Edited Keeneland Staff Release — Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables’ Caravel will attempt to become the second runner to win the $350,000 Franklin (G2) in consecutive years when she headlines a field of nine fillies and mares for next Sunday’s 27th running of the 5½-furlong turf sprint.
Trained by Brad Cox, Caravel is perfect in three Keeneland starts with the initial victory coming in last year’s Franklin. Following that triumph, she beat the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and opened her 2023 campaign with a win over males in the Shakertown (G2).
Regular rider Tyler Gaffalione has the mount and will break from post 1.
The only other runner to win the Franklin in back-to-back years is Ayrial Delight in 1998 and 1999.
Leading the opposition to Caravel is Stonestreet Stables’ Twilight Gleaming (IRE), a five-time stakes winner that includes a victory in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at Del Mar. Trained by Wesley Ward, Twilight Gleaming will be ridden by John Velazquez and break from post 4.
The field for the Franklin, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Caravel (Gaffalione, 124 pounds), Wakanaka (IRE) (Joel Rosario, 120), Train to Artemus (Gerardo Corrales, 120), Twilight Gleaming (IRE) (Velazquez, 120), Bay Storm (Florent Geroux, 124), Linguistic (Alex Achard, 120), Star Guest (GB) (Luis Saez, 118), Tony Ann (Flavien Prat, 120) and B G Warrior (Joseph Ramos, 118).
TRAVEL PLANS TO BE DETERMINED FOR COOLMORE TURF MILE TOP TWO
Up to the Mark and Master of The Seas (IRE), who finished noses apart in Saturday’s Coolmore Turf Mile (G1), both exited the race in good order, according to their connections.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is finalizing travel plans for his Breeders’ Cup contingent that likely will include in addition to Up to the Mark, Darley Alcibiades (G1) winner Candied, Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Locked and – depending on today’s Juddmonte Spinster (G1) result – Nest.
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Master of The Seas, headed to Canada after the race for today’s program at Woodbine that features his Nations Pride (IRE) in the Canadian International (G1) and With The Moonlight (IRE) in the E.P. Taylor (G1).
“He usually likes to let the dust settle a couple days after the race and then decide,” traveling lad Chris Connett said.
Following the race Saturday, Appleby indicated Master of The Seas could return to Europe Tuesday or Wednesday or possibly stay here if a Breeders’ Cup run is in the cards.
Master of The Seas got the lead in deep stretch but just got nailed on the wire by Up to the Mark.
“You can’t fault anything about the horse or the ride,” Connett said. “James (Doyle) gave him a great ride. It was a fantastic race. He tries hard every time, and this is the second time he has lost like that. It happened before in the (2021) Two Thousand Guineas (G1) when Poetic Flare (IRE) beat him.”
BRANT AND BROWN CONTINUE DOMINATION OF FIRST LADY
PRESENTED BY UK HEALTHCARE
Baldo Hernandez, assistant to Chad Brown, reported the trainer’s three runners from Saturday’s First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare exited the race in good order with immediate plans to be determined.
Peter Brant’s Gina Romantica and In Italian (GB) finished first and second, respectively. This is the third consecutive First Lady victory for Brant, who now has won eight graded stakes here – all Grade 1 races – to earn a Keeneland Tray as part of the track’s signature Milestone Trophy Program.
Brown recorded his third consecutive 1-2 finish in the race. He has saddled the winner of the First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare the past six years.
Brown’s other runner, Whitebeam (GB), finished fourth.
LOCKED COMPLETES DARLEY ALCIBIADES-CLAIBORNE BREEDERS’ FUTURITY DOUBLE FOR WELLMAN
Before this weekend, no owner had swept Keeneland’s premier races for 2-year-olds in the fall: the Darley Alcibiades (G1) and the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
That changed Saturday afternoon when Locked, owned in partnership by Aron Wellman’s Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Broad’s Walmac Farm, posted a gritty, half-length victory in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity.
The day before, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Candied won the Darley Alcibiades.
Eclipse can complete the hat trick this afternoon as it is part of the ownership with Repole Stable and Michael House of Nest, the morning-line favorite for the Juddmonte Spinster (G1).
On Sunday morning, Wellman still was relishing the victory by Locked that earned the colt a spot in the starting gate for the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run at Santa Anita Nov. 3.
“I appreciated the support the public gave him making him the 3-5 favorite,” Wellman said. “We didn’t think he was 3-5 out of respect for the deep field and the quality of the field.”
Breaking from post 9 in the nine-horse field, Locked was five wide going into the first turn and had a wide trip all the way around.
“He overcame a lot of adversity yesterday,” Wellman said. “It was messy in the first turn and then he got shuffled back behind a moderate pace and was further back than we thought he would be.”
Under Jose Ortiz, Locked moved four wide off the final turn to confront The Wine Steward, who fought back along the rail in the stretch run.
“I was concerned when he didn’t separate from The Wine Steward at the eighth pole, because he had all the momentum coming off the turn,” Wellman said. “The Wine Steward is a two-time stakes winner and Locked got in a battle with him and proved he was capable.”
KEENELAND REGULAR BRISSET RELISHES FIRST LOCAL STAKES VICTORY
Nearly two decades after first setting foot on Keeneland property, trainer Rodolphe Brisset was standing in the stakes-only Winner’s Circle on the infield turf course for the first time Saturday. The honor was courtesy of Yuugiri’s hard-fought triumph in the 43rd running of the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).
Brisset trains the 4-year-old filly for her breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Tsunebumi Yoshihara. The TCA victory earned Yuugiri a spot in the starting gate for the $1 million PNC Bank Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
“I really thought she was second,” Brisset said of the nose score over Wicked Halo after a stretch-long battle. “At the eighth pole when she dug in, she kept running and really fought for it. I went a little crazy and lost my voice cheering from the eighth pole to the wire.”
The win marks the second graded stakes victory for Yuugiri, who improved her record to 14-7-2-1 and increased her earnings to $1,190,585. Her other graded tally came in the 2022 Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park a month before she finished 13th in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Yuugiri then won four races prior to solidifying herself as a 6-furlong dirt specialist in the TCA.
“Since we went back to one turn, she has shown a new dimension,” Brisset said.
Through a connection that eventually led to his association with Yuugiri’s owners, Brisset left his native France and arrived in the U.S. about 20 years ago to work as an exercise rider at Keeneland for trainer Patrick Biancone.
“I fell in love with Keeneland and Kentucky right away,” Brisset said. “To be able to win a graded stakes at Keeneland is special.”
Brisset’s next job was as a longtime key assistant and exercise rider for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, which meant he spent the Spring and Fall Meets at Keeneland. In 2017, Brisset launched his own training career and obtained stalls in Keeneland’s year-round training center nearby on Rice Road. He and his wife, Brooke, who work together in the training operation, also have a farm in nearby Versailles where they raise Thoroughbreds.
Along with their 5-year-old son, Ryan, and friends, the Brissets celebrated Yuugiri’s exciting performance with a quiet dinner at a restaurant. They had an early evening.
“Ryan was getting pretty tired, and I had lost my voice cheering for Yuugiri,” he said.
WOODFORD PRESENTED BY FANDUEL WINNER ARZAK, RUNNER-UP
LIVE IN THE DREAM (IRE) EYE POSSIBLE BREEDERS’ CUP BIDS
Sonata Stable’s Arzak, who arrived here Tuesday from his home base at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland for trainer Michael Trombetta, exited his 2-length victory in Saturday’s 5½-furlong Woodford (G2) Presented by FanDuel in good order, according to assistant Chris Aro.
Reached by phone, Trombetta said the 5-furlong $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 4 is a possibility.
“If all is well, the owner (Marc Tacher) wants to go to the Breeders’ Cup,” Trombetta said. “We have a small string at Keeneland and we may leave him there for the time being. I’ve got to start making some calls in the next day or two about getting out there.”
Trombetta, who has had three Breeders’ Cup starters, nearly upset the apple cart with his most recent entrant when Wet Your Whistle finished second here in the 2020 Turf Sprint beaten by a half-length at 26-1 odds.
Woodford Presented by FanDuel favorite Live In The Dream (IRE), who faded to fourth after setting a blistering pace is still a go for the Breeders’ Cup, according to trainer Adam West.
“He got a good blow yesterday and we are very pleased with his race,” West said of the 4-year-old, who is owned by Jolene and Steve De’Lemos. “He got a little pressure early (from Foxtrotanna) and that horse finished last. He had to go from the inside (post 2) and I’d feel better if he gets the 10, 11 or 12 (post) at Santa Anita.”
Live In The Dream will remain at Keeneland until Oct. 25 when he goes to Southern California.
West and the De’Lemoses were flying back to Europe today but will return before Live In The Dream heads west.