(War of Will winning the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds earlier this year / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
WAR OF WILL TUNES UP FOR KENTUCKY DERBY
WITH WORK FROM STARTING GATE
Gary Barber’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) hopeful War of Will breezed 5 furlongs from the starting gate in :59 over a fast track Saturday morning at Keeneland. His time was the best of 44 works at the distance. Trained by Mark Casse, the War Front colt has 60 qualifying points and a guaranteed place in the $3 million Kentucky Derby.
With jockey Tyler Gaffalione aboard, War of Will clocked splits of :22.80, :34.60 and :46.20 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:11.60. (Click here for a video of the work.)
“He broke sharp and had running on his mind,” Gaffalione said. “He did everything very easy. Mark said he wanted a good five-eighths, so I just let him do his thing. He cruised along and pulled up great and came back happy. He is really proud of himself.”
“Horses sometimes get more (conditioning) from working from the gate,” Casse’s Keeneland assistant, David Carroll, said. “He broke very sharp, worked beautifully and the gallop out was tremendous. He cooled out really well, and we are very happy.”
At Fair Grounds earlier this year, War of Will won the Risen Star Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2) and the Lecomte (G3). On March 23, he was ninth in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) after losing his footing at the start. The colt arrived at Keeneland four days later.
Carroll said War of Will likely will have another work next week at Keeneland and a final tune-up at Churchill Downs in the days leading to the Kentucky Derby on May 4.
He is encouraged by the extra energy War of Will has displayed at Keeneland.
“He is a kind horse to be around, and in the past week he has really been on his toes and is very sharp,” Carroll said. “He told us coming into (today) that he is ready for a good workout. In the Paddock on his way to the track, he was very playful.”
(Javier Castellano / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
CASTELLANO TAKES AIM ON KEENELAND RECORD
Javier Castellano, who won his fifth stakes race of the meet Friday aboard Delta Prince in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), is approaching record territory for most stakes wins in a meet by a rider.
Mike Smith in the Spring of 1994 and Jerry Bailey in the Spring of 1999 won six stakes. Pat Day had six stakes wins during the Fall Meets in 1998, 1999 and 2001. Julien Leparoux also won six stakes in the Fall of 2016.
Castellano, who has 13 wins to lead all riders after seven days of the 16-day Spring Meet, has the mount this afternoon on morning-line favorites Rushing Fall in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) and Anothertwistafate in the Stonestreet Lexington (G3).
(Delta Prince winning at Keeneland / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
DELTA PRINCE HEADS BACK TO NEW YORK TODAY
AFTER MAKER’S 46 MILE VICTORY
Stronach Stable’s Delta Prince was scheduled to leave Keeneland at 2 p.m. Saturday to return to New York the day after his last-to-first dash to victory in the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).
“He looks good this morning,” said trainer James Jerkens, who had a noon flight from Louisville to New York. Plans are to be determined for Delta Prince, who posted his first Grade 1 victory Friday as the 8-5 favorite.
“I would say he probably would not go to the Churchill race,” Jerkens said, referring to the $1 million Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on May 4. “I’d like to take another shot at the Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga, where he just got beat last year.”
In Friday’s victory, Delta Prince was last in the field of seven at the head of the stretch but rallied past the field under Javier Castellano to win by 1½ lengths over 46-1 shot Clyde’s Image.
“That horse was making a nice progression, and he sure looked the part yesterday,” Jerkens said of the runner-up, who was making his Grade 1 debut.
Tom Bush, who trains Clyde’s Image for Sullimar Stable, was not surprised by the 5-year-old gelding’s effort.
“I was real confident he would run well,” Bush said. “The only question was if he was good enough.
“He really fought hard for second. He was a little farther back early, but they were going at a good clip up front. On the far turn, it looked like Qurbaan was going better than he was, but my horse kept fighting and got second.”
Bush said he might send Clyde’s Image back to New York on Monday or stay at Keeneland for the time being.
“The race at Churchill is not out of the question,” Bush said, referring to the Old Forester Turf Classic. “I will have to study that one pretty good.”
Shadwell Stable’s Qurbaan also is considered possible for the Old Forester Turf Classic, according to Roger Horgan, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
“He may stay here and then ship over to Churchill the Monday of (Kentucky) Derby Week when Kiaran ships Haikal in for the Derby (G1),” Horgan said. “He is pretty lightly raced for a horse his age (six).”
Qurbaan briefly stuck his nose in front in the stretch before settling for third.
“We’ve got no complaints about yesterday,” Horgan said. “Halfway on the turn, I saw (jockey) Irad (Ortiz Jr.) look back, and I thought we were in good shape. He just got beat by a better horse.”
Making his first start since winning the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar in December, Peter Brant’s Raging Bull (FR)was fourth in the Maker’s 46 Mile.
“I was disappointed he didn’t win, but he has a race under his belt now and we’ll go from here,” trainer Chad Brown said about Raging Bull, who won his career debut at Keeneland a year ago.
Brown said depending on how Raging Bull comes out of yesterday’s race, he would take a look at the Old Forester Turf Classic for the colt’s next start.
Defending champion Heart to Heart faded to seventh after being pressured on the front end over a course labeled as good.
“He came back good, but it might be time to retire him,” trainer Brian Lynch said of the 8-year-old, who is owned by Terry Hamilton. “We should know in a couple days.”
PLANS FOR LIMESTONE TURF SPRINT WINNER
GINGER NUT (IRE) UNDETERMINED
Hronis Racing’s Ginger Nut (IRE) was doing fine Saturday morning, a day after winning the inaugural Limestone Turf Sprint by 1¼ lengths.
“She looks good this morning and will ship back to California Tuesday with plans to be determined,” said Juan Leyva, assistant to trainer John Sadler.
The victory was Sadler’s fourth stakes triumph at Keeneland and was the second for Hronis Racing. The two combined to win the 2016 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) with Elektrum (IRE).
Saturday’s start was the second in this country for Ginger Nut following a fourth-place finish in the Melody of Colors Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 23.
“She was a private purchase, and we got her about four months ago,” Leyva said. “We had her ready to run, but the race for her came off the turf at Santa Anita so we went to Plan B and found the race at Gulfstream.”
TYLER SERVIS DEBUTS WITH A WINNER
The training career of Tyler Servis got off to a rousing start Friday when he sent out Main Line Racing Stable’s Wentz to a nose victory in the sixth race.
“If I stop now, it might be the only time I have a better percentage than my Uncle Jason (Servis),” Tyler, 28, said with a laugh Saturday morning as he led champion Jaywalk, trained by his father, John, back to the barn.
Racing over a muddy track, Wentz and the 3-5 favorite Curate dueled through the length of the stretch and completed the 6-furlong race in 1:09.57, more than two seconds faster than any other race at the distance Friday.
“That was a horse race, and he really dug in,” Tyler said. “That was the fastest 6 furlongs of the meet. I didn’t know if he had gotten the bob at the wire. (Curate) got in front of me in the stretch and my horse fought back.”
Shortly after the result was made official, Tyler received a call from his father.
“He was pretty choked up,” Tyler said.
Wentz could make his return to the races May 4 on Derby Day in the $500,000 Churchill Downs (G1) going 7 furlongs, according to his trainer.
CLOSING-DAY BEWITCH ATTRACTS 28 NOMINATIONS
Abbondanza Racing’s multiple graded stakes winner Elysea’s World (IRE) headlines a roster of 28 fillies and mares nominated to the 58th running of the $150,000 Bewitch (G3) slated for Friday, April 26, closing day of the 16-day Spring Meet.
Entries will be taken Tuesday, April 23, for the 1½-mile grass race.
Other names of note in the nominations are Modeste Racing Stable’s Get Explicit, runner-up in the Pin Oak Valley View (G3) here last fall and the Mrs. Revere (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Also nominated are the 1-2 finishers from last fall’s Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) in Calumet Farm’s Vexatious and Hugh Robertson, John Mentz and Jeff Larson’s Beach Flower. The Rood & Riddle Dowager is the Fall Meet’s equivalent of the Bewitch.
UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES
$100,000 HILLIARD LYONS-BAIRD DOUBLEDOGDARE (G3) (Entries taken Sunday, April 14; race Friday, April 19) – Blue Prize (ARG) (trainer Ignacio Correas IV), Electric Forest (Chad Brown), Go Google Yourself (Paul McGee), Jala Jala (MEX) (Fausto Gutierrez).Moonlit Garden (Chris Davis) and Promise of Spring (Steve Margolis). Possible: Golden Award (Bill Mott).
$250,000 DIXIANA ELKHORN (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday, April 17: race Saturday, April 20) – Canessar (FR) (Arnaud Delacour), Hunter O’Riley (James Toner), Leitone (CHI) (George Weaver), Vettori Kin (BRZ) (Kenny McPeek) and Zulu Alpha (Mike Maker).
SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Celebrating its 80th anniversary, the Keeneland Library is one of the world’s largest repositories of information related to the Thoroughbred. In its exhibit “Herbert Haseltine: The Gold Standard,” visitors will see two prominent works from the latter period of the acclaimed sculptor of the early 20th century: “The Thoroughbred Horse” and “Portrait of the Racehorse Tom Fool.” The exhibit “From the Vault: Jockeys” features 26 images dating from the late 1800s to the mid-20th century from the Library’s archive of more than 1 million negatives and photographic prints. Varied memorabilia from Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Arcaro, Ted Atkinson and Bill Shoemaker accompany the photographs. The Library is open weekdays at no charge from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Official Keeneland Tours – Keeneland offers a selection of year-round, guided racing and sales tours, including Behind-the-Scenes Racing Tours, Owner’s Experience Tours and Backstretch Tours with a Day at the Races. On Saturdays during Sunrise Trackside, free guided tours begin every 20 minutes from the welcome stand near the Paddock and Walking Ring from 7:30-10 a.m.
Saturday, April 13
The Hill – Fans who like to tailgate will enjoy the festive atmosphere of The Hill, where they can watch races on a jumbo TV and place wagers. The Hill also features food trucks, The Keeneland Shop kiosk and complimentary shuttles to the track. Live music is presented by The Burl, a popular live music venue in Lexington from noon to 4 p.m.
$300,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four Presented by TVG. Includes races 7-10: Ben Ali (G3), Giant’s Causeway (L), Stonestreet Lexington (G3) and Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1).
NYRA Cross Country Wager features the Stonestreet Lexington and Coolmore Jenny Wiley from Keeneland; Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) from Oaklawn Park; and one stakes from Aqueduct.
$400 Spring Challenge – This handicapping tournament has a $400 buy-in with a live bankroll of $250 and $150 prize fund fee.
The Keeneland Shop Milliners Corner with Forme Millinery and Trunk Show with Maui Jim.
Sunday, April 14
Military Day at the Races Presented by Marathon – Keeneland recognizes the men and women who serve our country. All active and reserve military and their families will receive free general admission and access to reserved Grandstand seating with military I.D. Military families are invited to enjoy free food and children’s activities in the North Terrace from noon to 4 p.m.
Grade One Gamble – This nationally prominent event has a $3,000 buy-in and as many as six spots in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and 10 spots in the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship up for grabs.
The Keeneland Shop Milliners Corner with Forme Millinery and Trunk Show with Maui Jim.