(Highly Motivated, on the inside, works at Keeneland on Sunday morning in preparation for the 147th running of the KY Derby / Coady Photography)

From the Keeneland Media Team:


Klaravich Stables’ homebred Highly Motivated, runner-up to champion Essential Quality in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) here April 3, began his final preparation for an expected run in the
$3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve by working a half-mile in :47.20 over a fast main track Sunday morning at Keeneland.

The move was the best of 27 at the distance. (Click here for a video of the work.)

Trained by Chad Brown, Highly Motivated worked in company with Founder, who was fifth behind Essential Quality in the 2020 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. The two came on the track shortly after 9 a.m. and worked on even terms through fractions of :12.20, :23.60, :36 and :47.20 with Highly Motivated galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:00.20 and 6 furlongs in 1:15.60.

Highly Motivated set Keeneland’s track record for 6½ furlongs with his 1:14.99 clocking in winning the Nyquist Stakes during the first day of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The colt is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs Monday, April 19 with Brown slated to arrive in Louisville on Wednesday, April 21.


Trainer Bill Mott’s duo of War Like Goddess and Delta’s Kingdom headlines a field of 12 fillies and mares entered Sunday for the 59th running of the $150,000 Bewitch (G3) on Friday, April 23. The race is the closing-day feature of the 15-day Spring Meet.

The 1½-mile grass test is scheduled as the ninth race with a 5:30 p.m. post time on the 10-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m.

George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess enters the Bewitch off a nose victory in last month’s Orchid (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Julien Leparoux, who was aboard for the Orchid victory, has the call as he seeks his third victory in the race. War Like Goddess will start from post eight.

Mott, who has won the Bewitch three times, also will send out Delta’s Kingdom for Maram LLC. Fourth in the Orchid, Delta’s Kingdom began the year with a runner-up finish in the La Prevoyante (G3). Luis Saez has the mount and will start from post two.

Also figuring to attract support is Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb and First Row Partners’ Kalifornia Queen (GER) trained by Chad Brown, who won the Bewitch in 2016 with Olorda (GER).

A Group 2 winner last year in Germany, Kalifornia Queen finished sixth in The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream in February in her U.S. debut. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount and will start from post six.

The field for the Bewitch, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Cambeliza (Hector Diaz Jr., 120 pounds), Delta’s Kingdom (Saez, 118), Three Flamingos (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Dominga (Florent Geroux, 118), Pass the Plate (Rafael Bejarano, 118), Kalifornia Queen (GER) (Gaffalione, 118), Dalika (GER) (Miguel Mena, 118), War Like Goddess (Leparoux, 120), Gun Society(Adam Beschizza, 118), Margaret’s Joy (Joe Talamo, 118), English Affair (Corey Lanerie, 118) and Court Return (John Velazquez, 118).


Agave Racing Stable and Sam-Son Farm’s Canadian champion Say the Word, winner of Saturday’s Elkhorn (G2) by 1½ lengths, was scheduled to head to Churchill Downs Sunday morning and join the rest of trainer Phil D’Amato’s Kentucky string.

The victory in the 1½-mile Elkhorn was the second graded stakes triumph at the distance for Say the Word. The other came last year in the Northern Dancer Turf (G1) Presented by Pattison at Woodbine.

The Churchill stakes schedule has the $125,000 Louisville (G3) going 1½ miles on the turf slated for May 15, a race that could attract Elkhorn runner-up Channel Cat and fourth-place finisher Fantasioso (ARG).

“He showed signs that he was going to run a good one,” trainer Jack Sisterson said of Calumet Farm’s Channel Cat, whose effort Saturday produced his best result since winning the Bowling Green (G2) in 2019 while racing for Todd Pletcher. “He had not trained that well coming into a race since we have had him.”

Sisterson mentioned after the race that the $750,000 Manhattan (G1) at 1¼ miles on June 5 might be a possibility but noted Sunday morning, “if we take the conservative route, we may do that (the Louisville).”

Bloom Racing Stable and I. C. Racing’s Fantasioso rallied from last in the field of eight, finishing less than a length out of second place in his U.S. debut.

“He came out of the race well, and I was very happy with his race,” trainer Ignacio Correas IV said. “The plan is to go on to the Louisville.”







Through April 17 (11 days of 15-day season)


Jockey Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Luis Saez 76 26 13 16 $1,914,122
Joel Rosario 57 14 8 8 $1,329,819
Tyler Gaffalione 51 12 8 6 $815,941
John Velazquez 35 7 3 6 $416,105
James Graham 46 6 2 7 $282,139
Irad Ortiz Jr. 24 5 7 3 $499,142


Trainer Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Wesley Ward 38 13 9 6 $949,949
Brad Cox 24 9 6 2 $1,117,409
Todd Pletcher 18 9 1 5 $765,762
Ben Colebrook 15 6 0 2 $241,140
Mike Maker 31 5 5 5 $358,610


Owner Wins
Juddmonte (Fahad bin Khalid) 4
Three Diamonds Farm (Kirk Wycoff) 3
Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) 2
Castleton Lyons (Shane Ryan) 2
Godolphin (Mohammed Al Maktoum et al) 2
Merriebelle Stable (John Moores and Charles Noell) 2
Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey 2
Nathan Sea 2
Shadwell Stable (Rick Nichols) 2