From the Media Team at Keeneland:

FORMER BROWN ASSISTANT ABREU CHERISHES FIRST KEENELAND WIN

Jorge Abreu is no stranger to Keeneland’s Winner’s Circle, but Thursday marked the first time he gained entry with his name listed as the triumphant trainer. When asked about the experience the following morning, Abreu took a deep breath and paused before answering.

“I don’t even know how to explain it,” he said. “It was a really special moment.”

The victory was courtesy of first-time starter Themanbehindtheman, who won the 1-mile turf race against 11 rivals by 2¾ lengths. The 3-year-old Quality Road colt is owned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables and Bethlehem Stables.

Abreu has had two other Keeneland starters this season, including Goodthingstaketime (IRE), the third-place finisher in the Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association on April 8.

Abreu spent his early years in the Dominican Republic, where his father was a top jockey. The family relocated to New York in 1984 when his parents obtained jobs at Belmont Park. His father was an exercise rider and his mother was a stablehand, and as a youngster, Abreu spent weekends at the barn.

“They would let me wash the feed tubs, fill the water buckets, things like that,” he said. “That is how I got my start.”

When he turned 16, Abreu started riding the racehorses around the barn. He honed those early skills into full-time work as an exercise rider for leading trainers, including Nick Zito. In 2008, Abreu transferred to the Chad Brown barn and in 2016 opted to begin his own training career. He was an instant success with two victories from as many starts that year. Abreu’s brother, Reynaldo, is one of Brown’s key assistants after several years as a trainer himself.

Jorge Abreu plans to race several horses at Churchill Downs in early May before shipping to Saratoga Race Course well before the racing season begins there.


HUMPHREY ONE VICTORY AWAY FROM KEENELAND MILESTONE

A win by Mines and Magic in today’s ninth race, the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3), will mark owner G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s eighth graded stakes win here and earn for him the Keeneland Tray.

The Keeneland Tray is part of Keeneland’s signature Milestone Trophy Program, which recognizes owners for their stakes success here. Only 20 other owners in Keeneland history have achieved such an accomplishment. The most recent owner to secure a Keeneland Tray was John C. Oxley during the 2017 Spring Meet.


GALLOPING OUT

Stonestreet Lexington (G3) winner My Boy Jack is scheduled to leave Keeneland on Sunday for Churchill Downs, according to Julie Clark, assistant to trainer Keith Desormeaux. …

Quip, runner-up in last Saturday’s Arkansas Derby (G1), will remain at Keeneland another week, according to trainer Rodolphe Brisset. No decision has been made on where Quip will have his final work for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). …

Keeneland racing analyst Tom Leach interviewed these horsemen competing in Keeneland’s next two stakes.

In today’s Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) are jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. on Valadorna and trainer Ben Colebrook on Julerette.

In Saturday’s Dixiana Elkhorn (G2) are jockey Jorge Ricardo on Some in Tieme (BRZ) with trainer Kenny McPeek serving as interpreter and jockey Chris Landeros on One Go All Go. …

Recipients of the 2017 Sovereign Awards as Canada’s champions were announced last night. Among the winners are two alumni of Keeneland sales: Wonder Gadot and Channel Maker.

GRADED STAKES WINNERS MEET IN SATURDAY ALLOWANCE

The highlight of Saturday’s 10-race program is the 33rd running of the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn (G2) for turf marathoners, but the preceding race also figures to offer high entertainment value.

The eighth race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance test, has attracted a field of 10 that includes Grade 3 winners One Liner, Sticksstatelydude and Senior Investment.

The morning-line favorite is WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, SF Racing and Head of Plains Partners’ One Liner.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, One Liner won his first three races and was a leading candidate for last year’s Arkansas Derby (G1) following a daylight victory in the Southwest (G3). But the Southwest victory was the last time One Liner was seen at the races for nearly a year until he returned in a Feb. 9 allowance race at Gulfstream Park, where he chased the likes of three-time Grade 1 winner Mind YourBiscuits in finishing third.

“He has been training good (at Palm Beach Downs training center in Florida),” said Ginny DePasquale, who is overseeing Pletcher’s Keeneland string. “He got here Tuesday and if all goes well Saturday, he will go on to Belmont.”

Sticksstatelydude returns to race at Keeneland for the first time since finishing fourth in the 2015 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1). The 5-year-old has only started 13 times in his four-year racing career.

“It tests your patience,” trainer Greg Burchell said of his lone runner’s racing schedule. “He has battled tendon issues all along and he had a bowed tendon after the Breeders’ Futurity and I stopped on him. I always try to do what’s right by the horse.”

Owned by the partnership of Alvin Haynes Jr., John Ferris, Pack Pride Racing, Mitch Haynes and Brad Ward, Sticksstatelydude made three unsuccessful starts at the recently completed Oaklawn Park meet, but Burchell said, “He is better than he has been in a while.”

Burchell has shared the training duties with Sticksstatelydude with Kiaran McLaughlin, who has been the trainer of record when the horse has run in New York.

“We will see how he does Saturday and I may run him back Derby Day,” Burchell said. “I know it is a little quick, but he is doing well. After that, I may give him to Kiaran.”

Fern Circle Stables’ Senior Investment, trained by Kenny McPeek, won the Stonestreet Lexington (G3) here last year prior to running third in the Preakness (G1).