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April 18, 2017

Keeneland’s Spring Meet 2017

by Equestrian Influence

PLETCHER SEEKS TO BUILD ON KEENELAND STAKES RECORD
Todd Pletcher has taken the lead among trainers with stakes victories at Keeneland with 51. This weekend, he looks to open some daylight on any and all pursuers as he takes aim at Friday’s Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track and Saturday’s Dixiana Elkhorn (G2) at 1½ miles on the turf.

Pletcher will send out Red Oak Stable’s Unbridled Mo in the 23rd running of the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare and Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s Red Rifle in the 32nd running of the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn.
“They both arrived here Monday from Palm Beach Downs (in Florida) and shipped well,” said Pletcher, who secured his 51st Keeneland stakes victory Saturday when American Patriot won the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).
Unbridled Mo is a lightly raced homebred daughter of Uncle Mo who will be making her first start since winning the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) at Sam Houston on Jan. 29. She defeated 2016 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) winner I’m a Chatterbox in that race.
“We were originally going to go to the Azeri (G2 on March 18 at Oaklawn Park) but she had a foot abscess and that put us back a couple of weeks,” Pletcher said. “This was an alternative spot and we felt like it was a good spot.”
Red Rifle, who could become a millionaire Saturday with a win or runner-up finish, is a three-time graded stakes winner. He returned to the races March 10 at Gulfstream Park after an eight-month layoff.
“He has been doing well and he ran very well after the layoff,” Pletcher said of the third-place finish in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race in which he was beaten a neck. “He was a little unlucky that day, but he bounced out of it in good order.”
Pletcher has had a Kentucky Derby starter every year since 2000 except for 2003 and won the race in 2010 with Super Saver. He has five horses among the top 20 point earners on the trail to this year’s race. The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) is limited to the top 20 point earners that pass the entry box.
Two of those horses are at Keeneland: Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Tapwrit, fifth in the April 8 Toyota Blue Grass (G2), and Sumaya U.S. Stables’ Malagacy, fifth in last Saturday’s Arkansas Derby (G1).
“Tapwrit is going to work here Friday or Saturday,” Pletcher said. “Malagacy arrived here Monday and looks to be in good shape from what I could see this morning. We will give him a week and then finalize our plans.”
Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola Racing Stables’ Always Dreaming, winner of the Florida Derby (G1), and Calumet Farm’s Patch, runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (G2), both on April 1, remain at Palm Beach Downs.
“They are going to breeze Friday there and then ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday,” Pletcher said. “I was going to go to Churchill this week, but I looked at the long-range forecast and saw six straight days of rain.”
Still at Belmont Park is Wood Memorial (G2) runner-up Battalion Runner, owned by St. Elias Stable.
“He is going to breeze up there Friday or Saturday and then go to Churchill after that early next week when we consolidate there,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher, who has won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) three times, also trains Ghalia, winner of the Sunland Park Oaks. Owned by Sumaya U.S. Stables, Ghalia has earned enough points to give her a spot in the starting gate for this year’s Oaks.
“I am thinking the ($200,000) Eight Belles (G2 at 7 furlongs on May 5) for her,” Pletcher said. “It looks like there will be no Oaks for us, unless we pull a rabbit out of the hat.”

UNBRIDLED MO HEADS FIELD OF FIVE FOR FRIDAY’S
HILLIARD LYONS DOUBLEDOGDARE
Red Oak Stable’s Unbridled Mo, a winner of five of seven career starts and a two-time Grade 3 winner, heads a field of five fillies and mares entered Tuesday for Friday’s 23rd running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3).
The 1 1/16-mile main track test will go as the ninth race on Friday’s 10-race program with a
5:30 p.m. ET post time. First post Friday is 1:05.
Unbridled Mo is trained by Todd Pletcher, who has three wins in the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare among his Keeneland record 51 stakes victories. Unbridled Mo enters Friday’s race off a victory in the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) at Sam Houston on Jan. 29.
John Velazquez will have the mount on Unbridled Mo and break from post position five.
The chief rival to Unbridled Mo figures to be The Elkstone Group’s Lady Fog Horn.
Trained by Anthony Granitz, Lady Fog Horn closed 2016 with a victory in the Falls City Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs. She finished second in her 2017 debut at Keeneland April 9 in an allowance race going 1 1/16 miles.
Albin Jimenez has the mount and will break from post position two.
The field for the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare, from the rail out, is: Power of Snunner (Mike Smith, 118 pounds), Lady Fog Horn (Jimenez, 120), Dear Elaine (Julien Leparoux, 118), Twirl Girl (Javier Castellano, 118) and Unbridled Mo (Velazquez, 120).

GALLOPING OUT
Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables and Magdalena Stable’s It’s Your Nickel, sixth in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) on April 8, worked a half-mile in :48.80 Tuesday morning. Trainer Kenny McPeek said the Dialed In colt would make his next start in the April 22 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne.
McPeek said Fern Circle Stables’ Senior Investment, who finished a head in front to win Saturday’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3), is a candidate for the Preakness (G1) on May 20.

UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES
$250,000 DIXIANA ELKHORN (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday, April 19; race Saturday, April 22) – Bigger Picture (trainer Mike Maker), Bullards Alley (Tim Glyshaw), Charming Kitten (Maker), Danish Dynaformer (Roger Attfield), Grey Wizard (Jose Fernandez), Interpol (James Toner), Itsinthepost (FR) (Jeff Mullins), Red Rifle (Todd Pletcher), Taghleeb (Maker), Twilight Eclipse (Graham Motion).
SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Wednesday, April 19
Backstretch Tour and Day at the Races. Join us for an all-day experience of Thoroughbred racing at its finest. Begin your day with a walk in the barn area to see race-day preparations. Other stops include a trackside view of morning workouts, Racing Office and the restricted Jockeys Quarters. Following the tour, guests will meet a Keeneland BETologist to learn more about reading the race-day program and placing a bet. Then enjoy the thrill of live Thoroughbred racing from the comfort of the Keeneland Grandstand. $50 person includes seating, program and food voucher. Click here for more information.

WINS-DAY Challenge. Place a mythical $2 win and place wager on Keeneland Races 3-8. Entry fee is $10 with a guaranteed $2,500 pool. Limit three entries per person. The first 200 participants receive a free Daily Racing Form and an appetizer card from Malone’s. Visit Wagering Central to sign up.

Thursday, April 20
Official Keeneland Tour. Available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in April at 8:30 a.m. ET. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Friday, April 21
Official Keeneland Tour. Available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in April at 8:30 a.m. ET. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets ($8 per person; 12 and younger free).
Behind-the-Scenes Racing Tour. For an insider’s view of Keeneland, Tour Guides will lead guests to the track’s behind-the-scenes areas such as the Jockeys Quarters, where some of the world’s leading riders prepare for their race day; to the barns, where the race day begins, to the track to see morning workouts and through the picturesque Keeneland Paddock. A limited number of dates and tickets ($25 per person) are available for this exclusive experience. The two-hour tour begins at 9 a.m. and is limited to 10 people. Click here for more information.

Keeneland Shop’s Milliners Corner presents Polly Singer Designs and Dorfman Pacific adjacent to the Walking Ring from 9 a.m. to the last race.

Tailgating on The Hill. Keeneland’s popular tailgate lot, located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center, features local food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, a Keeneland Shop kiosk and free shuttles to the track. BETologists will be available to answer fans’ questions.

Jockey Autograph Signing. Fans may get autographs of active jockeys from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. adjacent to the Paddock to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Saturday, April 22
Sunrise Trackside. Keeneland shares a special side of Thoroughbred racing that is worth getting up early to enjoy. Sponsored by LEX18, Sunrise Trackside is a free, family-friendly event with activities for all ages: Breakfast With the Works features breakfast ($8) and trackside commentary (7-8:30 a.m.) while Thoroughbreds train on the main track; children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7-9 a.m.); Keeneland tours (7:30-10 a.m.); Paddock demonstration by the Lexington Mounted Police Unit (9 a.m.); trackside handicapping seminar with Paddock Host Katie Gensler and racing analyst Tom Leach (11:30 a.m.); and Q&A session with a jockey in the Paddock (12:05 p.m.).

Keeneland Shop’s Milliners Corner presents Polly Singer Designs and Dorfman Pacific adjacent to the Walking Ring from 9 a.m. to the last race.

Tailgating on The Hill. Keeneland’s popular tailgate lot, located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center, features local food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, a Keeneland Shop kiosk and free shuttles to the track. One of Central Kentucky’s favorite bluegrass bands will perform from 12-4 p.m. BETologists will be available to answer fans’ questions.

Sunday, April 23
Keeneland Shop’s Milliners Corner presents Dorfman Pacific adjacent to the Walking Ring from 9 a.m. to the last race.
Military Day at the Races Presented by Marathon. All active-duty, reserve, veterans and military families receive free general admission with a military I.D., DD214, veteran I.D. or other form of Military I.D. at any pass gate. The Military Family Zone in the North Terrace will offer free food, live music and more from noon to 4 p.m. ET. In honor of Month of the Military Child, Keeneland will have activities for children throughout the day.

 

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