Today’s Keeneland barn notes by track’s publicity department (Grace Clark photo above: Rafael Bejarano guided California Angel to victory over Diamond Wow and Turnerloose):
- CALIFORNIA IS NEXT STOP FOR JPMORGAN CHASE JESSAMINE WINNER CALIFORNIA ANGEL
- GAINES HOPING SCRIPT FLIPS IN CLOSING REMARKS’ FAVOR IN QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP PRESENTED BY DIXIANA
- UPCOMING POTENTIAL KEENELAND STAKES FIELDS
- GALLOPING OUT
- FALL MEET LEADERS
- FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
CALIFORNIA IS NEXT STOP FOR JPMORGAN CHASE JESSAMINE WINNER CALIFORNIA ANGEL
Winning Wednesday’s $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) as a 17-1 longshot earned California Angel a fees-paid entry and travel expenses to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run on Nov. 5 at Del Mar, and she became trainer George Leonard III’s first graded-stakes winner.
“She came back from the race in excellent shape; I couldn’t ask for better,” Leonard said about the daughter of California Chrome. “I haven’t made travel arrangements yet. I haven’t woken up from the dream.”
Leonard had little time to celebrate the milestone victory because he had to drive California Angel back to his Indiana Grand base about 2½ hours northwest of Lexington. He also had no time to entertain any offers from those interested in purchasing the filly, a Keeneland sale graduate as a weanling who sold to current owner Chris Walsh as a 2-year-old in training.
“I put her in her stall and stayed for an hour or two to make sure she was comfortable and then went home,” Leonard said. “I didn’t answer many calls after the race – only those from my immediate family. I wasn’t too talkative to a lot of people. I was just enjoying my time.”
Leonard, who is from Louisiana, sent out his first starter in 1991. He said Walsh is an Indiana resident who he has known “for quite a few years.”
“They are good people who I always talked to and watched their horses run (for other trainers),” he said. “They have other trainers, and I am fortunate to have them.”
California Angel won her career debut on grass at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 8 as a 28-1 longshot. Three weeks later, she was third in a Churchill Downs allowance race on dirt in her only other start.
GAINES HOPING SCRIPT FLIPS IN CLOSING REMARKS’ FAVOR
IN QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP PRESENTED BY DIXIANA
The comment lines in the past performances for Harris Farms’ homebred Closing Remarks read like something from a Stephen King novel.
“Waited” … “Clipped heels” … “Stumbled start” … “Brushed rival” …
Closing Remarks brings a 6-1-4-1 record in 2021 into Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana in search of her first graded stakes victory.
“If you watch the films of her races, it is evident,” Gaines texted, referring to the troubled trips that cost Closing Remarks a major stakes score.
Second in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) in her most recent start, Closing Remarks arrived at Keeneland Wednesday evening and backtracked once around the main track Thursday morning.
As with King’s mysteries, there is usually a new wrinkle waiting on the next page. For Closing Remarks, that wrinkle could be the weather forecast for Lexington the next two days.
Rain is predicted to begin Friday afternoon and continue through Saturday morning.
“Soft turf! She has never seen such!” Gaines texted.
UPCOMING POTENTIAL KEENELAND STAKES FIELDS
$150,000 Sycamore (G3): (Entries taken Sunday, Oct. 17; race Friday, Oct. 22) – Bama Breeze (trainer Rusty Arnold), Breakpoint (CHI) (Steve Asmussen), Sole Volante (Patrick Biancone). Spooky Channel (Jason Barkley), Two Emmys (McLean Robertson). Possible: Another Mystery (Chris Block).
$250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2): (Entries taken Wednesday, Oct. 20; race Saturday, Oct. 23) – Caramel Swirl (Bill Mott), Joy’s Rocket (Steve Asmussen), Miss Speedy (Mark Casse), Souper Sensational (Casse). Possible: Cilla (Brett Brinkman).
$150,000 Perryville: (Entries taken Wednesday, Oct. 20; race Saturday, Oct. 23) – He’smyhoneybadger (Brad Cox), Soup and Sandwich (Mark Casse).
$150,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3): (Entries taken Thursday, Oct. 21; race Sunday, Oct. 24) – Eesha My Flower (Ian Wilkes), English Affair (Rusty Arnold), Kelsey’s Cross (Patrick Biancone), La Lune (GB) (Edward Vaughan). Possible: Adventuring (Brad Cox), Dalika (GER) (Al Stall Jr.).
Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach talks to trainer George Weaver about Lead Guitar in Friday’s Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3).
FALL MEET LEADERS
Through Oct. 13 (4 days of 17-day season)
|Brian Hernandez Jr.||22||5||2||3||$648,356|
|Silverton Hill (Bonnie and Tommy Hamilton)||2|
FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Every race day
Keeneland Select Handicapping Challenge. Sport of Kings, the free horse racing contest website, has this new free online handicapping contest for casual fans and serious horseplayers. Participants make mythical selections on two Keeneland races for each day of the meet. Two seats to the 2022 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship will be awarded. To sign up, click here.
Thursday, Oct. 14
14th Make-A-Wish Day. Local Thoroughbred farms and organizations team up with Keeneland to grant wishes for many deserving children. At Keeneland, the children and their families will be treated to a VIP experience, complete with presenting a trophy after each race, meeting jockeys and experiencing all the excitement of a day at the races. Patrons may drop a donation in the Wishing Well at Keeneland or visit oki.wish.org/keenelandteam to make a donation online.
Friday, Oct. 15
College Scholarship Day Presented by Lane’s End. Full-time college students can enjoy a day at the races and the chance to win scholarships and prize packages provided by local businesses. A total of $40,000 in scholarships are available. Any student who pre-registers is eligible to win one of 10 $2,000 scholarships provided by Keeneland and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. Students present at Keeneland that day can win one of two $10,000 scholarships provided by Lane’s End and can win prize packages from local businesses. Pre-register online atwww.Keeneland.com/csd. Admission is free with a college ID. Keeneland and Amplify will team up to provide behind the scenes experiences in the Paddock, Winner’s Circle and Outdoor Boxes for students at Keeneland.
VIP Buffalo Trace Giveaway. Patrons may enter to win a VIP Buffalo Trace Distillery Experience: a private behind-the-scenes tour of Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky; lunch in the Master Distillers Room and a private whiskey tasting. The first 2,000 people to register will receive a free Buffalo Trace drawstring bag. While supplies last. Registration table is located trackside near Elevator C beginning at 11 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16
$300,000 Guaranteed Saturday Pick 4.
Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge. The in-person and remote handicapping contest features Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana. Awarding berths in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and the NHC Challenge, the live-money contest is held in cooperation with XpressBet, NYRA Bets, 4NJ Bets and TVG. Click here for more information.
Every Friday and Saturday
The Hill. At this popular tailgating area, fans can watch and wager while enjoying the racing action from the Jumbotron and wagering tent, while food trucks and live music presented by The Burl create a festive atmosphere. No ticket or reservation is required for The Hill.
Sunrise Trackside. This free Saturday morning program is geared toward families and offers a unique view of Thoroughbreds during training hours. Children’s activities from 8-10 a.m. include a meet and greet with Keeneland mascot Buckles, along with face painting, games and more. Fans can purchase coffee and donuts while watching horses train. The Keeneland Track Kitchen at the east end of the stable area (with no track view) is open for breakfast that includes “grab and go” and seating options. A 30-minute Paddock demonstration by an equine-related operation begins at 10 a.m. Mini tours of Keeneland will be available at the Welcome Stand in the Paddock.
Sunday, Oct. 17
Keeneland Kids Club Family Day Presented by Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The Keeneland Kids Club is the Official Kids Club for Keeneland fans 12 and younger. Kids Club members and their families are invited to enjoy this special day at the races by receiving free general admission and access to reserved Grandstand seating. Children’s activities will take place in the North Terrace from noon to 4 p.m.
Fall $400 Challenge. Keeneland’s live bankroll handicapping tournament has a $400 buy-in with a live bankroll of $250 and $150 prize fund fee. Players will be able to wager any amount on any race at Keeneland with no minimum wagers or minimum number of races. The tournament is only available at Keeneland. Click here for more information.