(Venetian Harbor / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
VENETIAN HARBOR TOPS DEEP FIELD OF 10 FOR SATURDAY’S LEXUS RAVEN RUN
Ciaglia Racing, Highland Yard, River Oak Farm and Dominic Savides’ Venetian Harbor headlines a deep field of 10 3-year-old fillies entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 22nd running of the $200,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2).
Run at 7 furlongs on the main track, the Lexus Raven Run will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time. First post Saturday is 1:05 p.m.
Trained by Richard Baltas, Venetian Harbor will be making her first start since finishing second to Gamine in the 7-furlong Test (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 8. Prior to that, she had finished second to Speech in the Central Bank Ashland (G1) here and to Swiss Skydiver in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park with both those races being two-turn tests going 1 1/16 miles.
“We are just trying to win a race; that’s the first thing,” Baltas said Wednesday morning from California. “If she runs well and bounces out of the race OK we will eye the Breeders’ Cup (Filly and Mare Sprint-G1).”
Manny Franco has the mount on Venetian Harbor and will break from post position five.
Among those lining up to face Venetian Harbor are two runners with graded stakes success going
Whitham Thoroughbreds’ Four Graces won the Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select here in July going 7 furlongs and 184 feet over the Beard Course in a track record 1:24.90.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, Four Graces also won the Dogwood (G3) at Churchill Downs, where she finished second in her most recent start in the Eight Belles (G2). Julien Leparoux has the mount and will break from post position two.
Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham and Legacy Ranch’s Tonalist’s Shape won the Forward Gal (G3) going 7 furlongs and the Davona Dale (G2) going a mile this winter at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Tonalist’s Shape exits a troubled fifth in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) going 7 furlongs in her most recent start.
Rafael Bejarano has the mount on Tonalist’s Shape, who will break from post position seven.
The field for the Lexus Raven Run, with riders and weights from the rail, is: Never Forget (Robby Albarado, 118 pounds), Four Graces (Leparoux, 120), Secondary Market (Tyler Gaffalione, 118), Finite (Ricardo Santana Jr., 120), Venetian Harbor (Franco, 120), Reagan’s Edge (Florent Geroux, 118), Tonalist’s Shape (Bejarano, 120), Fair Maiden (Corey Lanerie, 118), Grand Cru Classe (Martin Garcia, 118) and Secret Keeper (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118).
ALL-TIME LEADING ACTIVE JOCKEY OUZTS
MAKING KEENELAND APPEARANCE
On his way to and from Keeneland’s Jockey Quarters for Sunday’s first race, 66-year-old rider Perry Ouzts received a series of shout outs and congratulations. The accolades were for his latest milestone: becoming North America’s sixth all-time leading rider by wins on the Oct. 9 closing-day program at Belterra Park near Cincinnati.
The victory that day was the 7,142nd of Ouzts’ career, pushing him one win ahead of Hall of Famer Chris McCarron and holding him steady as the leader among active jockeys. Congratulations arrived via texts, calls and videos from numerous fans, including McCarron and Hall of Famer Pat Day, while an especially meaningful greeting came from retired trainer W.J. Danner, who provided Ouzts with his first victory on April 2, 1973, at Beulah Park in Ohio.
Ouzts’ Keeneland mount on Sunday, Maurice Miller’s homebred It’s Summer, finished fifth.
“It is very special to come to Keeneland, but it is harder to win,” said Ouzts, who has ridden here sparingly during his career and has five wins. “Horses at Keeneland are a much higher level than the ones at Belterra.”
Ouzts will be at Keeneland a little in the coming days. In Friday’s second race, he is named to ride Jerome Russell and Kristina Russell’s She’s No Drama.
Sunday’s ride aboard It’s Summer was business as usual for Ouzts, who said he pays little attention to his statistics. With no plans for retirement, Ouzts expects to compete this winter in Northern Kentucky at Turfway Park, where he has been a regular for nearly 50 years. His summer base is Belterra (formerly River Downs.)
“I get through the day, turn the page and go to the next day,” said Ouzts, who attributes his success to dedication, determination, desire to win – and a naturally light physique.
On the list of all-time leading riders by wins, Ouzts trails only Russell Baze (12,842 wins), Laffit Pincay Jr. (9,530), Bill Shoemaker (8,833), Pat Day (8,803) and David Gall (7,396).
“I have never found anything else that gives me that thrill (of winning) every time, no matter if it is an (ordinary) race or a stakes race,” Ouzts said. “I get that same thrill every time. That is what keeps me going. As long as I can keep winning, I will keep on riding.”
Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach talks to these trainers about horses in Thursday’s Sycamore (G3):
Mike Maker on Aquaphobia and Big Agenda.
Tom Van Berg on Split the Wickets.
ZIYAD (GB) INVADES FOR RUN IN THURSDAY’S SYCAMORE
Trainer Graham Motion has won 33 stakes races at Keeneland, three of them coming in the Sycamore (G3).
Should Wertheimer and Frere’s Ziyad (GB) provide Motion with a fourth victory Thursday, it will be a totally different experience for the trainer.
“I have not personally seen him,” Motion said via text from his home base at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. “He arrived Monday night from quarantine (in Chicago) and has trained there (at Keeneland) the past two mornings.”
A homebred son of Rock of Gibraltar (IRE), Ziyad has a Group 2 victory in France on his resume to go with five other group placings in Europe plus a close third in last year’s Pattison Canadian International (G1) at Woodbine.
“I certainly have seen his races,” said Motion, who won the Sycamore in 2014 and 2015 with Holiday Starand in 2011 with Sanagas (GER). “In normal times, I would imagine he would have run tomorrow for (trainer) Carlos (Laffon-Parais) but these are not normal times. It was complicated for him to send staff.”
Manny Franco will have the mount in the Sycamore on Ziyad, who will remain with Motion following the race that the trainer will view from afar.
“Afraid so,” Motion said. “Hopefully will make it for the Breeders’ Cup.”
Keeneland will host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 6-7.
ONE-TURN LEXUS RAVEN RUN LURES TONALIST’S SHAPE TO KEENELAND
Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham and Legacy Ranch’s Tonalist’s Shape, who began her career with five consecutive victories in one-turn races for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., arrived at Keeneland Tuesday from Gulfstream Park for a run in Saturday’s $200,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) going 7 furlongs on the main track.
“There are no plans for her beyond this race,” Joseph said by text Wednesday morning. “I am just curious to see how she would do back around one turn and hoping she will come back to her (good) form.”
Tonalist’s Shape has been off the board in her past three starts in graded stakes company going two turns with the most recent being a fifth-place finish in the 7-furlong Charles Town Oaks (G3) on Aug. 28.
“That was two turns and she did have trouble in that race,” Joseph said, referring to Tonalist’s Shape being checked approaching the sixteenth pole.
Since that race, Tonalist’s Shape has worked twice at Gulfstream – a best-of-78 half-mile in :47.03 on Sept. 27 and a best-of-seven five-eighths in 1:00.62 on Sunday before shipping.
“The two weeks between works was by design to keep her fresh,” Joseph said.
Tonalist’s Shape is cataloged as a racing or broodmare prospect for Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale. She is Hip 155 in the sale for the premier Book 1.
Joseph also gave an update on Ny Traffic, most recently ninth in the Preakness (G1) following an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve.
“He is well. I have backed off him for a freshening,” Joseph said.
THIRD WEEK STAKES PROBABLES
$125,000 ROOD & RIDDLE DOWAGER (G3) (Entries taken Thursday, Oct. 15; race Sunday, Oct. 18) – Always Shopping (Todd Pletcher), Hungry Kitten (Shug McGaughey), Over Thinking (Vicki Oliver), Quiet Dignity (Mike Maker), Siberian Iris (IRE) (Richard Mandella).
FALL MEET LEADERS
Through Oct. 11 (8 days of 17-day season)
|M and M Racing (Mike Sisk)||3||3||0||0||$70,240|
|Three Diamonds Farm (Kirk Wycoff)||5||2||1||2||$87,300|