From the Media Team at Keeneland:

ARAWAK, BLENDED CITIZEN IMITATE NYQUIST TRAINING PLAN

Toyota Blue Grass (G2) contenders Arawak and Blended Citizen, both trained by Doug O’Neill, are following the same training plan O’Neill used for champion Nyquist when he trained at Keeneland in April 2016 after he won the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) and before he captured the Kentucky Derby (G1).

This morning, the two colts each galloped on the main track with exercise rider Jonny Garcia aboard. Garcia also was Nyquist’s exercise rider during his Keeneland stay two years ago.

“They both galloped an easy mile and a half,” assistant Jack Sisterson said. “That would be their regular training regimen besides working or jogging. With Nyquist having been here, we sort of did just exactly what he did and copied that method. That seemed to work out pretty well, so we’re not going to change anything there. They’ll do exactly the same (on the track) going into the race, and walk Saturday morning.”

Arawak, who races for C T R Stables, R3 Racing and Steven Keh, drew post 14 in the Toyota Blue Grass. Blended Citizen, who races for Greg Hall and SAYJAY Racing, drew post seven.

“If we can try and visualize the race before the race, we’re pretty sure Arawak is going to be forwardly placed, and Blended Citizen is going to be coming from off (the pace),” Sisterson said.

Sisterson was at Keeneland last spring occasionally with another O’Neill horse, Irap, who became the first maiden to win the Toyota Blue Grass. Irap went on to win the Ohio Derby (G3) and Indiana Derby (G3) and finish second in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1).

“To compare them to Irap, Irap was such a big-hearted horse and tried every time,” Sisterson said. “It was hard to take away the heart that that horse had. Both of these horses show like they’ve got some heart, but Irap was such a unique horse when it came to that. It’s hard to replace that.”

QUIP IN FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS FOR TOYOTA BLUE GRASS

WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing’s Quip has a true home-court advantage for Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2). A local allowance winner in October, Quip was based most of last year at Keeneland, where trainer Rodolphe Brisset has stalls in the Rice Road portion of the barn area.

“It is a big advantage that he has spent so much time at Keeneland,” Brisset said. “We know he likes the track. Since we came back (from wintering at Fair Grounds and Tampa Bay Downs), he knows he is in familiar surroundings.”

On Wednesday, Quip visited the Paddock as part of his morning exercise that included a 1½-mile gallop on the main track with Brisset in the saddle.

“He is acting very good and we like how he is training,” Brisset said.

Quip is the co-third choice on the morning line for the Toyota Blue Grass and will be ridden by Florent Geroux, who has had the mount for all four of his races. WinStar bred the son of Distorted Humor, whose three wins include the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 10.

Plans call for Quip to gallop on the main track Thursday with a brief stop to stand in the starting gate, Brisset’s usual routine two days before a race. When training hours conclude, Quip might also be led through the Paddock.

In other activities of Toyota Blue Grass horses at Keeneland …

For the second consecutive morning, e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ champion and 2-1 morning-line favorite Good Magic was on the track after the morning renovation break and galloped about 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Walter Malasquez. Chad Brown trains Good Magic, who arrived here Monday. …

John C. Oxley’s Flameaway visited the Paddock and galloped on the main track with exercise rider Kim Carroll aboard for trainer Mark Casse. Carroll’s husband is Casse’s assistant David Carroll. Last October, Flameaway won the Dixiana Bourbon (G3), which was rained off the turf and held on dirt.

Lothenbach Stables’ Gotta Go jogged shortly after 6 a.m. with exercise rider Carlos Deyan aboard for trainer Ian Wilkes. Gotta Go worked a half-mile in :49.60 on Tuesday. …

Ron Paolucci, Ashley Quartarolo, Raquel Ritchie and Christina Ritchie’s Machismo schooled in the Paddock and galloped 1½ miles under jockey Jake Radosevich for trainer Anthony Quartarolo.

Jackpot Farm’s Zing Zang, who arrived at Keeneland Tuesday night from Oaklawn Park, walked the shedrow at trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn.


AMI’S MESA KICKS OFF 2018 IN SATURDAY’S MADISON

Ivan Dalos’ Ami’s Mesa is ready for her encore on dirt in Saturday’s $300,000 Madison (G1).

The 5-year-old Ontario-bred mare, who had raced exclusively on all-weather surfaces and the turf, made her dirt debut in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Del Mar. After breaking from post position 14 in the 7-furlong race, she came within a nose of winning the whole thing.

“The only question going into the (Breeders’ Cup) was the dirt,” trainer Josie Carroll said of the three-time graded stakes winner. “After the Breeders’ Cup, she got five weeks off at the farm in Florida.”

Ami’s Mesa returned to the work tab at Palm Meadows training center in Florida in February and has had eight works there coming into the Madison. Her most recent work was a half-mile in :49.15 on March 29. She arrived at Keeneland two days later.

“After the Breeders’ Cup, Mr. Dalos wanted to focus on good races for her, so we will see how it goes this year,” Carroll said. “In the Breeders’ Cup, he wanted to see how competitive she’d be with the best sprinters.”

The Madison is no easy spot for Ami’s Mesa’s return. Two Grade 1 winners and seven other graded-stakes winners are included in the field of 13. Ami’s Mesa will be ridden by regular partner Luis Contreras and break from post position 10.

VERIZON MAKES PERMANENT NETWORK INVESTMENT IN KEENELAND

 

When fans head to Keeneland for the Spring Meet beginning April 6, their attention can focus solely on picking the winning horse rather than worrying about whether they’ll have a strong smartphone connection. Verizon, which runs America’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network, has invested in a permanent distributed antenna system at the race track, which will enhance network speeds, coverage and capacity.

 

Over the past few years, Verizon has used its “barnyard” of temporary assets to help cover the infield and Grandstand. This has included a COW (cell on wheels), first used in support of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland, and even a SCOT (small cell on a truck). But given the crowds that show up year after year, along with the growing reliance on smartphones during the event, Verizon has made a permanent investment at the race track. The new system will result in faster speeds for Verizon customers as well as doubled network capacity – meaning more people being able to connect simultaneously to do what they want with their devices.

 

“When our fans come to Keeneland, so much of their experience today revolves around the smartphone,” Keeneland Vice President and Chief Information Officer Brad Lovell said. “Whether it’s handicapping the races, sharing their experience with friends and family via the Keeneland Race Day App, or placing a bet with Keeneland Select, we’re confident they’ll be able to do it all without worry thanks to Verizon’s new antenna system.”

 

“Verizon customers have high expectations when it comes to their service and we know we’ll meet and likely exceed those expectations when it comes to the experience at Keeneland,” said Steve Van Dinter, public relations manager for the Verizon Great Lakes Market.

 

Verizon’s 4G LTE network covers more than 2.4 million square miles and 322 million people. Since 2000, it has invested more than $111 billion in its network.

 

 

PROSPECTIVE FIELDS FOR OPENING SUNDAY STAKES

Here are the probable and possible starters for the two graded stakes on Sunday, April 8, according to Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Tiffany Bourque.

Click here for a microsite dedicated to Keeneland’s April 6-8 opening weekend stakes, including complete lists of nominees and past performances.

$200,000 APPALACHIAN (G2) PRESENTED BY JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday) – Probable: Beach Waltz (Mike Maker), Cash Out (Rusty Arnold), Daddy Is a Legend (George Weaver), Dixie Moon (Catherine Day Phillips), Goodthingstaketime (IRE) (Jorge Abreu), Heavenly Love (Mark Casse), Lounge Act (Brad Cox), Rushing Fall (Chad Brown), Thewayiam (FR) (Graham Motion), Treasuring (GB) (Simon Callaghan), Ultima D (Wesley Ward).

$150,000 BEAUMONT (G3) PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday) – Probable: Almond Roca (Graham Motion), Criminal Mischief (D. Wayne Lukas), Dream It Is (Barbara Minshall), Gas Station Sushi (Richard Baltas), Good Move (Brad Cox), Happy Like a Fool (Wesley Ward), In the Mood (Stephen Sandy), Summer Sunday (Stuart Simon), Sunny Skies (Kenny McPeek), Uppercut (Peter Eurton), Upset Brewing (Buff Bradley).

2018 SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS

Through the summer, The Keeneland Library is paying tribute to Pierre Bellocq, the internationally celebrated artist better known as “Peb,” with the exhibit “Artistry of Peb: Fifty Years of Features” and a virtual exhibit on Keeneland.comtitled “The Artistry of Peb.” “Artistry of Peb” showcases 18 of Bellocq’s features from The Morning Telegraph and Daily Racing Form spanning the mid-1950s to the mid-2000s. This work solidified Peb’s renown as an artistic commentator of the Thoroughbred racing industry. The Keeneland Library is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

Official Keeneland Tours – Keeneland offers a selection of guided tours, including Behind-the-Scenes Racing Tours and a Backstretch Tour, throughout the year. On Saturdays during Sunrise Trackside, free guided tours begin every 20 minutes from the Paddock and Walking Ring from 7:30-10 a.m.

Wednesday, April 4

Taste of the Races. The Keeneland Shop presents a spring shopping preview in celebration of the Spring Meet from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Event features hors d’oeuvres prepared by Executive Chef Marc Therrien and craft cocktails from Maker’s Mark and Gents Original. The first 250 attendees will receive their complimentary cocktail in a Keeneland Catstudio glass as a gift. Attendees will receive an exclusive 20 percent discount on all in-store purchases at The Keeneland Shop. Some exclusions may apply.

Thursday, April 5

Taste of the Races. The Keeneland Shop presents a spring shopping preview in celebration of the Spring Meet from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Attendees will receive an exclusive 20 percent discount on all in-store purchases at The Keeneland Shop. Some exclusions may apply.

Friday, April 6 – Opening Day

The Keeneland Shop’s Milliners Corner presents Christine A. Moore Millinery and Forme Millinery adjacent to the Walking Ring.

 

College Scholarship Day. College Scholarship Day, which Keeneland holds with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, will give away a record $30,000 thanks to two $10,000 Runhappy Scholarships in addition to ten $1,000 scholarships awarded after each race. Click here to pre-register online by 5 p.m. April 5 to pass the line and enter to win an outdoor box for use April 6. Full-time college students receive free general admission April 6 and can register at the College Zone in the North Terrace, which will have music, free snacks and prize drawings.

Tailgating on The Hill. Keeneland’s popular tailgate lot, located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center, features local food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, The Keeneland Shop kiosk and free shuttles to the track. BETologists will be available to answer fans’ questions.

Friday Pick 4 Presented by TVG. A $200,000-guaranteed pool will be offered on the final four races of the day, including the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3).

Saturday, April 7

Sunrise Trackside. Racehorses and the people who work with them begin the day well before sunrise. See what they’re up to Saturday mornings during Sunrise Trackside, a free family-friendly event. Breakfast With the Works features breakfast for purchase and trackside commentary (7-8:30 a.m.) while horses train on the main track, and is accompanied by children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7-9 a.m.); guided walking tours (7:30-10 a.m.); equine Paddock demonstration (9 a.m.) with Asbury University; and a Q&A session with a jockey in the Paddock (12:05 p.m.).


The Keeneland Shop’s Milliners Corner 
presents Christine A. Moore Millinery and Forme Millinery adjacent to the Walking Ring.

 

Tailgating on The Hill. Keeneland’s popular tailgate lot, located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center, features local food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, The Keeneland Shop kiosk and free shuttles to the track. One of Central Kentucky’s favorite bluegrass bands will perform from 12-4 p.m. BETologists will be available to answer fans’ questions.

 

$400,000 All-Stakes Pick 4 Presented by TVG. Features races 7-10: Shakertown (G2), Madison (G1), Central Bank Ashland (G1) and Toyota Blue Grass (G2).

$300,000 All-Stakes Pick 5 Presented by TVG. Features races 6-10: Commonwealth (G3), Shakertown, Madison, Central Bank Ashland and Toyota Blue Grass.

Sunday, April 8

The Keeneland Shop’s Milliners Corner presents Christine A. Moore Millinery and Forme Millinery adjacent to the Walking Ring.


Jockey Autograph Signing.
 Racing fans can meet jockeys currently competing at Keeneland as well as retired jockeys – from Hall of Famers to history makers and Keeneland favorites – and participate in an autograph signing to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Retired jockeys scheduled to take part in the event include James Bruin, PJ Cooksey, Jean Cruguet, Tony D’Amico, Pat Day, Rafael Estrella, Carl Faulconer, Sandy Hawley, Michael Heath, Mike Manganello, Chris McCarron, Larry Melancon, John Oldham, Suzie Picou Oldham, Joe Steiner and Kaoru Tsuchiya.