(Keeneland / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

KENTUCKY DERBY HOPEFUL LIKE THE KING WORKS ON GRASS

M Racing Group’s Like the King, winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on the all-weather surface at Turfway Park two weeks ago, worked 6 furlongs over a Keeneland turf course labeled firm in 1:16 Saturday morning.

The work was the first of three at Keeneland that trainer Wesley Ward has scheduled for Like the King in preparation for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

With jockey Drayden Van Dyke aboard, Like the King started far back of workmates Outadore and After Five, passing the former and making up 5 lengths on the latter.

“I wanted to make sure (Like the King) got a lot out of it today,” Ward said. “Those were two good horses in front of him. Outadore was third in the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Turf-G1 Presented by Coolmore America) and After Five was second in the Futurity (G3) at Belmont. He got a good blow today.”

Ward said he told Van Dyke’s agent, Gary Stevens, “that we know he likes the turf.”

“I wanted Drayden on him today because it is only his second time on him. (Like the King’s) next two works will be on the main track with Julio (Garcia) with the last one on Sunday (April 25) if the weather cooperates.”

Van Dyke rode Like the King in the Jeff Ruby and is to ride the colt in the Kentucky Derby.

Like the King, who is third on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 104 points, is scheduled to ship to Churchill after his final work here and gallop over the main track there.

(Raging Bull / Coady Photography)

PLANS TO BE DETERMINED FOR MAKER’S MARK MILE
WINNER RAGING BULL (FR)

Whit Beckman, assistant to trainer Chad Brown, said Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) winner Raging Bull (FR) and third-place finisher Sacred Life (FR) were doing fine Saturday morning.

In the Friday race, Raging Bull made a huge move on the far turn under Irad Ortiz Jr. and then angled out at the top of stretch to sweep past dueling leaders and coast to a 2-length victory.

“I think Irad is head and shoulders above any turf rider in America,” Beckman said. “He saw the opportunity and went on with it.”

Beckman was not sure about whether the stablemates would make a quick turnaround in the
$1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) going 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs on May 1.

“I think he (Brown) has others like (defending champion) Digital Age (IRE) and (Grade 1) winner Domestic Spending (GB),” Beckman said.

One horse considered likely to wheel back in three weeks in the Turf Classic at Churchill is Ride a Comet, who recorded his first Grade 1 placing with Friday’s runner-up finish.

“That’s the plan,” trainer Mark Casse said via text.

Ride a Comet is expected to rejoin Casse’s string at Churchill in the next few days.

Trainer Mike Maker said via text the Turf Classic also was a possibility for Field Pass and Somelikeithotbrown, who finished fourth and seventh, respectively, in the Maker’s Mark Mile. The two are expected to return to Maker’s main base of operations at the Trackside Training Center in Louisville today.

Hit the Road, who finished fifth as the favorite, will return to his home base at Santa Anita on Monday for trainer Dan Blacker.

“He was a little flat yesterday; we learned a lot and we will regroup,” Blacker said of Hit the Road’s first trip out of California. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game against these kinds of horses. I am confident he can compete with these.”

The Shoemaker Mile (G1) on May 31 had been mentioned by Blacker as a next possible spot for Hit the Road, but Saturday morning the trainer said “it is too early to tell on the Shoemaker. The goal is the Breeders’ Cup (Nov. 6 at Del Mar) and we will work backward for that race. I want to have him on his ‘A’ game.”

Trainer Tom Bush said that Get Smokin lost a shoe in the race in which he dueled for the early lead with Somelikeithotbrown through fast fractions before finishing eighth.

“He probably lost it coming out of the gate when he lurched a little after the break,” Bush said. “But that has been taken care of this morning and he is good.”

Get Smokin will head to Bush’s main base at Belmont Park next week with the $250,000 Poker (G3) going a mile on the turf June 20 as a possible target.

(Toby’s Heart / Coady Photography)

NEW YORK MIGHT BE NEXT FOR TVG LIMESTONE TURF SPRINT
WINNER TOBYS HEART

Trainer and part-owner Brian Lynch reported via text from Churchill Downs that Tobys Heart was looking great Saturday morning following her half-length victory in the $100,000 TVG Limestone Turf Sprint Friday afternoon at Keeneland.

Now a winner of three of four career starts, Tobys Heart could surface next in New York.

“I have to put some thought into her next race, but the ($100,000) Soaring Softly (G3) at Belmont comes to mind,” Lynch said of the 7-furlong grass test on May 15.

Friday’s victory marked the second stakes score for Tobys Heart, who closed her brief 2020 campaign with a triumph in the Bolton Landing (L) at Saratoga.


ALWAYS SHOPPING HEADS ROSTER OF 31 NOMINEES
FOR CLOSING-DAY BEWITCH

Repole Stable’s homebred Always Shopping, who has found her niche as a grass marathoner, heads of list of 31 fillies and mares nominated to the 59th running of the $150,000 Bewitch (G3) going 1½ miles on the turf on Friday, April 23. The Bewitch is the closing-day feature of Keeneland’s Spring Meet.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Always Shopping has won three of her past five grass starts. Her lone setbacks came by a head in the 1½-mile Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) here last fall and by a nose to War LikeGoddess, another Bewitch nominee, in last month’s Orchid (G3) at Gulfstream Park going 1 3/8 miles.

Entries for the Bewitch will be taken Sunday, April 18.


GALLOPING OUT

Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach interviewed trainer Kenny McPeek about King Fury in today’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3).

 

UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES

Race Friday, April 16. Entries taken Sunday.

$100,000 Baird Doubledogdare (G3) – Bajan Girl (trainer Rohan Crichton), Bonny South (Brad Cox), Eres Tu (Arnaud Delacour), Graceful Princess (Todd Pletcher), High Regard (Vicki Oliver), Royal Flag(Chad Brown), Speech (Michael McCarthy).

Race Saturday, April 17. Entries taken Wednesday, April 14.

$200,000 Elkhorn (G2) – Crafty Daddy (Kenny McPeek), Fantasioso (ARG) (Ignacio Correas IV),North Dakota (Shug McGaughey), Red Knight (Bill Mott). Possible: Say the Word (Phil D’Amato).

SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS

 

Sunday, April 11

 

For the Kids Club Family Day Presented by Kentucky Children’s Hospital, five lucky families will have the chance to enjoy a day at the races. Kids Club Families will be emailed a registration link to enter to win the contest. Families who are not current members can sign their children up by clicking here and proceed to the contest registration.

 

 

 

 

SPRING MEET LEADERS

 

Through April 9 (5 days of 15-day season)

 

Jockey Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Luis Saez 35 13 3 7 $1,150,446
Joel Rosario 32 9 6 4 $1,078,366
Corey Lanerie 29 3 5 3 $283,778
Tyler Gaffalione 23 3 4 5 $257,167
Irad Ortiz Jr. 12 3 3 1 $273,442
James Graham 18 3 0 1 $134,989

 

Trainer Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Todd Pletcher 10 7 0 1 $615,398
Wesley Ward 15 6 5 1 $563,490
Brad Cox 17 4 5 2 $700,545
Ben Colebrook 9 4 0 1 $130,583

 

Owner Wins
Godolphin (Mohammed Al Maktoum et al) 2
Merriebelle Stable (John Moores and Charles Noell) 2
Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey 2
Shadwell Stable (Rick Nichols) 2
Three Diamonds Farm (Kirk Wycoff) 2