Edited Keeneland Staff Release — Joe Peacock Jr.’s Senor Buscador, pre-entered in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), on Thursday morning worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 over a fast track in company with stablemate Sheriff Brown for trainer Todd Fincher. Jockey Francisco Arrieta was aboard Senor Buscador and Florent Geroux partnered Sheriff Brown, his mount in the $350,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2) on Nov. 4.
“It was a good solid work and we got what we wanted,” trainer Todd Fincher said. “Senor Buscador started about 6 lengths back and got to the target a little faster and caught up by the three-eighths. He waited a bit not wanting to go by too fast and really started working at the quarter pole.”
Senor Buscador finished 3 lengths in front of his workmate.
“I’m just guessing he went in :34 and change from the eighth pole to the three-quarters,” Fincher said. “Sheriff Brown is better with a target, but he was the hunted today.”
Fincher trains Slammed, winner of the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) here and pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). She is scheduled to work Friday at 9 a.m. …
Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso’s Hot Peppers, pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), worked 5 furlongs on her own in 1:02.20. With exercise rider Efrain Lopez aboard, Hot Peppers produced fractions of :12.60, :24.80, :38 and 1:02.20 and out 6 furlongs in 1:16. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez is scheduled to be at Keeneland Monday …
Hunter Valley Farm, Debra O’Connor and Marc Detampel’s Family Way, pre-entered in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), worked 5 furlongs on the main track in 1:00.80 for trainer Brendan Walsh. The move was the fastest of seven at the distance this morning.
FAST-STARTING PLETCHER CAN FINISH
KEENELAND FALL MEET WITH A FLOURISH
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher was fast out of the gate picking up three Grade 1 victories during Keeneland’s Fall Stars Weekend. As the 17-day meet draws to a close this week, Pletcher has major chances at picking up a couple more pieces of hardware.
Pletcher will send out Doreen Tabor’s Majestic Glory (GB) in Friday’s 32nd running of the $300,000 Rubicon Valley View (G3) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. On Saturday, he will saddle Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable and Gainesway Stable’s Wit in the 18th running of the $300,000 Bryan Station (G3) for 3-year-olds going a mile on the turf.
Majestic Glory made her U.S. debut in the Pebbles (G3) on Sept. 18 at Belmont at the Big A and finished fourth. Finishing 1½ lengths in front of her that day was Gina Romantica, who went on to win the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana here on Oct. 15.
“She ran pretty well (in the Pebbles), showed some interest and finished up well,” Pletcher said. “We targeted the Valley View after that race. The timing is good and she has had two good works here.”
The Bryan Station will represent the third grass start for Wit, a two-time Grade 3 winner on the dirt.
“He was successful on the dirt and was very precocious as a 2-year-old,” Pletcher said. “He came back in the Bay Shore (G3), but then he plateaued a bit. We breezed him on the turf and it was like ‘wow, this is impressive’.”
Wit finished second behind Bryan Station rival Ready to Purrform in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga and three weeks later romped as the 3-5 favorite in the Better Talk Now at Saratoga. Both of those stakes were at a mile.
Jose Ortiz, who has been aboard for three of Wit’s four victories, has the mount Saturday.
HAGYARD FAYETTE-BOUND FIRST CAPTAIN IS “WHERE HE WANTS TO BE”
According to Anthony Hamilton, assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey, West Point Thoroughbreds, Siena Farm, Bobby Flay and Woodford Racing’s First Captain is “where he wants to be” going into Saturday’s 65th running of the $350,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2) run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
After two sprints to start the year, First Captain has put together a strong resume that includes a victory in the 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special (G3), a runner-up finish by a nose in the 1¼-mile Suburban (G2) and a third-place finish behind Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) candidate Olympiad in the 1¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga in his most recent start.
“We targeted the Fayette after the Jockey Club Gold Cup,” said Hamilton, who has been with First Captain all season. “He has done well all year.”
First Captain’s lone off-the-board finish in nine career starts was a seventh in the Carter (G1) going 7 furlongs.
“Shug said he made a mistake there running in the Carter,” Hamilton said. “(First Captain) had run so well off a layoff going seven-eighths in Florida (in a victory).”
The Hagyard Fayette might not be the final stop of 2022 for First Captain in Kentucky.
“The Clark (G1-Presented by Norton Healthcare on Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs) is a strong possibility,” Hamilton said. “But let’s see how things go this weekend first.”
FUERTEVENTURA EYES GRADED GLORY IN BRYAN STATION
Robert LaPenta and breeder Brereton Jones’ Fuerteventura can kick-start a pretty good week for trainer Jonathan Thomas when he goes postward in Saturday’s 18th running of the $300,000 Bryan Station (G3) for 3-year-olds going a mile on the turf.
“He’s a pretty reliable horse,” Thomas said of Fuerteventura, who comes into the Bryan Station off a runner-up finish in the Pepsi Gun Runner at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 14 to Bryan Station rival Play Action Pass. “We took him back to Monmouth after the Gun Runner and then brought him back here at the first of the meet.”
Fuerteventura won the Jersey Derby in May at Monmouth and then finished sixth over the all-weather surface at Woodbine in the Marine (G3) in July. However, as the year has progressed, he has improved with a runner-up finish in the Saranac (G3) to eventual Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) winner Annapolis before his Kentucky Downs race.
“He is more mature-looking than he was early in the year, and most likely I think that will continue through the winter,” Thomas said.
Thomas could cap his Keeneland stay with a repeat performance from Augustin Stable’s Delight, winner of the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) by 5 lengths on Oct. 7.
Headed for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Delight is scheduled to work on the grass Friday morning.
TIGHT BATTLES IN HOMESTRETCH IN RACES
FOR LEADING JOCKEY, TRAINER OF KEENELAND FALL MEET
Leading jockey Tyler Gaffalione rode three winners Wednesday afternoon and his closest rival, Luis Saez, rode two winners to continue their runaway pace for leading jockey honors of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet. Gaffalione owns a 17-15 edge over Saez.
Over the final three days, Gaffalione has 25 mounts (seven today and nine each Friday and Saturday) while Saez has 22 (six today, six Friday and 10 Saturday). Gaffalione owns five Keeneland riding titles and Saez one.
Todd Pletcher owns a 9-7 advantage over Brad Cox and Mike Maker in the race for leading trainer.
Pletcher, who has five training titles here, has six entrants the final three days. Cox, a three-time leading trainer, has horses in 14 races. Maker, a six-time leading trainer, has three entrants.
PROBABLES FOR KEENELAND SUPPORTING STAKES
FOR BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Entries taken Monday, Oct. 31
$350,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2) – 3-year-olds and up, 1 5/8 miles (Race Friday, Nov. 4) – Always Above (trainer Michelle Nihei), Bal Harbour (Robertino Diodoro), Heywoods Beach (John Sadler), Next (William Cowans), Ridin With Biden (Butch Reid), Sheriff Brown (Todd Fincher), Win the Day (Doug O’Neill).
$350,000 Fall Harvest Presented by Mint Gaming Hall – Fillies and Mares, 1 mile turf (Race Saturday, Nov. 5) – Dalika (GER) (Al Stall Jr.), Shantisara (IRE) (Chad Brown), Stolen Holiday (Shug McGaughey), Technical Analysis (IRE) (Brown), Wakanaka (IRE) (Bill Mott). Possible: Princess Grace (Mike Stidham).