Blended Citizen with jockey Kyle Frey works at Keeneland for trainer Doug O’Neill during the 2018 Keeneland Spring Meet / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland

From the Media Team at Keeneland / Amy Owens:


Greg Hall and SAYJAY Racing’s Blended Citizen, who has had much of his success on the grass and all-weather surfaces, prepared for his return to the dirt in next Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) by working 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 over a fast main track this morning at Keeneland.

Blended Citizen and workmate Arawak began to ease into the work at the three-quarter pole and proceeded to post fractions of :13.60, :26.60 and 1:01.20 with a 6-furlong gallop-out time of 1:14.60. They completed a mile at the three-quarter pole in 1:41.

“That was very nice,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “I’m very happy with it. I thought they both worked very well and Arawak was very competitive with him.”

O’Neill arrived at Keeneland with jockey Kyle Frey Saturday morning following an all-night drive from Atlanta, where they had missed a connecting flight to Lexington. O’Neill and Frey are returning to Santa Anita today and plan to return to Lexington on Friday, the day before the Toyota Blue Grass.

Blended Citizen made his first three starts on dirt with his best finish being fifth. Three grass starts came next and then two starts on all-weather surfaces, culminating with a victory in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park on March 17.

“Looking back at his form, I can find reasons for his dirt race performances,” O’Neill said. “This is a horse that needs two turns and he is a half-brother to Lookin At Lee, who was second in the (Kentucky) Derby last year.

“In (Blended Citizen’s) first start, he drew the rail at Del Mar sprinting, which is not what he wants to do. In his second start he was outside all the way but he did make up some ground. Then I brought him back too quick when I stretched him out two turns at Santa Anita and he was outside and never in it.”

Frey, who never has ridden at Keeneland, has been aboard Blended Citizen in his past two races but had worked the Proud Citizen colt previously on dirt.

“I was very satisfied with him and he handled the track well,” Frey said of the colt, who worked in blinkers that were added for the Jeff Ruby Steaks. “The addition of the blinkers made the light bulb come on.”

Upon leaving the track, O’Neill asked Frey about the work and the rider answered with a question: “How are you going to spend your $60,000?” in reference to their share of the $600,000 that goes to the winner of the Toyota Blue Grass.

O’Neill said that Arawak, who has run on dirt three times in his nine-race career for previous trainer Wesley Ward, also could possibly wind up in the Toyota Blue Grass.

“We will play that by ear and get with the owners,” said O’Neill, who won last year’s Toyota Blue Grass with Irap. “If he does not go in the Blue Grass, he may go in the (Stonestreet) Lexington (G3 on April 14).”

Four other probable Toyota Blue Grass starters put in works in Florida Saturday morning.

Good Magic, the champion 2-year-old of 2017, worked at Palm Meadows for trainer Chad Brown, covering 4 furlongs in :48 in company. Good Magic is scheduled to ship to Keeneland Monday.

At Gulfstream Park, trainer Dale Romans, who will be seeking his third victory in the race, worked Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Free Drop Billy (5 furlongs in 1:01.80) and Tiz Mischief (5 furlongs in 1:01.18). Another Toyota Blue Grass contender,Machismo worked 5 furlongs in :58.77 for trainer Anthony Quartarolo.

Working Friday at Palm Meadows for trainer Mark Casse were Flameaway (4 furlongs in :48.75) and Determinant (4 furlongs in :49.25). Both horses are scheduled to arrive at Keeneland on Monday.

Other probable Toyota Blue Grass starters are California Night, Gotta Go, Heartfullofstars, Quip, Sporting Chance and Zing Zang. Another possible starter is Kanthaka, who worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 at Santa Anita this morning.


Katherine Ball’s 6-year-old Limousine Liberal completed his major preparation for his expected 2018 debut in next Saturday’s $250,000 Commonwealth (G3) by working a half-mile in :48 after the Saturday morning renovation break. Ben Colebrook trains Limousine Liberal.


For the convenience of media covering Keeneland’s 2018 Spring Meet, Keeneland is posting select photos and video on its FTP site.

Photos will include finish and winner’s circle shots of stakes races; morning works of prominent horses, including today’s work by Toyota Blue Grass (G2) contender Blended Citizen; general scenics and special event photos.

Video clips of stakes races will be uploaded daily. At the conclusion of each race day during the meet, a short highlight video also will be uploaded. Select video of the morning works of prominent horses will be available as they occur.

Photos and video are available for editorial use only. Please credit as “Keeneland photo” or “Keeneland video.”

Please note: Access to Keeneland’s FTP site no longer requires a username or password.

Click here to access the FTP site.

Folder: 2018 Spring Race Meet



Here are the probable and possible starters for the other seven graded stakes on the April 6-8 opening weekend of Keeneland’s 2018 Spring Meet, according to Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Tiffany Bourque.

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

$150,000 KENTUCKY UTILITIES TRANSYLVANIA (G3) (Entries taken Monday; race Friday April 6) – Probable: AdmiraltyPier, (trainer Barbara Minshall), Analyze It (Chad Brown), Beer Pressure (Anthony Quartarolo), Funny Duck (Rusty Arnold), Tigers Rule (Vickie Foley). Possible: Cash Call Kitten (Mike Maker), Gidu (IRE) (Todd Pletcher), Maraud (Pletcher), Rose’s Vision (Stuart Simon).

$500,000 CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND (G1) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Andina Del Sur (Tom Albertrani), C. S. Incharge (Dale Romans), Monomoy Girl (Brad Cox), Mrs Rocco (Cox). Possible: Eskimo Kisses (Kenny McPeek), Patrona Margarita (Bret Calhoun), Tyfosha (Doug O’Neill).

$300,000 MADISON (G1) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: American Gal (Simon Callaghan), Finley’sluckycharm (Bret Calhoun), Impasse (D. Wayne Lukas), Lewis Bay (Chad Brown), Miss Sunset (Jeff Bonde), Tequilita (Michael Matz), Unchained Melody (Brian Lynch). Possible: Cuddle Alert (Reed Saldana), Mines and Magic (Vicki Oliver), Teresa Z (Anthony Margotta Jr.).

$250,000 COMMONWEALTH (G3) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Conquest Windycity (Mike Maker), Crewman (Dee Poulos), Eight Town (Brian Lynch), First Premio (Mark Casse), Limousine Liberal (Ben Colebrook), Shut the Box (Angel Montano), Warrior’s Club (D. Wayne Lukas).

$200,000 SHAKERTOWN (G2) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Bucchero (Tim Glyshaw), Disco Partner (Christophe Clement), Flashaway (Mark Casse), Kid Perfect (Angel Montano), Recruiting Ready (Horacio DePaz), Tombelaine (Catherine Day Phillips), Will Call (Brad Cox).

$200,000 APPALACHIAN (G2) PRESENTED BY JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday, April 8) – Probable: Beach Waltz (Mike Maker), Daddy Is a Legend (Brian Lynch), Dixie Moon (Catherine Day Phillips), Heavenly Love (Mark Casse), Lounge Act (Brad Cox), Rushing Fall (Chad Brown), Thewayiam (FR) (Graham Motion), Treasuring (GB) (Simon Callaghan).

$150,000 BEAUMONT (G3) PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday, April 8) – Probable: Almond Roca (Graham Motion), Criminal Mischief (D. Wayne Lukas), Dream It Is (Barbara Minshall), Gas Station Sushi (Richard Baltas), Good Move (Brad Cox), In the Mood (Stephen Sandy), Summer Sunday (Stuart Simon), Uppercut (Peter Eurton). Possible: Tyfosha (Doug O’Neill).


Live Oak Plantation’s World Approval, the champion turf male of 2017, tops a roster of 26 nominees for the 30th running of the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) for 4-year-olds and up to be contested over the turf on Friday, April 13.

Trained by Mark Casse, World Approval won five of six races in 2017, capped by a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

Among the other nominees is Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart. Trained by Brian Lynch, Heart to Heart has finished second in the past two runnings of the race.

John Oxley’s La Coronel, who is undefeated in three stakes tries over the Keeneland turf course including a score in last fall’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1), is among 22 fillies and mares nominated to the 30th running of the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf course. The race is the feature of four stakes on Saturday, April 14.

Other Grade 1 winners nominated to the race are Off Limits (IRE) and Union Strike and multiple graded-stakes winners Cambodia, Fourstar Crook, Hawksmoor (IRE), Lovely Bernadette and Proctor’s Ledge.

Also scheduled that day are the 88th running of the $200,000 Ben Ali (G3) for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the main track that drew 21 nominations, including defending champion Watershed; the 37th running of the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) for 3-year-olds going
1 1/16 miles on the main track that drew 71 nominations; and the 22nd running of the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway for fillies and mares going 5½ furlongs on the grass, a race that drew 31 nominations headed by European champion and 2017 winner Lady Aurelia..

The Stonestreet Lexington is the final points race in Kentucky for the 144th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). A total of 34 points are up for grabs on a 20-8-4-2 basis for the first four finishers. Among the nominees are Southwest (G3) winner My Boy Jackand Springboard Mile winner Greyvitos.

Click here for a link to the list of nominations and past performances to these stakes.