Keeneland Barn Notes: Castellano To Ride Vekoma in KY Derby

(Javier Castellano will ride Blue Grass winner Vekoma in KY Derby  / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Trainer George Weaver said Tuesday morning that Javier Castellano, who rode Vekoma to victory in the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) here on April 6, will have the mount in the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on May 4 at Churchill Downs.

Owned by the partnership of R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables, Vekoma returned to Palm Beach Downs training center in South Florida last Tuesday. Weaver said the colt is scheduled to work there Friday with plans to ship to Churchill on April 30 for the Derby.

Quip Returns to Trainer Brisset at Keeneland:

WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing’s Quip, winner of Saturday’s $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at Oaklawn Park, is back at trainer Rodolphe Brisset’s Keeneland barn.

Quip gave Brisset, who saddled his first starter in May 2017, his fourth graded stakes victory and the richest win of his career. Brisset said the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) on May 17 at Pimlico or the $600,000 Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs on June 15 are possibilities for Quip’s next start.

Oxy Lady To Skip KY Oaks; Get Some Rest:

Trainer Jack Sisterson said Calumet Farm’s Oxy Lady, who stood 20th on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) leaderboard, would be getting a rest following her 10th-place finish in Friday’s Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park. “She has raced all over,” Sisterson said. “We will shoot for a midsummer campaign.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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