(Maxim Rate / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)

From the Keeneland Media Team:


Slam Dunk Racing and James Branham’s Maxim Rate makes her return to Keeneland in Saturday’s 33rd running of the $300,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1), and her connections are looking for a better outcome than her initial appearance here in 2019.

“She is a different filly now,” said Carlos Santamaria, assistant to trainer Simon Callaghan. “When she ran here before (a seventh-place finish in the Pin Oak Valley View-G3), she was starting to get a little sour on us.”

After a freshening, Maxim Rate came back with a solid 2020 in which she compiled a 6-3-2-0 record that included a 2½-length victory in the Goldikova (G2) at Santa Anita.

She closed 2020 with a fifth-place finish in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar.

“She only got beat 2 lengths at Del Mar and numbers-wise, that was one of her best races,” Santamaria said. “We gave her another break after that, and she liked the time off.”

Maxim Rate jogged 2 miles Friday morning and will jog another mile early Saturday morning before the Coolmore Jenny Wiley. She will be reunited in the stakes with jockey Umberto Rispoli, who was aboard for her three victories in 2020.

“We had pointed her to the race last weekend at Santa Anita (the $200,000 Royal Heroine-G2) or this one,” Santamaria said. “But Mr. Branham lives here and wanted to see her run, so we came here.”



Going into Saturday’s final two races that award qualifying points for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve, Reddam Racing’s homebred Hockey Dad sits in 25th place on the leaderboard with the 20 points he picked up for finishing third in the March 27 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park.

Saturday’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3) at Keeneland offers 34 Derby points on a 20-8-4-2 scale to the first- through fourth-place finishers. A win or a second-place finish – coupled with the result of the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park – could vault Hockey Dad into the top 20 and a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs May 1.

Hockey Dad has been at Keeneland since the Jeff Ruby. Trainer Doug O’Neill said via text that the decision to supplement the son of champion and 2016 Derby winner Nyquist into the Stonestreet Lexington for $6,000 was made in the past few days.

“It was better to stay here than to go back to California and then come back again,” said O’Neill assistant Sabas Rivera, who is overseeing Hockey Dad’s preparation at Keeneland while stabled in the barn of former O’Neill assistant Jack Sisterson. “He is doing very well, and I think he will run big.”

“We’ll see how Saturday goes,” O’Neill texted regarding a possible Derby bid for Hockey Dad. “He’s a very talented son of Nyquist.”

O’Neill and owner Paul Reddam already have two Kentucky Derby victories to their credit with I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Nyquist.

O’Neill has one other runner in California ready to go to Churchill: Hot Rod Charlie. Owned by the partnership of Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing and William Strauss, Hot Rod Charlie won the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) in his most recent start and was second at Keeneland last fall to champion Essential Quality in the TVG Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

Hot Rod Charlie is expected to ship to Churchill Derby Week.

(Silver Dust / Photo by Holly M. Smith)


Tom Durant’s veteran Silver Dust can inch closer to the million-dollar mark in earnings Saturday should he capture the 1 1/8-mile, $150,000 Ben Ali (G3) and its $90,000 top prize.

Trained by Bret Calhoun, the 7-year-old Silver Dust is a three-time Grade 3 winner with four other placings in graded events in his career that began in the fall of 2016. Silver Dust owns a record of 32-6-7-5 for earnings of $885,677.

“Last year, he was all dressed up with nowhere to go because of the pandemic,” Calhoun said. “There were a lot of races that went away and now there are plenty of races for older horses.”

Silver Dust will be making his second start of the year Saturday after closing 2020 with a 10th-place finish at Keeneland in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

“I ran him on the grass at Fair Grounds (March 7) because he could walk right out of his stall and not have to ship for a dirt race,” Calhoun said. “He got enough out of it that it set him up well for this spot. This is the right spot at the right time.”


WinStar Farm and CHC Inc.’s Sainthood, second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park on March 27, on Friday worked a half-mile in company in :48.60 over a fast track with Amelia Green in the saddle.

Sainthood, trained by Todd Pletcher, accumulated 40 points toward the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve, a total that ranks 18th on the Derby leaderboard with two points races remaining. The Derby is limited to the top 20 point earners that pass the entry box.

“We are planning on it,” WinStar President/CEO and Racing Manager Elliott Walden said of running in the Derby. “He worked great. It was textbook.”

Working with maiden winner Donegal Bay, Sainthood produced fractions of :12.80, :24.60 and :48.60 and then galloped out five-eighths in 1:01, 6 furlongs in 1:13.80 and seven-eighths in 1:27.60.

Sainthood is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs Sunday morning after training hours. …

Ferrin Peterson, who has been riding races for four years, is scheduled for her first Keeneland mount Friday afternoon when she rides Alex Campbell Jr.’s Bernadette the Jet for trainer Graham Motion in the fourth race.

“I have been to Keeneland many times, but it never coincided with a race meet,” said Peterson who came to Keeneland to gallop horses for Motion when Laurel was shut down because of equine herpesvirus. “Laurel is back open now and I am going back this weekend, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to ride here for Graham.” …

Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach talked to these trainers about horses in upcoming stakes.

Richard Baltas on Noble Reflection in Saturday’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3).

Dan Blacker on Hit the Road in Friday’s Maker’s Mark Mile (G1).

Brad Cox on his two Friday entrants, Goin’ Good in the TVG Limestone Turf Sprint and Darain (GB) in the Maker’s Mark Mile.

Mike Maker on Field Pass and Somelikeithotbrown in the Maker’s Mark Mile.



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), His Glory (Joe Sharp), 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), Red Knight (Bill Mott).



Friday, April 9


The popular College Scholarship Day Presented by Lane’s End is being held virtually. Students may click here to pre-register by 5 p.m. today for a chance to win one of $35,000 in scholarships or a prize package provided by a local Lexington business. Lane’s End is giving two students a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship and enjoy a day at the races. Coca-Cola and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, additional sponsors of the event, will give away a total of $25,000 in scholarships.


Saturday, April 10

On the day of the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1), Stonestreet Lexington (G3), Ben Ali (G3) and Giant’s Causeway (L), Keeneland will hold the $3,000 Grade One Gamble handicapping contest.  Prizes include cash and as many as six berths in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and 10 spots in the National Horseplayers Championship. The Grade One Gamble is open to players who use an ADW. The deadline to enter is noon on April 10. (Click here for more information and to enter.)

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.



Through April 8 (4 days of 15-day season)


Jockey Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Luis Saez 28 12 3 5 $1,109,056
Joel Rosario 28 8 6 3 $1,007,539
Corey Lanerie 21 3 5 1 $273,245
James Graham 16 3 0 1 $133,523


Trainer Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Wesley Ward 14 6 5 1 $562,340
Todd Pletcher 9 6 0 1 $564,450
Brad Cox 14 3 4 2 $630.445
Ben Colebrook 3 3 0 0 $111,000


Owner Wins
Merriebelle Stable (John Moores and Charles Noell) 2
Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey 2
Shadwell Stable (Rick Nichols) 2