Keeneland Barn Notes: Sunday Edition

(Jose Ortiz gives Good Magic a hug after winning the Blue Grass Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the Media Team at Keeneland:


By winning Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2), e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ champion Good Magic took a successful next step in pursuit of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). The Curlin colt, a $1 million purchase at Keeneland’s 2016 September Yearling Sale, and jockey Jose Ortiz won the 1 1/8-mile race by 1½ lengths as the 8-5 favorite.

Good Magic also earned 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and sits atop of the leaderboard with 134 points.

On Sunday morning, trainer Chad Brown said Good Magic came out of the race well.

“We’re happy,” Brown said. “Jose worked out a beautiful trip (from post 10), and the horse really responded well. I’m very proud of him.”

Brown said Good Magic would remain at Keeneland for the time being.

“Right now that’s my plan,” he said. “He’ll have his first breeze back here in a couple weeks then (go) over to Churchill.”

Good Magic’s Toyota Blue Grass win was one of three wins Saturday for Brown and Ortiz, who are the respective leading trainer and jockey after the first two days of the Spring Meet. The two also won the third race with Electric Forest and the 11th race with Vegas Kitten.

On Friday, another three-win day for Ortiz, they teamed to win the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) with William H. Lawrence’s undefeated Analyze It. Brown said the July 7 Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) is the target for Analyze It with a possible next start in the Pennine Ridge (G3) June 2.

“We did well,” Brown said about beginning the Spring Meet with four wins, including two graded stakes victories, along with one second and one third in seven starts. “I’m just really grateful that we have the horses good enough to compete at Keeneland each spring. My staff really deserves all the credit. It’s been a long winter waiting. You get anxious and you want to run them but you have to be patient and plan their campaigns. Keeneland is a good spot to start some of them. In Good Magic’s case, (Keeneland is) a good stop along the way.

“You need to develop these horses and the staff did an outstanding job of bringing a really good-looking group of horses here in fine condition and well-prepared.”

In today’s in the Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association, Brown and Ortiz are a team again with e Five’s undefeated Rushing Fall in her 2018 debut.

Asked about his own schedule, Brown said he is “taking it day to day. I wish I knew. I love it here. If I can stay, I will. Sometimes duty calls and I have to go back to my other division at Belmont, my home base. Not sure, but I’ll be around.”

Trainer Mark Casse said John C. Oxley’s Flameaway is doing well after his second-place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass. The colt is to return to Casse’s base at Churchill tomorrow and resume training for the Kentucky Derby. Flameaway has 70 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Oxley’s Determinant is also in good order after finishing 13th in the 14-horse Toyota Blue Grass field.

“We’ll see, I haven’t decided what I want to do with (Determinant) yet,” Casse said. “We’ve got a race picked out for Flameaway.”

Robert Baker and William Mack’s Sporting Chance was scheduled to van to Churchill Sunday. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee, who was disqualified from third to fourth because of interference in deep stretch, came out of the race fine, according to Lukas assistant Tyler Peeples.




Trainer Brad Cox said Sunday morning that runaway Central Bank Ashland (G1) winner Monomoy Girl would be heading to Churchill Downs on Monday or Tuesday to begin preparations for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run May 4.

“Her work is done here and it is time to move on to the next town,” said Cox, basking in the glow of his first Grade 1 training victory. “She ran the way we thought she would, with the way she had been training. It all worked out well.”

Owned by the partnership of Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables, Monomoy Girl is a neck away from being undefeated in six starts. Sent off as the 3-10 favorite, Monomoy Girl gave her backers no concern as she coasted to a 5½-length victory.

“When we came out of the Paddock, I saw she was 2-5 on the board and there is a lot of pressure there, obviously,” Cox said. “But everything worked out. It was awesome. It was a great day and especially so to get my first Grade 1 in Kentucky, which is home.”

Cox said Monomoy Girl came out of the race fine and that she likely would have two works at Churchill for the Oaks.

The Central Bank Ashland victory was worth 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks and gave Monomoy Girl a total of 154 points in the system that determines the starters for the race. The top 14 point earners that pass the entry box will make up the field.

Monomoy Girl is second on the list to Santa Anita Oaks (G1) winner Midnight Bisou (160).

“I saw the race in California yesterday and the winner (Midnight Bisou) was very impressive,” Cox said. “It looks like she will get a mile and eighth.

“She looks like the best of the West and we look like we are the best for this part of the country. It will be interesting. I am not really (concerned) about my filly getting a mile and eighth. I just hope she doesn’t draw the one or the 14 hole.”


Before leaving Sunday morning for a horse sale in Texas, trainer Bret Calhoun was more than thrilled to talk about the game victory by Finley’sluckycharm in Saturday’s Madison (G1).

“Obviously, it has been a while since we have had a horse of that caliber,” said Calhoun, who won two races at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup World Championships with Chamberlain Bridge (Turf Sprint) and Dubai Majesty (Filly and Mare Sprint). “To have her get that Grade 1 is big for us and so important to her value in the future.”

In a field packed with nine graded stakes winners, Finley’sluckycharm pressed a hot pace and then held on to win by a nose over Miss Sunset with favored Lewis Bay another nose back.

“She ran a gutty race and was very deserving,” Calhoun said. “She did the heavy lifting and still delivered. I only saw the first fraction (:21.96 for the first quarter-mile) and if I had seen the second at :44 and change (:44.31), I would have been scared to death for us.

“She has had her share of tough beats. It was special to get it done here in Kentucky. We have great plans for her this year and this was the first major goal.”

The next step possibly could be the $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) at 7 furlongs on May 5 at Churchill Downs, a track over which she never has lost in six starts.

Calhoun, who saddled two 2-year-old debuting winners on Friday for owner-breeder Tom Durant, was on the wrong end of a photo in the Commonwealth (G3) when Awesome Saturday finished third, beaten by two necks.

“He is an up-and-coming colt and he was doing so well – that’s why we took a shot,” Calhoun said. “He ran very well and I thought he was going to win. He was a little unlucky in that he was so wide.”

Calhoun said he would look at the $500,000 Churchill Downs (G2) on May 5 at 7 furlongs as a possible next start for Awesome Saturday.

“We will look around, but I am sure horses coming out of races like the Carter (G1) yesterday will be coming to Churchill Downs and the competition will be steeper,” Calhoun said.


Churchill Downs Racing Club’s Warrior’s Club, upset winner of Saturday’s Commonwealth (G3), was scheduled to van to Churchill Downs Sunday, according to Tyler Peeples, assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Peeples said Warrior’s Club came out of his first graded stakes victory fine and walked the shedrow prior to leaving Keeneland.

Katherine Ball’s Limousine Liberal, runner-up by a neck in the Commonwealth, came out of the race fine, said trainer Ben Colebrook, and remains on track to defend his title in the $500,000 Churchill Downs (G2) on May 5.

“He broke a step slow and got in behind horses,” Colebrook said. “Things didn’t go as planned, but that’s horse racing.” …

Churchill also is the next destination for Madison (G1) fifth-place finisher Salty, trained by Mark Casse for Gary Barber, Baccari Racing Stable and Chester Prince. Casse said Salty would leave for Churchill Monday and be pointed to the Humana Distaff (G1) at 7 furlongs or the La Troienne (G1) at 1 1/16 miles during Derby Week.


Here are the prospective fields for Keeneland’s April 14 stakes compiled by Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Tiffany Bourque. Entries for the races will be taken Wednesday.

Click here for a link to the lists of nominations and past performances.

$350,000 COOLMORE JENNY WILEY (G1) – Probable: Cambodia (Tom Proctor), Dona Bruja (ARG) (Ignacio Correas IV), Fourstar Crook (Chad Brown), La Coronel (Mark Casse), Lovely Bernadette (James DiVito), Off Limits (IRE) (Chad Brown), Sistercharlie (IRE) (Chad Brown), Ultra Brat (Graham Motion). Possible: Hawksmoor (IRE) (Arnaud Delacour), Kitten’s Roar (Mike Maker), Proctor’s Ledge (Brendan Walsh).

$200,000 BEN ALI (G3) – Probable: Aurora Way (Stuart Simon), Giuseppe the Great (Nick Zito), Rated R Superstar (Kenny McPeek). Possible: Dan the Go to Man (John Ortiz), Goats Town (D. Wayne Lukas), Guest Suite (Neil Howard), Hollywood Handsome (Dallas Stewart).

$200,000 STONESTREET LEXINGTON (G3) – Probable: Battle At Sea (Mike Maker), City Plan (Eoin Harty), Gracida (Doug O’Neill), Greyvitos (Adam Kitchingman), My Boy Jack (Keith Desormeaux), Pony Up (Todd Pletcher), Telekinesis (Mark Casse).

$100,000 GIANT’S CAUSEWAY (L) – Probable: Brave Daisey (Tina Hurley), Contributing (Tom Proctor), Lady Aurelia (Wesley Ward), Morticia (Rusty Arnold), Smiling Causeway (Arnaud Delacour), Triple Chelsea (Joe Sharp).

Tom’s filly is fast. My filly got bounced around a little down the backside and didn’t get herself put together until the top of the lane. I was real proud of the effort.”

Channing Hill, Jockey of Liora, second
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean