Wednesday’s media barn notes by Keeneland’s publicity department. Photo of In Italian winning last fall’s Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland by Equisportphotos
BROWN HAS TWO CHANCES AT SIXTH JENNY WILEY VICTORY
Peter Brant’s In Italian (GB), winner of last fall’s First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare here and then runner-up in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), and his Speak of the Devil (FR), winner of the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2), headline a field of nine fillies and mares entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 35thrunning of the $600,000 Jenny Wiley (G1).
The 1 1/16-mile grass test is scheduled as the 10th race on Saturday’s 11-race program with a 5:48 p.m. ET post time. First post Saturday is 1 p.m.
In Italian and Speak of the Devil both are trained by Chad Brown, who won last year’s race with Brant’s eventual champion Regal Glory. Brown has won four of the past five renewals of the Jenny Wiley and five overall beginning with Ball Dancing in 2015. His other winners were Brant’s champion Sistercharlie (IRE) in 2018 and championRushing Fall in 2019 and 2020.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount on In Italian and will break from post position two in her 2023 debut.
Speak of the Devil, fifth in the Honey Fox (G3) in her 2023 debut last month, will exit post position four under Flavien Prat.
Two other Grade 1 winners are in the field: Bobby Flay’s Pizza Bianca and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s Queen Goddess.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Pizza Bianca will be making her initial start of 2023. Pizza Bianca won the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Del Mar and will be ridden Saturday by Jose Ortiz. They will break from post position one.
Queen Goddess, trained by Michael McCarthy, invades from California with four graded stakes victories on a resume highlighted by the 2021 American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita. Winner of the TAA Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational (G3) Presented by Pepsi in her most recent start, Queen Goddess will exit post position three and be ridden by Luis Saez.
Adding an international flavor to the race is Godolphin’s With The Moonlight (IRE).
Trained by Charlie Appleby, With The Moonlight is a two-time Group 2 winner in Dubai this year. Last year, she won the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3) and was runner-up in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) and Lake Placid (G2).
William Buick has the mount and will break from post position five.
The field for the Jenny Wiley, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Pizza Bianca (Jose Ortiz, 123 pounds), In Italian (GB) (Irad Ortiz Jr., 123), Queen Goddess (Saez, 123), Speak of the Devil (FR) (Prat, 123), With The Moonlight (IRE) (Buick, 123), Skims (GB) (John Velazquez, 123), Henrietta Topham (Brian Hernandez Jr., 123),Freedom Speaks (Rey Gutierrez, 123), White Frost (Frankie Dettori, 123).
DISARM SEEKS POSSIBLE KENTUCKY DERBY START
IN STONESTREET LEXINGTON
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm, runner-up in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) in his most recent start, will try to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve starting gate when he heads a field of 11 3-year-olds entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 41st running of the $400,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3).
The 1 1/16-mile test will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 11-race program with a 5:16 p.m. ET post time. First post Saturday is 1 p.m.
The Stonestreet Lexington is the final race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and carries 40 points that will be awarded on a 20-8-6-4-2 basis to the first- through fifth-place finishers. The Derby is limited to the top 20 point earners and invitees that pass the entry box.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Disarm has his 40 points from the Louisiana Derby. The current cut is 45 points.
Owning a record of 4-1-2-1, Disarm will be ridden Saturday by Jose Ortiz and exit post position six.
Also figuring to draw support is Zedan Racing Stables’ Arabian Lion.
Arabian Lion, trained by Bob Baffert, will be making his first start since finishing fourth in the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita on Feb. 4. Runner-up in an allowance race here last fall on the Breeders’ Cup undercard, Arabian Lion will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. and leave from post position 11.
The field for the Stonestreet Lexington, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Baseline Beater (Corey Lanerie, 118 pounds), Reinvest (Joe Talamo, 118), Demolition Duke (Flavien Prat, 118), Transect (Gerardo Corrales, 118),First Mission (Luis Saez, 118), Disarm (Jose Ortiz, 118), Denington (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Empirestrikesfast(Frankie Dettori, 118), Prairie Hawk (John Velazquez, 118), Curly Larry and Mo (Rey Gutierrez, 118), Arabian Lion (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118).
OEUVRE HEADS FIELD OF 12 FOR GIANT’S CAUSEWAY
Richard Perkins’ homebred Oeuvre, a winner of five consecutive races and nine of her past 10, headlines a field of 12 fillies and mares and three also-eligibles entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 26th running of the $250,000 Giant’s Causeway (L).
The 5½-furlong grass test will go as the eighth race on Saturday’s 11-race program with a 4:44 p.m. ET post time. First post Saturday is 1 p.m.
Trained by Chris Block, Oeuvre has won her past two races on the grass at Fair Grounds: the Mardi Gras (L) and the Nelson Menard Memorial. Jareth Loveberry retains the mount and will break from post position four.
Trainer Wesley Ward, who has won the Giant’s Causeway three times including last year with Campanelle (IRE), will send out two fillies making their 2023 debuts: Stonestreet Stables’ Twilight Gleaming (IRE) and Gayla Rankin’s Happy Soul.
Twilight Gleaming, winner of the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at Del Mar, will break from post 10 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Happy Soul, making her second grass start, will break from post three under John Velazquez.
Invading from California is Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Robert LaPenta’s Amy C (GB).
Trained by Phil D’Amato, Amy C has won her past two races with the most recent coming in the Las Cienegas (G3) at Santa Anita. Umberto Rispoli has the mount and will break from post position five.
The field for the Giant’s Causeway, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Train to Artemus (Frankie Dettori, 122 pounds), Creative Credit (Perry Ouzts, 122), Happy Soul (Velazquez, 122), Oeuvre (Loveberry, 122), Amy C (GB) (Rispoli, 124), Minaun (IRE) (Luis Saez, 122), Opening Buzz (Luan Machado, 122), Querobin Dourada(Joe Talamo, 122), Miner’s Queen (Flavien Prat, 122), Twilight Gleaming (IRE) (Irad Ortiz Jr., 122), Little Jewel(Javier Castellano, 122), Star Devine (IRE) (Jose Ortiz, 122). Also-Eligible: Mamba Wamba (IRE) (Julien Leparoux, 122), Sarah Harper (Prat, 122), Fast Giselle (Alex Achard, 122).
FORD HAVING THE RIDE OF A LIFETIME
WITH CHAMPION MODERN GAMES (IRE)
Godolphin’s champion Modern Games (IRE) will make his 2023 debut here Friday in the $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) and – has been the case since 2021 – wherever he goes so goes Lorna Ford.
Ford is the regular exercise rider for Modern Games, a duty she describes as “an absolute pleasure.”
“I have been with him all along, starting when he was a 2-year-old before he raced,” said Ford, who has worked for trainer Charlie Appleby for seven years and prior to that with Sir Michael Stoute. “Horses like this don’t come along very often.”
An earner of more than $3 million and a two-time Breeders’ Cup winner, Modern Games quickly made a fan out of Ford.
“It was his attitude; he took things in stride,” Ford said. “I didn’t know he’d become what he has, but he progressed rapidly.”
Ironically, for all his success, it was a defeat that Ford considers as the best race Modern Games has run.
“I think his best race was when he was second last year to Baaeed at Goodwood (in England) in the (Qatar) Sussex (G1). Baaeed was the best horse in the world,” Ford said.
Her favorite victory for Modern Games in North America came in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar.
“I had never been to a Breeders’ Cup and then to win,” Ford said. “It was absolutely amazing.”
After the 2022 Sussex, the well-traveled Modern Games won the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) in September; returned to England and finished second in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) at Ascot; and came to Keeneland, where he won the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) Presented by PDJF by three-quarters of a length over 2022 Maker’s Mark Mile winner Shirl’s Speight. Modern Games earned the Eclipse Award as North America’s champion male turf horse.
Appleby is scheduled to arrive in Lexington Thursday and be here for the Maker’s Mark Mile.
Regular rider William Buick will be aboard Modern Games, the 3-5 favorite in the morning line. They will start from post seven in the field of eight.
PROSPECTIVE FIELDS FOR UPCOMING STAKES
Here are the prospective entries for upcoming stakes compiled by Stakes Coordinator Baley Hare.
Sunday races. Entries taken Thursday.
$400,000 BEAUMONT (G2) PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT – Possible: Interpolate (trainer Chad Brown), Opus Forty Two (Arnaud Delacour), She’s On the Rocks (Cirilo Gorostieta), Shoplifter (Eddie Kenneally).
$250,000 PALISADES (L) – Bushido (Darwin Banach), Damon’s Mound (Michelle Lovell). Possible: Golden Nugget (Brendan Walsh).Possible: No Nay Hudson (IRE) (Wesley Ward), Olazabal (Eric Foster).
Friday, April 21 race. Entries taken Sunday
$300,000 BAIRD DOUBLEDOGDARE (G3) – Hidden Connection (Bret Calhoun), Shotgun Hottie (Cherie DeVaux), Trobairitz (Neil Pessin). Possible: Desert Dawn (Phil D’Amato).
Saturday, April 22 races. Entries taken Wednesday, April 19
$350,000 ELKHORN (G2) – Scarlet Fusion (Joe Sharp). Possible: Alex Joon (Lindsay Schultz), English Conqueror (Banach).
$300,000 BEN ALI (G3) – Skippylongstocking (Saffie Joseph Jr.), Trademark (Vicki Oliver). Possible: HappyAmerican (Pessin), Rich Strike (Eric Reed), Zozos (Brad Cox).