Friday, October 09, 2009

Keeneland Barn Notes—Friday, October 9, 2009


Trainer Todd Pletcher’s track record in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) has been stellar over the past five years with two victories and two runner-up finishes. On Sunday, he may improve on that record when he sends Wertheimer and Frere’s Interactif and two others in the 19th running of the $125,000 event for 2-year-olds.

Pletcher won the 2006 renewal with Twilight Meteor and scored last year with Bittel Road. Interactif is following in the hoofprints of Bittel Road to this year’s Bourbon. Both horses won the With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga at the Bourbon distance of 1 1/16 miles prior to the Bourbon.

Whitt Beckman, a Pletcher assistant who is overseeing the trainer’s Keeneland division, has been with Interactif since the son of Broken Vow arrived in the barn this spring. He also was with Bittel Road as he began his career last year in New York.

“So, I guess the obvious question is,” Beckman said with a smile toward an interrogator, “which one is better? I would say with the way Interactif won the With Anticipation, he looks like he may be better. Bittel Road had to struggle a little bit last year winning that race.”

In his turf debut, Interactif won the With Anticipation by 4 ¼ lengths under Kent Desormeaux, who will be aboard Sunday.

“He’s been doing great since the With Anticipation,” Beckman said. “He shipped in here Thursday from Belmont Park and had a nice gallop this morning.”

Pletcher also will send out Exhi, a Belmont maiden turf winner for Wertheimer and Frere, and Modern Cowboy, a maiden winner at Delaware Park for Greenhill Farm.

The Bourbon is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) to be run November 7 at Santa Anita. Bittel Road, who qualified for the inaugural running of that race with his Bourbon win last year and finished eighth in the Juvenile Turf.


The JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes, the last of Keeneland’s nine “Win and You’re In” races for the 2009 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, attracted 30 nominations for the 1 1/16-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies to be run Thursday, October 16.

Last year’s Jessamine had an impact on the inaugural running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf as automatic entrant Laragh ran third as the favorite at Santa Anita after taking the Keeneland event.

Second to Laragh in the Jessamine was Habaya, who went on to win the Miesque (G3) at Hollywood Park in November. Her full sister, Hatheer, is one of the nominees to this year’s Jessamine.

Owned by Shadwell Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Hatheer has won one of two starts, the victory coming in her most recent race on September 7 at Saratoga going the Jessamine distance on the turf.

Entries will be drawn Sunday.


Robert Dewitt’s Taletobetold has had to settle for runner-up honors in the past two editions of the Buffalo Trace Franklin County. The 5-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat may get a chance to improve on those finishes as she is one of 36 nominees to the 5 ½-furlong turf sprint that carries a $100,000 purse.

Entries will be drawn Tuesday for the race that goes on Friday, October 16.

Among the nominees is Gainesway Stable’s Ocean Colors, the next-to-last foal of 1988 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Winning Colors. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Ocean Colors has won her only start on grass.


Warrior’s Reward, who knocked heads running long with some of the best sophomores in the East this summer, tops a list of 19 horses nominated to the 11th running of the $150,000 Perryville (Presented by Budweiser Select) (G3) to be run Saturday, October 17 over the Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet.

Trained by Ian Wilkes for owner A. Stevens Miles Jr., Warrior’s Reward was an impressive allowance winner going seven furlongs on May 1 at Churchill Downs. Following that effort, Warrior’s Reward placed in the Northern Dancer (G3), Dwyer (G2) and Jim Dandy (G2) before finishing fifth in the Travers (G1).

Graded stakes winners among the nominees are El Brujo and Not for Silver plus Prairie Meadows Derby winner Karama.

Entries will be drawn on Wednesday for the Perryville, which was won last year by Hatta Fort (GB).


Starlight Partners’ Take the Points, winner of the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park on August 8, tops a list of 39 nominees for the ninth running of the $125,000 Bryan Station (G3) at a mile for 3-year-olds on the Haggin Turf Course on Sunday, October 18. Take the Points is entered in Saturday’s $300,000 Jamaica Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park.

Take the Points is one of four nominees to the race trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the Bryan Station last year with Cowboy Cal. Among the Pletcher nominees is Bittel Road, who won the Bourbon (G3) here last fall.

Other graded stakes winners on the turf included in the nominees are Florentino (JPN), winner of the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs in June; El Crespo, who won the Palm Beach (G3) at Gulfstream Park in March; and No Inflation, runaway winner of the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware Park last month.

Entries for the Bryan Station will be drawn Thursday.

Comments (0)

BallHype: hype it up!

Read more articles in the Keeneland category.