(Keeneland / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Keeneland Media Team:


At 9 a.m. Saturday, M Racing Group’s Like the King continued his preparation for a start in the
$3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 1 by working 6 furlongs in company in 1:12.80 over a fast main track. (Click here for a video of the work.)

With Julio Garcia aboard, Like the King started 3 lengths in back of 2020 Canadian champion female sprinter Artie’s Princess and drew even at the sixteenth pole.

At the conclusion of the work, trainer Wesley Ward and Gary Stevens, agent for Drayden Van Dyke, who will have the Derby mount, exchanged fist bumps with enthusiasm.

“That was a good work and the horse he worked with is a champion,” Ward said. “He’ll work again next Saturday or Sunday.”

Winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) in his most recent start, Like the King  worked 6 furlongs on the turf in 1:16 in company here on April 10.

Like the King is expected to van to Churchill Downs on Tuesday, April 27.

(Trainer Wesley Ward / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)


The Spring Meet juggernaut that is Wesley Ward continued Friday when the Keeneland-based trainer picked up his 12th victory of the season with Douglas Scharbauer’s homebred Red Ghost in the seventh race. Ward has a three-win margin over Brad Cox and a four-win advantage on Todd Pletcher after 10 days of the 15-day meet, which concludes April 23.

Ward has saddled a winner on seven of the nine racing days in which he has had a starter. He won both 2-year-old races Thursday to give him 21 victories in juvenile races here dating back to the 2018 Spring Meet.

Ward, who has entrants in four races this afternoon, is on the verge of a seventh meet title that would vault him into a tie for third with Henry Forrest all time here. Now with 193 career victories, he ranks seventh all time at Keeneland.

Ward has won four 2021 Spring Meet stakes: Madison (G1) with Kimari, Shakertown (G2) with Bound for Nowhere, Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select with Twenty Cart and Palisades Turf Sprint with Chasing Artie. The total equals the record for most Spring Meet stakes victories shared by Ben Jones (1948), Todd Pletcher (2011) and Chad Brown (2018).

With 19 career stakes wins at Keeneland, Ward is tied with Hall of Famers Carl Nafzger and Woody Stephens on 13th place on the list of the track’s leading trainers by stakes wins.

(Bonnie South / Coady Photography)


Juddmonte’s Bonny South, gritty winner of Friday’s 1 1/16-mile Baird Doubledogdare (G3), came out of her narrow victory in good order, according to Tessa Bisha, assistant to trainer Brad Cox.

“She stayed over last night and will get a couple of days here to eat some grass,” Bisha said.

Baldo Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown, said W.S. Farish’s Royal Flag came out of her runner-up effort fine.

Whisper Hill Farm’s Graceful Princess, who finished third, returned to Churchill Downs after the race to rejoin trainer Todd Pletcher’s string and was doing well Saturday morning.

Plans are to be determined for Eres Tu, who ran fourth for owners Ed Seltzer and Beverly Anderson.

“After the race we talked about giving her a break,” said trainer Arnaud Delacour, who previously mentioned the $150,000 Allaire duPont (G3) going 1 1/8 miles at Pimlico on May 14 as a possible next stop. “We will talk again and see (about the duPont).”


(Keepmeinmind / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm’s Keepmeinmind on Saturday worked 5 furlongs on his own in 1:00.60 over a fast main track in his first work since finishing fifth in the April 3 Toyota Blue Grass (G2). (Click here for a video of the work.)

Trainer Robertino Diodoro said via text that no firm plans have been made for the next start for Keepmeinmind, who finished second in last fall’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and third in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance here.

Keepmeinmind is 24th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. The $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve is limited to the top 20 nominated point earners at entry time. There can be as many as four also-eligibles for the race.

Diodoro said Keepmeinmind would go to Churchill Downs Sunday. …

Stuart Janney III’s Scarlett Sky, winner of Keeneland’s Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) on April 2, worked a half-mile over a turf course listed as good in :50.40 for trainer Shug McGaughey. Scarlett Sky is expected to run next in the $500,000 American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs on
May 1.


According to Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Tiffany Bourque, probable starters in the $150,000 Bewitch (G3) on April 23, closing day of the Spring Meet, are Cambeliza (trainer Arnaud Delacour), Dominga (Brad Cox), English Affair (Rusty Arnold), Kalifornia Queen (GER) (Chad Brown), Margaret’s Joy (Michelle Nihei) and Three Flamingos (Cherie DeVaux). Possible starters are Daddy Is a Legend (George Weaver) and Dalika (GER) (Al Stall Jr.). Entries will be taken Sunday, April 18.



Through April 16 (10 days of 15-day season)


Jockey Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Luis Saez 67 22 10 15 $1,637,858
Joel Rosario 51 13 8 8 $1,272,164
Tyler Gaffalione 46 10 8 6 $739,826
John Velazquez 29 7 2 5 $381,125
James Graham 40 6 2 5 $270,370
Irad Ortiz Jr. 24 5 7 3 $499,142


Trainer Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Wesley Ward 33 12 8 5 $876,852
Brad Cox 24 9 6 2 $1,117,409
Todd Pletcher 16 8 1 5 $711,998
Ben Colebrook 14 6 0 2 $241,035
Chad Brown 21 4 6 2 $656,531
Mike Maker 27 4 4 5 $317,145
Rusty Arnold 13 4 2 3 $225,905


Owner Wins
Juddmonte (Fahad bin Khalid) 4
Three Diamonds Farm (Kirk Wycoff) 3
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
Shadwell Stable (Rick Nichols) 2