(Master of the Seas will be pointed to Churchill Downs next / All Photos by Coady Photography)

From the Keeneland Media Team / Amy Owens:

GODOLPHIN DUO TOPS FIELD OF 11 FOR VISIT LEX ELKHORN

Bold Act (IRE) and Silver Knott (GB), two overseas invaders from the powerful Godolphin stable, top a field of 11 entered today for next Saturday’s 39th running of the $350,000 VisitLEX Elkhorn (G2) for 4-year-olds and up going 1½ miles on the turf.

The VisitLEX Elkhorn will go as the eighth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 4:44 p.m. ET post time. First post Saturday is 1 p.m.

Trained by Charlie Appleby, Bold Act returns to Keeneland, where he won the Sycamore (G3) last fall. After a nearly five-month layoff, Bold Act opened 2024 with a victory in the Dubai City of Gold (G2) at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates on March 2 going 1½ miles. Frankie Dettori has the mount Saturday from post 4.

Silver Knott, who raced most of 2023 in the U.S – compiling a record of 5-0-1-3 – returns to Keeneland, where he finished second beaten a nose in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Flavien Prat has the mount from post 11.

Also in the field is 2022 Sycamore winner Highland Chief (IRE) for owner Mrs. Fitri Hay and trainer Graham Motion. John Velazquez has the mount from post 3.

The field for the VisitLEX Elkhorn is:

Post Horse Trainer Jockey Weight
1 The Grey Wizard (IRE) Graham Motion Luis Saez 118
2 King Curlin Brittany Vanden Berg Chris Emigh 118
3 Highland Chief (IRE) Graham Motion John Velazquez 118
4 Bold Act (IRE) Charlie Appleby Frankie Dettori 120
5 Dynadrive Mike Maker Rey Gutierrez 118
6 Wentru Will Walden Axel Concepcion 118
7 Winning Spirit (GER) Christophe Clement Tyler Gaffalione 118
8 Foreign Relations Conor Murphy Declan Cannon 118
9 Lucky Curlin Mike Maker Gerardo Corrales 118
10 Missed the Cut John Sadler Irad Ortiz Jr. 118
11 Silver Knott (GB) Charlie Appleby Flavien Prat 118

KINGSBARNS HEADLINES FIELD OF NINE FOR BEN ALI

Spendthrift Farm’s Kingsbarns, winner of the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds last year, heads a field of nine entered for next Saturday’s 93rd running of the $300,000 Ben Ali (G3) for 4-year-olds and up going 1 3/16 miles on the main track.

The Ben Ali will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s program with a 5:16 p.m. ET post time.

Trained by two-time Ben Ali winner Todd Pletcher, Kingsbarns returned to the races March 2 after an 8½-month layoff to win a 7-furlong sprint at Gulfstream Park. Luis Saez has the mount from post 4.

Pletcher also will send out Dynamic One for the partnership of Repole Stable, Phipps Stable and St. Elias Stable. Dynamic One captured the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park in 2022, the same year he was second in the Ben Ali. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount from post 7.

Aiming for a repeat in the Ben Ali is Lucky Seven Stable, which won the race last year with Rattle N Roll. This year the stable will be represented by Smile Happy, a two-time Grade 2 winner. Trained by Kenny McPeek, who has won the Ben Ali three times including with Rattle N Roll, Smile Happy will be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. from post 3.

The field for the Ben Ali is:

Post Horse Trainer Jockey Weight
1 Time for Trouble Jeff Hiles Flavien Prat 118
2 Surly Furious Glenn Wismer Frankie Dettori 118
3 Smile Happy Kenny McPeek Brian Hernandez Jr. 118
4 Kingsbarns Todd Pletcher Luis Saez 118
5 Laughing Boy David Jacobson ReY Gutierrez 118
6 Archie the Giza Robbie Medina John Velazquez 118
7 Dynamic One Todd Pletcher Irad Ortiz Jr. 118
8 Happy American Neil Pessin Corey Lanerie 118
9 War Campaign Phil Sims Tyler Gaffalione 118

 

 

MASTER OF THE SEAS (IRE), OTHER APPLEBY RUNNERS
EYEING CHURCHILL AND AQUEDUCT FOR NEXT STARTS

Early Friday morning, trainer Charlie Appleby took a scouting trip on the stretch of the Keeneland turf course to see what two days of rain had wrought and how it might affect his two runners for Godolphin later in the day in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1).

“It was even across all the way,” Appleby said. “It was a good decision by Keeneland to take two earlier races off the turf, so it was fresh ground and it didn’t matter where you were.”

On a course rated yielding, Master of The Seas (IRE) finished 2¼ lengths in front of stablemate Naval Power (GB) after making a decisive move toward the rail in the upper stretch.

“Master of The Seas took the shortest route, and it was a good decision (by jockey William Buick),” Appleby said.

Godolphin and Appleby have a chance this afternoon to become the first owner-trainer combo to sweep the Maker’s Mark Mile and Jenny Wiley (G1) in the same year when English Rose (IRE) goes to the gate under Buick.

For now, Appleby said Master of The Seas and Naval Power would remain at Keeneland and ship to Churchill Downs, where an option for them might be the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) going a mile and eighth on May 4.

“That would be good for Naval Power to step up to nine (furlongs) off this,” Appleby said. “And there is another race the same day at Aqueduct (the Fort Marcy-G2) at a mile and an eighth.”

The second wave of Godolphin invaders will be arriving soon with targets in Louisville and New York.

Nation’s Pride (IRE) is penciled in for the ($400,000) Man o’ War (G2),” Appleby said of the May 11 race at Aqueduct that would mark the 2024 debut for the three-time Grade 1 winner. “And Legend of Time (GB) is coming for the ($600,000) American Turf (G2) at Churchill (on May 4).”


HOT BEACH KICKS OFF 2024 IN STYLE
WITH FANDUEL LIMESTONE VICTORY

Trainer Brian Lynch reported all was well Saturday morning with Hot Beach following her front-running 4-length victory in Friday’s FanDuel Limestone for 3-year-old fillies.

“She looks good this morning,” Lynch said. “That was a good way to start the campaign.”

Because Friday’s race was taken off the grass and run over a sloppy main track, Hot Beach will have to wait another day to make her turf debut.

“I would really like to try her on the turf,” Lynch said. “She worked well on it at Palm Meadows (training center in Florida).”

The opportunity to race on turf might come next month at Churchill Downs in the $225,000 Mamzelle (L) on May 11.

“That’s 5½ (furlongs) and that is perfect timing,” Lynch said.


SATURDAY WORK TAB

Godolphin’s Pretty Mischievous, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2023, continued her preparations for her 2024 debut in the $1 million La Troienne (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 3 when she worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 over a fast track. She went in company with Godolphin stablemate Loved for trainer Brendan Walsh. Loved is entered in Friday’s Baird Doubledogdare (G3).

Also working toward the Baird Doubledogdare was Alpha Delta Stables’ Raging Sea, who breezed a half-mile in :50.20 for trainer Chad Brown, and Medallion Racing and Joey Platts’ Curl Girl, who completed 5 furlongs in 1:01 for trainer Phil D’Amato.

Working over a yielding turf course, Godolphin’s Silver Knott (GB) and Bold Act (IRE) completed a half-mile in company in :51.60 and :51.80, respectively, for trainer Charlie Appleby for next Saturday’s VisitLEX Elkhorn (G2).


SPRING MEET LEADERS

 

Through April 12 (6 days of 16-day season)

Jockey Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Tyler Gaffalione 40 8 6 5 $1,617,518
Irad Ortiz Jr. 31 7 6 5 $1,177,775
Jose Ortiz 32 7 6 5 $898,489
Junior Alvarado 18 4 5 3 $588,946

Trainer Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Wesley Ward 17 6 2 2 $426,257
Brad Cox 11 4 2 3 $711,225

Owner Wins
Godolphin (Mohammed Al Maktoum, et al) 3
Blue Heaven Farm (Adam Corndorf and Bonnie Baskin) 2
Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) 2
Juddmonte (Fahad bin Khalid) 2
Red, White and Blue Racing (Randy Gullat) 2
Rigney Racing (Richard Rigney) 2
Whisper Hill Farm (Mandy Pope) 2

 

SECOND WEEK SPECIAL EVENTS

Year-round

Official Keeneland Tours. Click here for availability and to purchase.

Through Aug. 16

Keeneland Library is recognizing this year’s historic running of the Toyota Blue Grass at its free exhibit, A Rite of Spring: The 100th Running of the Blue Grass Stakes. The exhibit features photographs that capture race highlights curated from Keeneland Library collections and public submissions from professional and amateur photographers along with memorabilia from noted jockeys Bill Shoemaker, Mike Manganello and Chris Antley and celebrated runners Whirlaway, Riva Ridge, Spectacular Bid and Strike the Gold.

Open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Library is located on the Keeneland campus. Enter Keeneland at Gate 1 on Keeneland Blvd. and take the first right on Entertainment Ct. The Library is to the left of the Keene Barn and Entertainment Center.

Click here for the virtual companion to the exhibit.

Saturday and Sunday

The Hill. Keeneland’s popular tailgating area is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the Spring Meet, weather permitting. No ticket or reservation is required for The Hill, located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center and accessible via Gate 1 (at Man o’ War Blvd.) or Gate 4 (off Van Meter Road on the east side of Keeneland).

Fans on The Hill can watch the racing action via a jumbo TV and place their bets in a wagering tent while they enjoy live music presented by The Burl, food trucks and handicapping assistance from BETologists. Complimentary shuttles to the track are offered.

For fans who want to elevate their experience, Keeneland again is partnering with RevelXP to offer tailgate packages for groups of any size. RevelXP will organize tailgates by furnishing a designated tent, catering, amenities and more. Visit Keeneland.com/tailgating for full details.

The Hill is open from 8 a.m. to 60 minutes after the last race. Amenities are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Keeneland Shop is open from 9 a.m. to 30 minutes following the final race. Milliners Corner, Wagering Central and Finish Line locations also are open on race days.

Saturday, April 13

 

Grade 1 Gamble. The signature handicapping contest of the Spring Meet is the Grade 1 Gamble, which Keeneland is hosting in cooperation with XpressBet, NYRABets, 4NJ Bets, HPI and TVG on the day of the Jenny Wiley (G1), Stonestreet Lexington (G3) and Giant’s Causeway (G3). Entry fee is $3,500 with $2,500 going to a live bankroll and $1,000 to the prize fund. Contestants may play at Keeneland or on one of the aforementioned ADW platforms. Prizes include an estimated $75,000 for first place (based on 300 entries), as many as six berths in the BCBC and 10 spots in the NHC. Click here to register and for more information.

Sunday, April 14

Heroes Day. Event honors members of the military (active duty and veterans), first responders, health care workers and their families. Heroes and their families will receive free general admission, reserved Grandstand seating and a complimentary meal at the North Terrace provided by Marriott Griffin Gate. The day will have special programming on the track, including a flag rollout by the Henry Clay High School Junior ROTC and the singing of “God Bless America” by Dr. Everett McCorvey, and honoree recognitions in the Winner’s Circle.

A POW-MIA Chair of Honor will be displayed near the Paddock to bring awareness to past and current POW-MIA military members through a partnership with The Rolling Thunder Kentucky Chapter 5.

Each hero is eligible to receive up to six complimentary tickets. Visit https://keeneland.com/racing/heroes-day for more information and to reserve complimentary tickets.