Today’s Keeneland media notes (Grace Clark photo above of Micheline winning Kentucky Downs’ 2020 Dueling Grounds Oaks):
MICHELINE, BROWN DUO HEADLINE FIELD OF SIX FOR COOLMORE JENNY WILEY
- PROXY FACES NINE FOES IN STONESTREET LEXINGTON
- SILVER DUST TOPS FIELD OF FIVE FOR BEN ALI
- INTO MYSTIC AMONG 10 ENTRANTS IN GIANT’S CAUSEWAY
- GODOLPHIN HALF-SIBLINGS MICHELINE AND PROXY BOTH RUNNING SATURDAY
- ALDA CUTS BACK IN DISTANCE FOR 2021 DEBUT IN TVG LIMESTONE TURF SPRINT
- GALLOPING OUT
- UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES
- SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
MICHELINE, BROWN DUO HEADLINE FIELD OF SIX FOR COOLMORE JENNY WILEY
Godolphin’s homebred Micheline, winner of the Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs in her 2021 debut, and the graded stakes-winning duo of Etoile (FR) and Tamahere (FR) trained by Chad Brown headline a small but select field of six fillies and mares entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 33rd running of the $300,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1).
The Coolmore Jenny Wiley, run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, will go as the 10th race on Saturday afternoon’s 11-race program with a 6:03 p.m. post time. First post time is 1:05 p.m.
Trained by Mike Stidham, Micheline closed 2020 with a victory in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs and then was runner-up in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana here last fall. Her victory in the Hillsborough represented her first graded stakes victory.
Luis Saez will have the mount and break from post one.
Brown will be going for his fourth consecutive victory and fifth overall in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley when he sends out Etiole, owned by Peter Brant, Mrs. M.V. Magnier and Mrs. Paul Shanahan, and Tamahere, owned by Swift Thoroughbreds, Madaket Stables and Wonder Stables.
Etoile will be making her first start since winning the E.P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine in October. A Group 3 winner in France before coming to North America, she will be ridden by Javier Castellano and break from post four.
Tamahere, winner of the Sands Point (G2) in her U.S. debut in October, will be making her first start since finishing sixth in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount and will break from post two.
Brown’s winners in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley are Ball Dancing (2015), Sistercharlie (IRE) (2018) and Rushing Fall in 2019 and 2020.
The field for the Coolmore Jenny Wiley, with riders and weights from the rail, is: Micheline (Saez, 118 pounds), Tamahere (FR) (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118), Juliet Foxtrot (GB) (Tyler Gaffalione, 118), Etoile (FR) (Castellano, 120), Maxim Rate (Umberto Rispoli, 118) and La Signare (FR) (John Velazquez, 118).
PROXY FACES NINE FOES IN STONESTREET LEXINGTON
Proxy, fourth in last month’s Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2), will face nine 3-year-olds Saturday in the 39th running of the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The Stonestreet Lexington, which offers 34 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby on a 20-8-4-2 scale to the first- through fourth-place finishers, will go as the ninth race Saturday afternoon with a 5:30 p.m. post time.
A half-brother to Coolmore Jenny Wiley entrant Micheline, Proxy is a Godolphin homebred and trained by Mike Stidham.
Proxy has picked up 34 points toward the Kentucky Derby by virtue of runner-up finishes in the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) Presented by Lamarque Ford and the Louisiana Derby placing.
John Velazquez has the mount and will break from post position seven.
An intriguing invader from California is Bezos, who will be making his stakes debut for trainer Bob Baffert.
Owned by the partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stable, Stonestreet Stables and Golconda Stables, Bezos romped to a 4½-length victory going a mile on March 26 at Santa Anita to notch his first triumph. Drayden Van Dyke will be aboard for the first time Saturday and break from post three.
The field for the Stonestreet Lexington, with riders and weights from the rail, is: Noble Reflection (Javier Castellano, 118 pounds), Swiftsure (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118), Bezos (Van Dyke, 118), It’s My House (Umberto Rispoli, 118), Unbridled Honor(Julien Leparoux, 118), Hockey Dad (Mario Gutierrez, 118), Proxy (Velazquez, 118), Ultimate Badger (Corey Lanerie, 118), King Fury (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118) and Starrininmydreams (Luis Saez, 118).
SILVER DUST TOPS FIELD OF FIVE FOR BEN ALI
Tom Durant’s multiple Grade 3 winner Silver Dust tops a field of five older runners entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 90thrunning of the $150,000 Ben Ali going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
The Ben Ali will go as the seventh race Saturday afternoon with a 4:24 p.m. post time.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, Silver Dust returns to the dirt after making his 2021 debut on the turf course at Fair Grounds. In November, he was 10th here in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
Regular rider Adam Beschizza has the mount and will break from post five.
The field for the Ben Ali, with riders and weights from the rail, is: Beau Luminarie (Luis Saez, 118 pounds), Treasure Trove(Tyler Gaffalione, 118), Night Ops (Javier Castellano, 118), Sprawl (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118) and Silver Dust (Beschizza, 118).
INTO MYSTIC AMONG 10 ENTRANTS IN GIANT’S CAUSEWAY
Chris Coleman and Brad King’s ultra-consistent Into Mystic headlines a field of 10 fillies and mares entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 24th running of the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway (L) going 5½ furlongs on the turf.
The Giant’s Causeway will go as the eighth race Saturday afternoon with a 4:57 p.m. post time.
Trained by Brendan Walsh, Into Mystic came within a nose of upsetting Grade 1 winner and millionaire Got Stormy in the 2020 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3), the Keeneland Fall Meet equivalent of the Giant’s Causeway. Following that effort, she set the pace before finishing 12th against males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) here.
Since the Breeders’ Cup, Into Mystic won the Nelson J. Menard Memorial at Fair Grounds and was runner-up twice to Saturday rival Elle Z in two stakes at the New Orleans track.
Irad Ortiz Jr. will be aboard Into Mystic for the first time Saturday and break from post one.
The field for the Giant’s Causeway, with riders and weights from the inside, is: Into Mystic (Irad Ortiz Jr., 124 pounds), In GoodSpirits (Miguel Mena, 122), Elle Z (Mitchell Murrill, 124), Dixieincandyland (Drayden Van Dyke, 122), Fashionable Lady(Rafael Bejarano, 122), A Bit of Both (Tyler Gaffalione, 122), Karak (John Velazquez, 122), Change of Control (Colby Hernandez, 122), Oooh Barracuda (James Graham, 122) and Jakarta (Luis Saez, 124).
GODOLPHIN HALF SIBLINGS MICHELINE AND PROXY BOTH RUNNING SATURDAY
A racing rarity will occur Saturday when half-siblings Micheline and Proxy – whose dam is millionaire Panty Raid, winner of the 2007 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) at Keeneland – start in consecutive graded stakes for owner-breeder Godolphin.
Micheline, a 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini, will be looking for her first Grade 1 victory in the $300,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on turf. In the day’s previous race, the 3-year-old Tapit colt Proxy will bid for his first stakes win in the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) at
1 1/16 miles on dirt.
Both are trained by Mike Stidham.
While they share immense talent, Stidham said the sister and brother have distinctive traits. Most notably, Micheline is claustrophobic in traditional housing, so she resides in a portable stall near Stidham’s barn. At Keeneland, the special setup awaits her Thursday arrival from Florida.
Micheline also showed her talent sooner than Proxy did.
Micheline, who has earned $665,978 with five wins in 13 starts, flashed her brilliance before finishing third in her career debut in August 2019 at Saratoga.
“We took her to Saratoga for her first start, so that shows how much we thought about her,” Stidham said. “We very rarely run horses at Saratoga unless we are very high on them.”
Micheline fulfilled expectations by winning the Sorority at Monmouth Park a month later. She next was unplaced in her lone dirt start in Keeneland’s Darley Alcibiades (G1).
Winner of the Honey Ryder at Gulfstream Park at 3, Micheline closed her sophomore season at Keeneland as runner-up in the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana. In her first start of 2021, she won the March 6 Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Stidham said Proxy’s ability was not as evident early as his sister’s was.
“Proxy is one of those horses who did everything right but not anything real flashy,” Stidham said. “He was never a ‘wow’ horse going into his first start.”
Proxy earned his first victory in November at Fair Grounds in his second start and next was second in the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) Presented by Lamarque Ford. A winner of two races from six starts – all on dirt – with earnings of $227,700, he comes into the Stonestreet Lexington off a fourth-place effort in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.
“After the Lexington, we will see how he runs and decide where we go from there,” Stidham said.
Stidham also reported that he and Godolphin’s Mystic Guide returned from Dubai in good form despite the long travel and considerable time zone change. Mystic Guide went back to training at Keeneland on Tuesday in his first visit to the track since the Dubai World Cup (G1) win on March 27.
“And I am still floating on a cloud,” Stidham said.
ALDA CUTS BACK IN DISTANCE FOR 2021 DEBUT
IN TVG LIMESTONE TURF SPRINT
Wertheimer and Frere’s homebred Alda will start her 2021 campaign where 2020 concluded: at Keeneland.
Trained by Graham Motion, Alda finished 12th in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) going a mile. She did not return to the work tab until March 1 at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, where she has breezed six times over the all-weather surface.
“This is what we have pointed her for,” Motion said of Friday’s $100,000 TVG Limestone Turf Sprint going 5½ furlongs on the grass. “My intention was to shorten her up for her first start off the break.”
Winner of the Catch a Glimpse (L) and runner-up in the Natalma (G1) at Woodbine last summer, Alda is scheduled to arrive at Keeneland Wednesday. She will be reunited with John Velazquez in Friday’s race.
Godolphin’s Prevalence, sixth in Saturday’s Wood Memorial (G2) Presented by Resorts World Casino, arrived at Keeneland Monday to join trainer Brendan Walsh’s main string of horses. Walsh said plans are to be determined for Prevalence, a winner of two of three career starts.
Walsh said no race has been picked out for Moon Swag, who finished fourth in Saturday’s Central Bank Ashland (G1). “A hard-knocking filly like that, I would think maybe some of the regional Oaks (this summer),” Walsh said.
Moon Swag, third in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds this winter, is owned by the partnership of Brad King, Jim Cone, Scott Bryant and Stan and Suzanne Kirby.
UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES
Race Friday, April 16. Entries taken Sunday
$100,000 Baird Doubledogdare (G3) – Bonny South (trainer Brad Cox), Eres Tu (Arnaud Delacour), Graceful Princess (Todd Pletcher), His Glory (Joe Sharp), Royal Flag (Chad Brown), Speech (Michael McCarthy). Possible: Bajan Girl (RohanCrichton).
Race Saturday, April 17. Entries taken Wednesday, April 14
$200,000 Elkhorn (G2) – Crafty Daddy (Kenny McPeek), Fantasioso (ARG) (Ignacio Correas IV), Red Knight (Bill Mott).
SPRING MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Friday, April 9
The popular College Scholarship Day Presented by Lane’s End is being held virtually. Students may click here to pre-register by 5 p.m. on Friday for a chance to win one of $35,000 in scholarships or a prize package provided by a local Lexington business. Lane’s End is giving two students a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship and enjoy a day at the races. Coca-Cola and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, additional sponsors of the event, will give away a total of $25,000 in scholarships.
Saturday, April 10
On the day of the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1), Stonestreet Lexington (G3), Ben Ali (G3) and Giant’s Causeway (L), Keeneland will hold the $3,000 Grade One Gamble handicapping contest. Prizes include cash and as many as six berths in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and 10 spots in the National Horseplayers Championship. The Grade One Gamble is open to players who use an ADW. The deadline to enter is noon on April 10. (Click here for more information and to enter.)
Sunday, April 11
For the Kids Club Family Day Presented by Kentucky Children’s Hospital, five lucky families will have the chance to enjoy a day at the races. Kids Club Families will be emailed a registration link to enter to win the contest. Families who are not current members can sign their children up by clicking here and proceed to the contest registration.