Funny how 15 days flies by so quickly. I look forward to Keeneland all winter, and in a blink of an eye, it is gone. I was down there the other day, and was already thinking about watching the horses run in the cool crisp air of fall. Oh, the beauty. Oh, the pageantry… Many have their favorite ovals, and for this Kentucky boy it will be forever Keeneland.
But, it would be poor manners not to wind up with a few runners that need a long hard glance.
Keeneland – Friday 4/23
Race #3 – #2 Katy Now (7-2).
John Velasquez has the call, and that is half the battle. Pletcher is the trainer, and he is magic anywhere he runs. Go back three races ago and you will see a race against Devil May Care. I think you may be hearing from this gal down the road. 1/1 at Keeneland, and is 1/1 on the poly track. Nice works at Palm Meadows give me confidence, and coming off a victory yields this barn a 25% win clip.
Race #6 – #1 No More Yogi’s (8-5).
Alex Solis up for Wes Ward. They have been winning at 33%, and 100% ITM. Had a trip over the surface, and those runners who return are there for a reason. Beaten favorite last out, and they come back to win 31%. Wesley Ward does extremely well with babies, and this may be his last chance. The second race angle gets him a check at 26%. I like the rail, and and she should get the hook and not look back. Solis still has the goods, and makes a nice addition to Kentucky.
Race #9 – #3 Sudden War (6-1).
Solis again for Ken McPeek. They only win 20% of the time. 3rd off a layoff, and that can be ugly for the others. Was beaten by Bourbon Bay two times. I think you are judged by the company you keep, and I see a timed ride to hang on at the wire. Yesterday, frozen fractions almost allowed a runner to go wire to wire. I think he can pull it off, and the refreshed look from last year may make the difference. 6/7 on the weeds, and this is one of the best courses in the world. I would look for an up close trip, and Solis should have extra gas in the tank with that work on 4/15 in Lexington.
It is hard to believe. I have always counted my years as a horse player by the opening and closing of Keeneland. It is special. The history is deep in the granite walls, and you can hear the sounds of the great ones if you listen closely. It won’t be long and summer will fade to fall. The horses come back, and the Breeders’ Cup will soon follow. Who needs a calendar? I can tell you where I will be when Keeneland is running.