(Letruska / Photos by Holly M. Smith)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
LETRUSKA READY TO ROLL IN JUDDMONTE SPINSTER
St. George Stable’s Letruska jogged once around the main track Saturday morning as she readied herself for a run in Sunday’s $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1).
A winner of four consecutive races, including three Grade 1s, Letruska schooled in the Paddock during Friday afternoon’s third race and was a bundle of energy.
“That is normal for her,” trainer Fausto Gutierrez said. “We like to school two or three days before a race and on race day, she is good.”
Since winning the Personal Ensign (G1) Presented by Lia Infiniti on Aug. 28 at Saratoga, Letruska has recorded two bullet works here in preparation for the Juddmonte Spinster. The stakes will serve as her final prep race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Del Mar on Nov. 6.
“I like to spend a lot of time here, and she knows this track very well,” said Gutierrez, who initially brought Letruska to Keeneland in May after she defeated champion Monomoy Girl in the Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
Letruska did the bulk of her work here prior to winning the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont in June and the Personal Ensign.
JUJU’S MAP, SPECIAL RESERVE SET TO RETURN TO LOUISVILLE
The two stakes winners on Friday, opening day of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet – Albaugh Family Stables’ Juju’s Map, the 4¼-length winner of the Darley Alcibiades (G1), and Paradise Farm Corp. and David Staudacher’s Special Reserve, winner of the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2), both spent the night at Keeneland following their triumphs.
“She’s good and happy this morning,” reported Tessa Bisha, assistant to Brad Cox about Juju’s Map, who earned a starting berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run at Del Mar Nov. 5. “She is leaving this morning to go back to Churchill Downs.”
Special Reserve, who earned a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Nov. 6 at Del Mar, is scheduled to return to trainer Mike Maker’s main base at the Trackside Training Center in Louisville. Maker indicated that Special Reserve would ship to Del Mar on Oct. 31.
McPEEK HOPES TO HAVE A BLAST WITH TIZ THE BOMB
IN SUNDAY’S CASTLE & KEY BOURBON
Like father, like son?
Trainer Kenny McPeek hopes that is the case Sunday afternoon when he sends out Tiz the Bomb in the Castle & Key Bourbon (G2), a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 5 at Del Mar.
“He’s a very good horse,” McPeek said about the son of Hit It a Bomb, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf here in 2015. “I would have run him in the (Claiborne) Breeders’ Futurity (G1) if the owner (Phoenix Thoroughbred III Ltd.) didn’t have another one (Double Thunder) in there.”
Tiz the Bomb enters Sunday’s Castle & Key Bourbon off a victory in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile on Sept. 6 in his turf debut. Prior to that victory, Tiz the Bomb won an off-the-turf maiden race at Ellis Park by 14¼ lengths.
McPeek has won the Bourbon three times, most recently with Lawn Ranger in 2014.
In the race preceding the Bourbon, McPeek will send out Three Chimneys Farm and Walking L Thoroughbreds’ Envoutante in the Juddmonte Spinster (G1).
McPeek is seeking his third victory in the race, having repeated with Take Charge Lady in 2002-2003. “It’s a tough race,” he said.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP PRESENTED BY DIXIANA
INVITEES TEST KEENELAND TURF COURSE
Three fillies who were extended invitations to next Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana tested the Keeneland turf course Saturday morning.
Trainer Chad Brown’s stakes-winning duo of Shantisara (IRE) and Technical Analysis (IRE) worked 5 furlongs together in 1:03.40 and 1:03.60, respectively. Trainer Donnacha O’Brien’s Nicest (IRE) worked 5 furlongs in 1:06 with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard.
Also working on the course labeled good was Diamond Wow for trainer Patrick Biancone.
With assistant Andie Biancone aboard, Diamond Wow breezed 3 furlongs in :39.80 for Wednesday’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2). Diamond Wow was scratched out of Friday’s Darley Alcibiades (G1) after drawing post 11.
“I think she would have been competitive yesterday,” Andie Biancone said about Diamond Wow, who drew the far outside post 14 for the Jessamine. “I am not as concerned with the outside draw on the turf as on the dirt.”
The weanling half-sister to Friday’s Darley Alcibiades (G1) winner, Juju’s Map, is cataloged to the upcoming Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, to be held Nov. 10-19. Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, has consigned the daughter of Audible, who is Hip 1801 and scheduled to sell Nov. 14. Click here for her catalog page.
Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach talks to trainer Brendan Walsh about two runners in today’s stakes, and NBC’s Nick Luck discusses the European runners in the Keeneland Turf Mile (G1) and First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare.
PROSPECTIVE FIELDS FOR UPCOMING STAKES
BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY (G3) (Entries taken Sunday, Oct. 10; race Friday Oct. 15) – Probable: Ambassador Luna (trainer Ben Colebrook), Campanelle (IRE) (Wesley Ward), Catch a Bid (Joe Sharp), In Good Spirits (Al Stall Jr.), Jakarta (Mike Maker), Strong Odor (Maker), Time Limit (Maker), Violenza (Ian Wilkes), Yes It’s Ginger (Greg Foley).
QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP (G1) PRESENTED BY DIXIANA (Entries taken Wednesday, Oct. 13; race Saturday, Oct. 16) – Invitees: Army Wife (Mike Maker), Burning Ambition (Brad Cox), Closing Remarks (Carla Gaines), Cloudy Dawn (IRE) (William Haggas), Empress Josephine (IRE) (Aidan O’Brien), Flippant (Vicki Oliver), Lady Speightspeare (Roger Attfield), Nicest (IRE) (Donnacha O’Brien), Queen Goddess (Michael McCarthy), Shantisara (IRE) (Chad Brown), Technical Analysis (IRE) (Brown).
FALL STARS WEEKEND SPECIAL EVENTS
Official Keeneland Tours. A variety of guided walking tours showcase Keeneland’s Thoroughbred racing and sales operations. Click here for more information.
Every race day (Oct. 8-30)
The new Keeneland Turf Pick 3 wager will be offered on the final three turf races each race day. The minimum wager is $3 and will follow the same rules as the traditional Pick 3. The new wager has a 15 percent takeout, the same low takeout as Keeneland’s popular Pick 5 wager.
Keeneland Select Handicapping Challenge. Sport of Kings, the free horse racing contest website, has this new free online handicapping contest for casual fans and serious horseplayers. The contest requires participants to make mythical selections on two Keeneland races for each day of the meet. Two seats to the 2022 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship will be awarded. To sign up, click here.
Every Friday and Saturday of Fall Meet
The Hill. At this popular tailgating area, fans can watch and wager while enjoying the racing action from the Jumbotron and wagering tent, while food trucks and live music presented by The Burl create a festive atmosphere. No ticket or reservation is required for The Hill.
Friday, Oct. 8 through Sunday, Oct. 10
The Keeneland Shop Presents “Meet the Maker” at Milliners Corner with Christine A. Moore Millinery.
Every Saturday of Fall Meet
Sunrise Trackside. This free Saturday morning program is geared toward families and offers a unique view of Thoroughbreds during training hours. Children’s activities from 8-10 a.m. include a meet and greet with Keeneland mascot Buckles, along with face painting, games and more. Fans can purchase coffee and donuts while watching horses train. The Keeneland Track Kitchen at the east end of the stable area (with no track view) is open for breakfast that includes “grab and go” and seating options. A 30-minute Paddock demonstration by an equine-related operation begins at 10 a.m. Mini tours of Keeneland will be available at the Welcome Stand in the Paddock.
$300,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Saturday Pick 5 and $400,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Saturday Pick 4.
Saturday, Oct. 9 and Sunday, Oct. 10
Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Pick 6, featuring races on both days from Belmont Park and Keeneland.