt like we had a very good chance,” Walden said.
Walden’s opinion is backed with experience. The former trainer is the fourth-leading trainer in Keeneland history by stakes wins with 22, recorded from 1991-2004. In 1999, Walden won the Toyota Blue Grass with Menifee.
Hold Me Back is on the verge of becoming only the second Toyota Blue Grass starter for Mott, who won the race in 1984 with Taylor’s Special. Mott has won a total of 30 stakes at Keeneland, most recently with Stormalory in the Central Bank Transylvania (G3) on Friday’s opening-day card.
PATENA SCHEDULED TO WORK MONDAY MORNING
Patena, looking to rebound from an eighth-place finish in the mud in the March 14 Louisiana Derby (G2), is scheduled to work five furlongs on Monday morning for trainer Rick Dutrow.
“We will probably go out around daybreak,” Dutrow said, adding that jockey Robby Albarado, who has been aboard Patena for his two 2009 starts, may handle the Monday work.
Patena galloped Sunday morning.
Owned by IEAH Stables, John Sikura, et al, Joseph Bulger and James Covello, Patena has won two of six career starts scoring a victory on Polytrack in the Display last December at Woodbine. In that victory, Patena defeated Hooh Why, winner of Saturday’s Ashland (G1).
MAFAAZ SETTLES IN AT QUARANTINE BARN
Hamdan al Maktoum’s Mafaaz (GB) arrived at the Keeneland quarantine barn Saturday afternoon after an uneventful flight from Great Britain.
“He shipped well,” said Les Reynolds, head traveling lad for trainer John Gosden. “Hopefully, he will clear quarantine tomorrow morning and can go out for a little trot on the training track.”
After clearing quarantine, Mafaaz will be housed in Barn 1.
Mafaaz has won two of three career starts and earned a guaranteed spot in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) by winning the Kentucky Derby Challenge on Polytrack at Kempton Park on March 18.
In other Toyota Blue Grass Stakes news:
Silverton Hill LLC’s Cliffy’s Future galloped a mile and a half under trainer Darrin Miller. Miller, who saddled Dominican to win the 2007 Toyota Blue Grass for Silverton Hill, plans to work Cliffy’s Future on Wednesday.
Adele Dilschneider’s Terrain walked the shedrow at Barn 66 a day after working five furlongs in 1:01. The Al Stall Jr. trainee is scheduled to return to the track to jog Monday morning.
Frankfurt Stable’s Massone, trained by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally, worked a mile at Santa Anita in 1:38.40 on Sunday morning. Massone, runner-up to Chocolate Candy in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) in his most recent start, will be stabled in Barn 22, Stall 27 when he ships to Keeneland.
Samotowka Stable LLC, Delfiner Partners, George Krall and Magdalena Racing’s Theregoesjojo, third in his most recent start in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 28, galloped Sunday morning for trainer Ken McPeek.
DEFENDING CHAMPION VENTURA FACES SIX RIVALS IN THURSDAY’S VINERY MADISON
Juddmonte Farms’ Ventura will face six rivals Thursday as she attempts to become the first two-time winner of the $300,000 Vinery Madison Stakes.
Elevated to Grade 1 status this year, the Vinery Madison will be contested at seven furlongs over the main track.
Garrett Gomez, who has ridden Ventura to five of her eight career victories, will have the mount Thursday and break from post position four. Ventura will concede two to six pounds to her rivals in the eighth running of the Vinery Madison.
Trained by Bobby Frankel, Ventura has won her past three starts on Polytrack, highlighted by a four-length romp in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.
Chief among Ventura’s rivals are Augustin Stable’s Informed Decision and Cloverleaf Farm II Inc.’s Bsharpsonata.
Informed Decision, who will break from the rail under John Velazquez, will be making her first start since winning the Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run here last fall. Bsharpsonata, who will break from post position seven, is a two-time graded stakes winner who ran second in last year’s Ashland Stakes (G1).
The field for the Vinery Madison, from the rail out, is as follows: Informed Decision (J. Velazquez, 121 pounds), Proud Heiress (J. Felix, 117), Dubai Majesty (K. Desormeaux, 117), Ventura (G. Gomez, 123), Authenicat (R. Albarado, 117), Bear Now (J. Theriot, 117) and Bsharpsonata (E. Coa, 117).
HOFFMAN WEIGHS OPTIONS WITH UPSET ASHLAND WINNER HOOH WHY
The plan, according to co-owner Mark Hoffman, was to point Hooh Why to the American 1,000 Guineas at Arlington Park on May 23 and then hopefully get an invitation to the $700,000 American Oaks (G1) on July 5 at Hollywood Park.
The plan changed Saturday when Hooh Why hung on for a neck victory in the $400,000 Ashland Stakes (G1) over Gozzip Girl, with champion Stardom Bound another 2 ¾ lengths back in third.
“I wasn’t even thinking about the (Kentucky) Oaks,” said Hoffman, who owns Hooh Why with Gail Gee’s Derby Daze Farms. “But now I know I am going to get questions about it. I have to decide whether I want to turn her over to Wayne Catalano or I might ship her to Churchill Downs. I don’t know yet.”
Hoffman is not worried about the filly’s ability to handle the dirt.
“Her one dirt race on her form is misleading,” Hoffman said. “We were only in Florida nine days and in that race, she missed the break and fell like 10 lengths off the lead. She didn’t like having all the dirt kicked back in her face and turning for home, she cut the corner and came running when she was clear.”
Another factor in a decision on the Oaks will be the performance of Rachel Alexandra in the Fantasy (G2) at Oaklawn Park today.
“I want to see what Rachel Alexandra does,” said Hoffman, adding with a laugh, “we’re tough on the Polytrack and she’s tough on the dirt. Maybe we can challenge her to race on the turf where neither of us have been!”
In other Ashland news:
Runner-up Gozzip Girl was scheduled to leave for New York and trainer Tom Albertrani’s base at Belmont Park on Monday.
Trainer Rick Dutrow reported that Stardom Bound, who had her five-race Grade 1 win streak snapped, was doing well the morning after. “She looks good and ate up last night,” said Dutrow, who added that no decision had been made on the filly’s next race.
Tristan Barry, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, said Boleyn was fine the morning after she finished sixth in the Ashland. He said Pletcher and owner John Fort of Peachtree Stable would determine the next race for the Grade 2-placed filly by Proud Citizen.
Jordan Blair, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek, said that seventh-place finisher Dream Empress came out of the race in good order.
Third Dawn, who finished eighth, will be heading back to California this week according to trainer John Sadler. “She’s OK this morning,” Sadler said. “I noticed a little pimple on her epiglottis, but it is nothing major.”
PARKERS TAKE IN ASHLAND EXPERIENCE
Even though trainer Joe Parker and his wife, Betsy, were disappointed that their previously undefeated filly, What a Pear, ran ninth in Saturday’s Ashland (G1), they said they were excited to be a part of a day when Keeneland drew 30,550 fans. The figure represented the fifth-largest crowd in track history.
“It was so amazing to see all those people,” said Betsy Parker while standing outside Barn 3, where What a Pear grabbed at the hay net at her stall door.
Joe Parker said jockey Channing Hill told him after the Ashland that What a Pear, who races for Ira and Bernice Cohen’s Tri-Bone Stables, did not care for the Polytrack in her first trip over the surface. The trainer wondered if the filly might have fared better if she had taken the early lead. What a Pear, a New York-bred daughter of E Dubai, raced in third place behind eventual winner Hooh Why, the front-runner, and Be Fair, then she faded as the horses turned for home.
“I don’t like to make excuses,” Joe Parker said. “You know in this game, there are ups and downs. If you start making excuses, you’re never right. The horses have to run their races.”
The Parkers said they would remain at Keeneland until the next move with What a Pear is determined. Joe Parker has so enjoyed his stay in Lexington that he is considering relocating his operation from New York to Kentucky. He said the Ashland would not be the last Keeneland race in which he would compete.
“I know you’re gonna see me again here with another horse,” he said.
Two Kiaran McLaughlin trainees put in final works Sunday morning for graded stakes appearances on Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes card.
Paul Pompa Jr.’s Backseat Rhythm worked a half-mile in :48 as a prelude to the $200,000 Jenny Wiley (G2) and Vision Racing LLC’s Keep Laughing, winner of last spring’s Lafayette Stakes, worked five furlongs in 1:00 in preparation for the $250,000 Commonwealth (G2).
KEENELAND APRIL TWO-YEAR-OLDS
IN TRAINING SALE TO BE HELD APRIL 6-7
Keeneland has cataloged 216 juveniles for the 2009 April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, which will span two evening sessions on Monday and Tuesday, April 6-7. Sessions begin at 7 p.m. ET each night.
Last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and champion 3-year-old colt, Big Brown, is a graduate of the 2007 April Sale. The Boundary colt, an earner of more than $3.6 million in his career, was purchased for $190,000 by Hidden Brook, agent for Paul Pompa Jr. He was consigned by Eddie Woods, agent.
The entire sale will be streamed live at Keeneland.com and broadcast live by HRTV, beginning at 7 p.m. nightly.
Replays of Preview Show works are available on Keeneland.com and in the Keeneland sales pavilion TV viewing room.
SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Wednesday, April 8 - Keeneland Handicapping Contest Presented by Formulator Web - Place a mythical $2 win and place wager on Keeneland races 3-9. Entry fee is $10 with a guaranteed $2,500 pool. Limit three entries per person. First 200 participants receive a free Daily Racing Form.
Wednesday, April 8 - Wednesday, April 15 - Budweiser Clydesdale Sweepstakes - Register to win a personalized photo session with the Budweiser Clydesdales at Keeneland, along with lunch for four in Keeneland’s Equestrian Room and a trip to St. Louis to tour Anheuser-Busch.
Friday, April 10 - Maker’s Mark Bottle Signing - With University of Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks. The Maker’s Mark/Keeneland commemorative bottle series supports projects at the University of Kentucky. Signing begins at 6:30 a.m. Limit two bottles per person.
Friday, April 10- University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s Music of the Horse Concert - Held in the Keeneland walking ring at 11:30 a.m. Proceeds from CD sales benefit the UK Symphony Orchestra and the Keeneland Foundation’s charitable giving program.
Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11— Book Signing Keeneland’s Ted Bassett, My Life - Former Keeneland president, chairman of the board and trustee James E. “Ted” Bassett III will sign copies of his new autobiography, Keeneland’s Ted Bassett, My Life, outside the gift shop from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.