(Highly Motivated / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
HIDDEN STASH TAKES BBN RACING TO TOYOTA BLUE GRASS
Under operation for less than three years, BBN Racing is proud of its accomplishments with such runners as Grade 1 winner Concrete Rose, raced in partnership with Ashbrook Farm, and Grade 2-placed Hidden Stash. Concrete Rose sold for $1.95 million to top Keeneland’s 2020 November Breeding Stock Sale, and Hidden Stash, purchased at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, is to make his next start here in Saturday’s $800,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2).
“It’s incredibly exciting for us to be running in the Blue Grass,” said Braxton Lynch, a Founding Partner of BBN Racing with Brian Klatsky and Brendan O’Brien. “As a syndicate manager, I can’t promise winners or earnings, but what we did promise was enormous amounts of fun and great communication. I feel like we have delivered on that thus far with Concrete Rose and Hidden Stash and if the wins and earnings follow, that will be icing on the cake.”
In Kentucky, “BBN” means only one thing: the University of Kentucky fandom. The enthusiastic group inspired the racing operation’s name.
“BBN Racing does stand for Big Blue Nation, not because all the partners are from Kentucky – most of the partners are huge sports fans,” Lynch said. “Big Blue Nation is known for its enthusiasm and passion and that’s what we wanted to capture with BBN Racing. It’s made up of friends and family who watched horse racing from the sidelines and has given them a chance to participate, while spreading the (investment) risk. Several of the partners will be at Keeneland on Saturday.”
Hidden Stash, a colt by Constitution bred in Kentucky by Rhineshire Farm, comes from the family of Grade 1 winner and sire Sky Mesa and Grade 1 winner Maxfield. Vinery Sales, agent for Rhineshire Farm, consigned him to the September Sale, where he sold to BBN for $50,000.
“He was quite immature at the time,” Lynch said, “and I remember thinking that we might have just found a diamond in the rough. Either that or just a piece of coal. Luckily, he’s looking more and more like a diamond.”
Trained by Vicki Oliver, Hidden Stash received his early training at Keeneland. He scored his first career victory here during the 2020 Fall Meet and next won an allowance race at Churchill Downs. Hidden Stash was third in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and second in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his first two starts at 3.
In the Toyota Blue Grass, Hidden Stash drew post 1 and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
“This horse is tactical and can adapt to whatever options are thrown at him,” Lynch said. “He’s a horse that has improved with every race. We’ve been itching to stretch him out, and I think he’s slowly maturing into the kind of horse we hoped he would be. He tries hard every time, and that’s all you can ask these athletes to do.”
TOYOTA BLUE GRASS HORSES ON TRACK FRIDAY MORNING
Entrants in the $800,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) turned in activity Friday morning:
Godolphin’s Essential Quality galloped 1 3/8 miles after the track maintenance break under exercise rider Elver Vargas for trainer Brad Cox. Essential Quality is scheduled to go to the track Saturday morning.
For trainer Vicki Oliver, BBN Racing’s Hidden Stash jogged on the training track a day after a 3-furlong work in :37.20.
Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated galloped after the break under Peter Roman. Trainer Chad Brown is not expected to be at Keeneland Saturday.
Joseph P. Morey Jr. Revocable Trust’s Hush of a Storm galloped at 6 a.m. for trainer Billy Morey.
Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm’s Keepmeinmind galloped after the break, marking his first appearance on Keeneland’s main track since finishing third behind Essential Quality in last November’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Trainer Robertino Diodoro said Keepmeinmind would go to the track in the morning for a light jog.
Bonne Chance Farm’s Leblon galloped at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington. Trainer Paulo Lobo said Leblon would likely walk in the morning before making the short trip to Keeneland for the Toyota Blue Grass.
John and Diane Fradkin’s Rombauer galloped after 6 a.m. under exercise rider Brian O’Leary. Trainer Michael McCarthy will not be at Keeneland Saturday.
Albaugh Family Stables’ Sittin On Go galloped Friday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans.
Team Valor International’s Untreated galloped before the break under Amelia Green. Trainer Todd Pletcher is not expected to be at Keeneland Saturday.
PASS THE CHAMPAGNE TAKING BIG STEP UP IN CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND
Trainer George Weaver almost made a run at the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in 2019, but his entrant, Point ofHonor, did not have enough qualifying points.
On Saturday, Weaver will send out Pass the Champagne for her stakes debut in the $400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), which carries 170 qualifying points toward the April 30 Oaks on a scale of 100-40-20-10 to the first- through fourth-place finishers.
“It is a big step up for her and first time going two turns,” Weaver said Friday morning after the filly galloped on the main track under exercise rider Nick Bush. “Rusty (Arnold) had her the first time she ran, and we liked what we saw in her debut. They (new owners) negotiated a price and bought her with an eye toward the Oaks if we could do it.”
Five weeks after her debut, Pass the Champagne scored her first career win by 2½ lengths for the new ownership group of R. A. Hill Stable, Black Type Thoroughbreds, Rock Ridge Racing, Black Ridge Stables and James Brown.
“We expected her to run well (in her second start),” said Weaver, who will have Javier Castellano aboard Pass the Champagne for the first time in Saturday’s Central Bank Ashland. “We’re going to give it a shot.”
After Point of Honor failed to make the Oaks, she went on to win the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) two weeks later. She would go on to place second in three Grade 1 races and earn more than $700,000.
“They are different horses but I think Pass the Champagne has more natural speed,” Weaver said. “They are both class acting fillies.”
ESTILO TALENTOSO BRINGS ARRIAGADA BACK TO KEENELAND
Juan Arriagada has walked to the horse path to Keeneland’s main track before – just not recently.
“I was here in 2005 with (trainer) John Ward for a few weeks,” Arriagada said. “To come back here now is like a dream.”
What brings Arriagada back to Keeneland is the star of his 17-horse stable, Estilo Talentoso, who will make her Grade 1 debut in Saturday’s $300,000 Madison going 7 furlongs on the main track.
Given time off following a victory in the Escena at Gulfstream in August, Estilo Talentoso finished third in the Wayward Lass at Tampa Bay. In her first venture outside of Florida, she ran second at 18-1 in the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) at Laurel on Feb. 20.
Purchased for $15,000 as a 2-year-old, Estilo Talentoso visited the starting gate Friday morning and then galloped under Arriagada.
“I like to go to the gate with all my horses,” Arriagada said. “It gets them to relax in the gate and they run much better.”
In a seven-horse field loaded with stakes winners, Arriagada knows the Madison represents the biggest challenge to date for his filly, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Maclean’s Music.
“She is doing better than she ever has,” Arriagada said. “Her last two works at Tampa were both bullets. I don’t know if she will win, but if she runs well we will go back home happy.”
DRIVE-THRU WAGERING AT KEENELAND IS OPEN
For the Spring Meet, Keeneland has reopened Drive-Thru Wagering at its traditional location, beginning today and continuing each race day through April 23.
Wagering will open at 8 a.m. and will be available through the start of the feature race.
The public is invited to use Drive-Thru Wagering. Programs and Daily Racing Forms also are available for sale.
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK ONLINE AVAILABILITY OF MEET TICKETS
Fans interested in attending the races during Keeneland’s 15-day Spring Meet, which begins Friday and runs through April 23, are encouraged to check tickets.keeneland.com throughout the season for last-minute ticket and dining packages.
In accordance with Keeneland’s COVID-19 protocols, all tickets are being sold in advance. Because Keeneland is offering a 48-hour return policy for patrons, tickets might become available.
General Admission packages, which include admission, a program and a $10 food and beverage card, remain available for Wednesdays and Thursdays during the meet.
Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach talks to these trainers about their horses competing in Saturday stakes:
Mark Casse on Curlin’s Catch in the Central Bank Ashland (G1), Spanish Loveaffair in the Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association and Turned Aside in the Shakertown (G2).
Michael McCarthy on Rombauer in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and Sanenus (CHI) in the Madison (G1).
Vicki Oliver on Hidden Stash in the Toyota Blue Grass.
John Ortiz on Mucho in the Commonwealth (G3) and Hollis in the Shakertown.
George Weaver on Pass the Champagne in the Central Bank Ashland.
UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES
April 9 races. Entries taken Tuesday.
$300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) – Get Smokin (trainer Tom Bush), Raging Bull (FR) (Chad Brown), Ride a Comet (Mark Casse), Sacred Life (FR) (Brown), Somelikmeithotbrown (Mike Maker). Possible:Hit the Road (Dan Blacker), Smooth Like Strait (Michael McCarthy).
$100,000 Limestone Turf Sprint – Alda (Graham Motion), Feeling Mischief (Michael Campbell), Inajiffy (Joe Sharp), Navratilova (Rusty Arnold), Phantom Vision (Mike Maker), Tobys Heart (Brian Lynch). Possible: Goin Good (Brad Cox), Nimbostratus (FR) (Peter Miller).
April 10 races. Entries taken Wednesday.
$300,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) – Daddy Is a Legend (George Weaver), Etoile (FR) (Chad Brown), Micheline (Mike Stidham), Tamahere (FR) (Brown). Possible: Juliet Foxtrot (GB) (Brad Cox).
$200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) – It’s My House (Robert Hess Jr.), King Fury (Kenny McPeek),Starrininmydreams (Dallas Stewart), Ultimate Badger (Dale Romans). Possible: Unbridled Honor (Todd Pletcher).
$150,000 Ben Ali (G3) – Possible: Fearless (Todd Pletcher), Night Ops (Brad Cox).
$100,000 Giant’s Causeway (L) – Dixieincandyland (Eddie Kenneally), In Good Spirits (Al Stall Jr.), Jakarta (Mike Maker), Karak (Wesley Ward). Possible: Oooh Barracuda (Blake Kelly).