Edited Keeneland Staff Release — L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ champion Echo Zulu started a busy morning of trainer Steve Asmussen’s possible contenders for the 39th Breeders’ Cup World Champions here Nov. 4-5.
With exercise rider Wilson Fabian aboard, Echo Zulu drilled 5 furlongs in :59.40 in company with Marsalis. The move was the fastest five-eighths of 30 this morning over the fast main track. Echo Zulu is being pointed to the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint (G1).
Next was Peter Blum Thoroughbreds’ Society. With jockey Florent Geroux aboard, Society worked 5 furlongs in :59.80 in company with Ten Gauge. A winner of five of six starts, including the Cotillion (G1) in her most recent outing, Society is being pointed to the $2 million Distaff (G1).
Three Chimneys Farm’s $2 million NetJets Juvenile Fillies (G1) prospect Grand Love worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.20 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:14.20 with Geroux aboard. Grand Love worked in company with Tres Soles.
Also working before 6 a.m. was Stonestreet Stables’ Clairiere, who breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 with Joel Rosario aboard in company with Brilliant Colors. Clairiere, like Society, is being pointed to the Distaff.
Following the first track renovation break that ended at 7:30, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Classic (G1) hopeful Epicenter worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.20 with Rosario up in company with Uncle Berkley.
“He’s a nice horse and I am just glad to be on him,” Rosario, who has ridden Epicenter in his past seven races, said. “He’s more mature and looks like he has grown and is stronger. He finished up good; training really good.”
This was the fourth local work for Epicenter, who has compiled a 7-4-3-0 record in 2022 highlighted by a victory in the Runhappy Travers (G1) in his most recent start.
“This morning was more of the same,” owner Ron Winchell said. “He did what he needed to do.”
Winchell picked up two more possible Breeders’ Cup hopefuls Saturday when homebreds Wicked Halo won the Lexus Raven Run (G2) and Gunite took the Perryville (L). Wicked Halo could go to the Filly and Mare Sprint and Gunite to the $2 million Qatar Racing Sprint (G1).
RICH STRIKE LIKELY BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC BOUND
RED TR-Racing’s Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve winner Rich Strike apparently will be headed to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to be run here Nov. 5, according to trainer Eric Reed.
“Rich Strike is doing as good as he ever has, and Rick (owner Rick Dawson) feels that he deserves the chance to take on the best in the world,” Reed said.
The deadline for pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships is Monday at noon ET.
The other option for Rich Strike following a runner-up effort in the Lukas Classic (G2) to Hot Rod Charlie was the $750,000 Clark (G1) Presented by Norton Healthcare (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25.
Reed plans to bring Rich Strike to Keeneland from his base at the Mercury Equine Center this afternoon with the colt scheduled to gallop Monday morning before moving Monday afternoon to the barns on Rice Road that will serve as the home to all Breeders’ Cup runners. Rich Strike is expected to work Tuesday morning.
BREEDERS’ CUP WORK TAB AT KEENELAND
Kimari and Nakatomi, two of trainer Wesley Ward’s possible Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) hopefuls, worked 5 furlongs in company in 1:03.60. Kimari, owned by the partnership of Jonathan Poulin, Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, also is under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Bottle Rocket Stable own Nakatomi.
DOLCE ZEL (FR) HEADLINES FRIDAY’S RUBICON VALLEY VIEW
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Robert LaPenta’s two-time Grade 3 winner Dolce Zel (FR) heads a field of 12 3-year-old fillies and two also-eligibles entered Sunday for Friday’s 32nd running of the $300,000 Rubicon Valley View (G3).
The 1 1/16-mile grass test is scheduled as the eighth race on Friday’s 10-race program with a 4:44 p.m. ET post time. First post is 1 p.m.
Trained by Chad Brown, Dolce Zel won her U.S. debut this spring at Tampa Bay Downs in the Florida Oaks (G3) before running second here in the Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association. In her most recent start, Dolce Zel was third in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount and will exit post position five.
The field for the Rubicon Valley View, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: California Angel (Rafael Bejarano, 118 pounds), Frippet (James Graham, 118), Oakhurst (Joe Talamo, 118), My Philly Twirl (Tyler Gaffalione, 118), Dolce Zel (FR) (Ortiz Jr., 118), Majestic Glory (GB) (Luis Saez, 118), Lady Puchi (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Bubble Rock (Ricardo Santana Jr., 118), Sparkle Blue (Joel Rosario, 118), Heavenly Hellos (Albin Jimenez, 118), Turnerloose (Florent Geroux, 118) and Bicameral (Rey Gutierrez (118). Also-eligibles: Sunroof (Julien Leparoux, 118), Diamond Wow (Vincent Cheminaud, 118).
SOMEBODY’S PROBLEM TOPS FIELD FOR FRIDAY’S MYRTLEWOOD
Hoolie Racing Stable’s homebred Somebody’s Problem, easy winner of the Prairie Meadows Debutante in her most recent start, headlines a field of 11 2-year-old fillies entered for Friday’s third running of the $200,000 Myrtlewood going 6 furlongs on the main track.
The Myrtlewood is scheduled as Friday’s seventh race with a 4:12 p.m. ET post time.
Trained by Greg Foley, Somebody’s Problem ran third in her debut in July at Churchill Downs and rebounded with a 6¾-length maiden victory at Ellis Park. From there, she went to Iowa, where she won by 4¼ lengths at Prairie Meadows.
Tyler Gaffalione has the mount Friday and will break from post position 11.
The field for the Myrtlewood, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Lady Radler (Julien Leparoux, 118 pounds), Satin Doll (Joel Rosario, 118), Baby Got Backspin (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118), Two Minute Drill (Francisco Arrieta, 118), Willow Bend (Martin Garcia, 118), Key of Life (Florent Geroux, 118), Take Charge Briana (Luis Saez, 118), Flamand (Rafael Bejarano, 118), Time for Champagne (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Alva Starr (Ricardo Santana Jr., 118) and Somebody’s Problem (Gaffalione, 120).
Godolphin’s Proxy worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 under jockey Joel Rosario as he continued preparations toward a possible start in the $750,000 Clark Stakes (G1) Presented by Norton Healthcare at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25. …
Trainer Jonathan Wong said Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Empire House would bypass the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) in favor of the $300,000 Chilukki (G3) going a mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 19. …
Happy Birthday to jockey Martin Garcia, who turns 38 today. Winner of the 2010 Preakness (G1) on Lookin At Lucky, Garcia is a four-time Breeders’ Cup-winning rider. Garcia has one mount this afternoon on Jais’s Solitude in the fifth for trainer Eddie Kenneally.