Keeneland Barn Notes: Moonshine Memories Heads Raven Run Stakes

From the Keeneland Media Team:


Michael Tabor, Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Moonshine Memories heads a field of 14 3-year-old fillies and two also-eligibles entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 20th running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2).

The 7-furlong main track test will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time. First post time Saturday is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by Simon Callaghan, Moonshine Memories won her first three races as a 2-year-old, including the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Chandelier (G1).

The Lexus Raven Run represents her third trip east from her Southern California base. Moonshine Memories finished fourth in the Acorn (G1) at Belmont in June and in her most recent start was third in the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga on Sept. 2.

Mike Smith has the mount and will break from post position nine.

The field for the Lexus Raven Run, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Amy’s Challenge (Jareth Loveberry, 118 pounds), Everyonelovesjimmy (Chris Landeros, 118), Blamed (Julien Leparoux, 118), True Royalty (Robby Albarado, 120), Alter Moon(Jose Ortiz, 118), Kelly’s Humor (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), She’s Pretty Lucky (Corey Lanerie, 118), Chauncey (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118), Moonshine Memories (Smith, 118), Divine Queen (Calvin Borel, 118), Take Charge Paula (Florent Geroux, 118), Shamrock Rose (Tyler Gaffalione, 118), Bronx Beauty (Albin Jimenez, 118) and Nootka Sound (Ricardo Santana Jr., 118). Alsoeligible: Criminal Mischief (Gabriel Saez, 118) and She’s a Gypsy (Corey Lanerie, 118).

(Oscar Performance trains at Keeneland / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)


Amerman Racing’s four-time Grade 1 winner Oscar Performance continued his preparations for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 by working 5 furlongs in company in 1:01 over a fast main track Wednesday morning at Keeneland.

Working with Teryn It Up, a 3-year-old maiden, Oscar Performance edged in front at the wire as he completed his final quarter-mile in :24 with regular rider Jose Ortiz up.

“I am happy with it,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “I wanted him to go in around 1:01 or 1:01 and change.”

Oscar Performance, winner of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) in his most recent start Sept. 15, on Oct. 7 worked a half-mile in :52.20 on a turf course labeled good. He was scheduled for another grass work this past Sunday, but rainy conditions curtailed any turf activity.

“You do what you can,” Lynch said of the missed grass work. “But he has worked well on the dirt, and this year he has never lost when I have worked him on the dirt before a race.

“He worked on dirt before Woodbine and before the race at Belmont (the Grade 3 Poker in June).”

Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Santa Anita in 2016 and ninth in last year’s 1½-mile Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar after setting the pace, Oscar Performance likely will have his final Breeders’ Cup work on the turf at Churchill Downs Oct. 28.


Keeneland is home to several potential contenders for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2-3.

Pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup will be announced Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Here are the trainers and their possible Breeders’ Cup runners:

Trainer (Barn)HorseBreeders’ Cup RaceLast Race (at KEE unless indicated)Most Recent Work Since Last Race
Rusty Arnold (60)Concrete RoseJuvenile Fillies TurfWon 10/10 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) 
Richard Baltas (41)Next SharesMileWon 10/6 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) 
Mark Casse (37)Strike SilverJuvenile Turf SprintWon 10/7 Indian Summer 
War of WillJuvenile Turf4th in 10/7 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) 
Ben Colebrook (66)Knicks GoJuvenileWon 10/6 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) 
Limousine LiberalSprint/Dirt Mile3rd in 10/5 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) 
Ignacio Correas IV (41, 70)Blue Prize (ARG)DistaffWon 10/7 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) 
Brian Lynch (40)Oscar PerformanceMileWon 9/15 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1)
at WO
10/17: 5f in 1:01 on dirt
Kenny McPeek (34, 70)Eskimo KissesDistaff7th 10/7 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) 
 Restless RiderJuvenile FilliesWon 10/5 Darley Alcibiades (G1) 
 SignalmanJuvenile2nd 10/6 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) 
Joe Sharp (46)Mom’s On StrikeFilly and Mare Turf2nd 9/13 Ramsey Farm at KD10/13: 5f in 1:02 on dirt
Wesley Ward (41, 47, 68)Chelsea CloistersJuvenile Turf Sprint2nd in 10/7 Indian Summer 
 Moonlight RomanceJuvenile Turf SprintWon 9/8 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint at KD10/17: 4f in :50 on dirt
 Shang Shang ShangJuvenile Turf SprintWon 6/21 Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot10/13: 5f in 1:02 on dirt
 Stillwater CoveJuvenile Turf Sprint5th in 9/16 Natalma (G1) at WO10/17: 4f in :49 on dirt
 Two ShakesJuvenile Turf Sprint7th in 9/1 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies at KD9/16 4f in :51 on dirt


Novogratz Racing Stables’ Amy’s Challenge tuned up for a start in Saturday’s $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) by working a half-mile in :46.80 Wednesday morning over a fast track for trainer Mac Robertson.

Working on her own after the renovation break, Amy’s Challenge galloped out 5 furlongs in :59.

“Pretty good; pretty good,” Robertson said after the work.

Undefeated as a 2-year-old and graded stakes-placed this spring at Oaklawn Park, Amy’s Challenge comes into the Lexus Raven Run off a turf sprint victory at Canterbury Park.

“I was just trying to get her a win,” Robertson said of the grass start. “She had been running her guts out without winning one.”

Amy’s Challenge came to Keeneland last fall after beating the boys in her first two starts but did not race.

“She’s a sound filly and she has done well here,” Robertson said.

Wednesday’s work was the third for Amy’s Challenge at Keeneland following a bullet 5 furlongs in :59 on Oct. 9 and another five-eighths work in :58.60 on Oct. 3.


Ashley Burns is enjoying her first job since graduating from Western Kentucky University in May doing what no doubt would delight the many children who visit Keeneland.

” src=”blob:″ alt=”image003.jpg” align=”left” hspace=”12″ v:shapes=”Picture_x0020_2″ class=”Apple-web-attachment Singleton” style=”width: 3.175in; height: 4.225in;”>“I kind of jokingly call it ‘professional tractor driver,’ ” said Burns (left), who has held the position of Keeneland Equipment Operator and Track Maintenance Worker since July.

With a degree in agriculture and a focus in animal science, Burns said she never pictured herself working a conventional nine-to-five job, which solidified her decision to apply for the Keeneland position she saw posted online.

“I was just looking for jobs and it sounded interesting,” she said. “I like to be outside, and I didn’t really want to do an office job. Even when it’s cold, I’d rather be outside working than in an office in front of a computer.

“I had a little bit (of tractor experience) prior to the job,” she continued. “We have a small tractor at home, but not anything like these – these tractors are fancier than my truck. It was definitely a learning curve. You just get here and you go out, you learn it as you go, because there’s not really an easy way to teach you to do it until you do it. I’m still learning a lot.”

A typical day for Keeneland’s 10-member Track Maintenance crew, which is under the direction of Track Superintendent Javier Barajas, amounts to a 13-hour shift.

“I get here at 3:30 in the morning to open the track and prepare the surface for horses to come work on it,” she said. “We have to be off the track by about 5:15 a.m. because the horses come on at about 5:30 a.m. It’s important to get everything put away before they come out.”

Burns and her co-workers return to the tractors to groom the main track during the renovation period from 8-8:30 a.m. and after the track closes at 10 a.m. They wash the tractors, tend to the turf course if needed and perform other tasks to prepare the track for the afternoon’s racing and maintain it during the races. (Click here for Keeneland’s daily track maintenance report.)

After the final race, the team prepares the track for the evening and moves the inner rail on the turf course as necessary for the following day.

Burns’ day continues when she arrives home at her family’s 20-acre farm in nearby Georgetown.

“I have five horses at home, and I do barrel racing with them,” she said. “That’s what primarily takes up my time (outside of work) – I go home, then I ride. The other night I got out of here at 7 p.m. and got home at 8 o’clock, saddled up my horse and rode in the dark using the headlights on my truck as arena lights.”

Burns says one sight at Keeneland is worth such a busy schedule.

“My favorite thing about the job is the mornings,” she said. “It’s so beautiful, and the sunrise is something you don’t get to see in a lot of other jobs. Most people aren’t up anyways to see the sunrise, or if you are you’re normally on your commute to work. So to be able to see it while you’re at your job and surrounded by horses is great.”


$125,000 ROOD & RIDDLE DOWAGER (G3) (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday) – Amboseli (trainer James Cassidy), Beach Flower (Mac Robertson), Daring Duchess (Mike Maker), English Affair (Rusty Arnold), Res Ipsa (Ian Wilkes), Savannah Belle (Brian Lynch), Vexatious (Neil Drysdale), Viva Vegas (Derek Ryan). Possible: Coco Channel (Charlie LoPresti), Rahway (Mike Maker), Shezaprado (Maker).

$200,000 HAGYARD FAYETTE (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday, Oct. 24; race Saturday, Oct. 27) – Guest Suite (trainer Neil Howard), Hence (Steve Asmussen), Leofric (Brad Cox), Name Changer (Alan Goldberg), Nice Not Nice (Buff Bradley), Prime Attraction (James Cassidy), Rated R Superstar (Kenny McPeek). Possible: Hofburg (Bill Mott), Honorable Duty (Brendan Walsh), Scuba (Walsh).

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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