Keeneland Barn Notes: Eye of a Soldier Has Family Ties to Lexington Track

(Keeneland Starting Gate / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Keeneland Media Team:


Ten years ago, Eye of Taurus raced to victory in the second division of the Pin Oak Valley View (G3) for owner Harvey Clarke and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

On Wednesday, her daughter Eye of a Soldier will go postward in the 29th running of the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2), a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that awards the winner a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.

Owned by the Estate of Harvey Clarke and Paul Braverman, Eye of a Soldier arrived at Keeneland Monday morning from Monmouth Park, where she has posted a 2-1-1-0 record under the care of trainer Timothy Hills.

“Mr. Clarke died earlier this year, and his wife, Donna, and son, Scott, have continued the stable and kept me on as part of the team,” Hills said. Braverman bought into the filly after her second start.

A daughter of Soldat, who campaigned for a partnership that included Clarke and Braverman, Eye of a Soldier comes into Wednesday’s race off a 15¼-length off-the-turf romp at Monmouth on Sept. 7.

“Her rider, Chris DeCarlo, thinks she is stakes material,” Hills said. “She was ready to run the first time she raced and she ran very well against the boys going two turns on the grass. The way she won in her second start, I was not surprised at all. She was just galloping off the leaders. It was visually impressive.”

Eye of a Soldier has had three works on the dirt at Monmouth since that victory, the most recent being a 1:00 move over 5 furlongs on Oct. 2.

“She trains really strong, and her pedigree suggests she’d be good (on turf),” said Hills, who has started 25 horses here dating back to 1976 with five victories that includes a score in the 2003 Woodford with Joe’s Son Joey.

DeCarlo will have the mount Wednesday and break from post position 13 in the 1 1/16-mile test that serves as the year’s final “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup.

“Wednesday’s race is a little close to the Breeders’ Cup, but if she is impressive, it would be a consideration,” Hills said.

Clarke bred champion I’ll Have Another, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1).



Godolphin’s Castle Lady (IRE) arrived at the Keeneland quarantine barn Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. for an expected start in Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1).

Trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, Castle Lady has not raced since she was fifth in the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot in England in June. She has won three of four starts with her most recent victory coming in the Emirates Poule d’Essai del Pouliches (G1) at Longchamp in France in May.



$500,000 QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP PRESENTED BY LANE’S END-G1 (Entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday) – Invited horses: Café Americano (trainer Chad Brown), Cambier Parc (Brown), Carnival Colors (GB) (Mike Stidham), Castle Lady (IRE) (Henri-Alex Pantall), Kelsey’s Cross (Patrick Biancone), Lady Prancealot (IRE)  (Richard Baltas), Magnetic Charm(GB) (William Haggas), Maxim Rate (Simon Callaghan), Princesa Carolina (Kenny McPeek), Regal Glory (Brown), Varenka (Graham Motion).



All Year

Official Keeneland Tours – A variety of guided walking tours showcase Keeneland’s racing and sales operations. Click here for more information.


Through March 2020

The Keeneland Library Presents “A Day in the Life: Volume I” – This new exhibit features the work of early Turf photographer John C. Hemment. The Keeneland Library is home to the largest known surviving body of work of Hemment, a photographer during the late 19th and early 20th century. A virtual counterpart of the Hemment exhibit is at Celebrating its 80thanniversary this year, the Library is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, Oct. 9

WINS-Day Challenge Sponsored by Malone’s – Handicappers of all levels can test their skills through this contest, which has a guaranteed $2,500 pool. The entry fee is $10.

Thursday, Oct. 10

Make-A-Wish Day – For 12 years, Keeneland and local Thoroughbred farms and organizations have granted wishes for deserving children of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Children and their families will receive a VIP experience at Keeneland that includes presenting a trophy after each race and meeting jockeys. Racing fans may make a donation to Make-A-Wish in the Wishing Well near the Keeneland Paddock. This year’s sponsors are Ashford Stud, Claiborne Farm, Denali Stud, Flaxman Holdings/Frizzy Foundation, Gainesway Farm, Godolphin, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Horse Country, Keeneland, Lane’s End Farm, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Shadwell Farm, Spendthrift Farm, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC, Stonestreet Farm, Taylor Made Stallions and WKYT.

The Keeneland Shop presents Milliners Corner with Dorfman Pacific.

Friday, Oct. 11

Big Blue Day at the Races – Keeneland will welcome Big Blue Nation the day before the University of Kentucky football team hosts the University of Arkansas. UK students, alumni, faculty and staff will receive free general admission and access to reserved Grandstand seating with valid UK IDs, and other special activities throughout the day will help fans cheer for the Wildcats.


Buffalo Trace Giveaway – On the day the Buffalo Trace Franklin County is the featured race, fans can enter to win a VIP Buffalo Trace Distillery Experience. The first 2,000 people to register will receive a free Buffalo Trace drawstring bag with a pair of Buffalo Trace sunglasses.


The Hill – Keeneland’s official tailgate lot features a jumbo screen to watch live racing and football, wagering booths, live music, local food trucks and free shuttles to the Grandstand.


$200,000-guaranteed Friday Pick Four Presented by TVG.


The Keeneland Shop presents Milliners Corner with Dorfman Pacific and Forme Millinery.

Saturday, Oct. 12


Sunrise Trackside – Families, out-of-town guests, longtime Keeneland fans and others will enjoy spending a morning at the track before the races begin. Watch racehorses train over the track and enjoy Breakfast With the Works and trackside commentary (7-8:30 a.m.); take photos with a life-size cutout of Secretariat (7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.); children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7:30-9:30 a.m.); free guided tours of the grounds (7:30-10 a.m.) and a demonstration by the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center in the Paddock (9 a.m.).


Secretariat Festival – Keeneland is the new home of this annual event that celebrates the beloved Triple Crown winner. The Secretariat Bronze Monument created by Jocelyn Russell and commissioned by the City of Lexington – and set to be permanently located in the roundabout at Old Frankfort Pike and Alexandria Drive in Lexington – will be unveiled outside the main entrance of the Keeneland Sales Pavilion at 10:45 a.m. Click here for more information about the festival. Events in the Sales Pavilion will take place from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The Hill – Keeneland’s official tailgate lot features a jumbo screen to watch live racing and football, wagering booths, live music, local food trucks and free shuttles to the Grandstand.

Keeneland Fall Challenge handicapping contest. Click here for more information and to register.

The Keeneland Shop presents Milliners Corner with Dorfman.


$300,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 Presented by TVG

Sunday, Oct. 13

Kids Club Family Day – The Keeneland Kids Club is for fans 12 and younger. A day at the races for members and their families will include free general admission, access to reserved Grandstand seating and special activities including taking photos with a life-size cutout of Triple Crown winner Secretariat.

Secretariat Festival – This annual event celebrates the beloved Triple Crown winner. Click here for more information about the festival. Events in Keeneland’s Sales Pavilion take place from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

handicapping tournament – The tournament, which drew a record 171 entries in 2018, will award as many as five spots to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at Santa Anita and eight spots to the National Handicapping Challenge in Las Vegas in 2020. Clickhere for more information and to register.

The Keeneland Shop presents Milliners Corner with Dorfman.



Through Oct. 6 (3 days of 17-day season)



Javier Castellano21744$904,654
Jose Ortiz26552$869,861
Florent Geroux19331$268,960
Joel Rosario15233$543,313
Julien Leparoux20232$320,658
Corey Lanerie17220$144,326


Mark Casse15241$462,772
Brad Cox8220$387,505
Mike Maker7220$158,887
Brendan Walsh6210$405,206
Arnaud Delacour4210$115,500
Chad Brown6201$358,625
Peter Miller3200$187,972


Godolphin (Mohammed Al Maktoum et al)2



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

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