Keeneland Stakes Preview

Horse Racing Radar
Frisco Bash
Frisco Bash is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Top level racing at Keeneland continues! We've got six stakes races between Friday and Saturday, two of them being Grade 1 affairs over the turf: The Maker's Mile and The Jenny Wiley. We also have the Lexington Stakes, which awards qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. Here's a look at what's to come:

The $300K Maker's Mile Stakes (G1) — 1 mile, Turf, Four-year-olds and upward. Post Time 5:30 PM ET. 

Nine horses will line up for what looks like an ultra-competitive Grade 1 event. The favorite is RAGING BULL at odds of only 7-2, who makes his comeback race after a 10th place finish in the Breeder's Cup Mile last November. He's been training consistently for Chad Brown, not missing a work week dating back to February. He'll have to contend with HIT THE ROAD at 4-1 and SACRED LIFE also at 4-1. HIT THE ROAD was last seen winning the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita for trainer Dan Blacker. HIT THE ROAD makes his first start out of California and puts his four-race winning streak on the line. SACRED LIFE enters off a seven-month layoff as Chad Brown's second entrant. To SACRED LIFE's advantage, he registered a win over this Keeneland lawn back in October of 2019, in an Allowance race going a bit longer. His most impressive, recent effort was his fourth-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1).  

The $100K TVG Limestone Turf Sprint Stakes — 5 1/2 furlongs, Turf, Fillies, Three-years-old. Post Time 4:24 PM ET.

A large field of thirteen fillies will dash over the Keeneland grass. The 8-5 favorite CAMPANELLE looms prominently over this field for Wesley Ward. She won three in a row before her fourth place in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last November. She was the third betting choice that day at odds of $4.70 to win. The hope is she'll run back to her Grade 1 winning form she showed back in Europe last summer. NEW BOSS at 6-1 will try to steal the show; she enters off two consecutive wins at Fair Grounds for trainer W. Bret Calhoun. TOBY'S HEART, also at 6-1, will seek to rebound off her recent loss in the Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3). Prior to that, she was a winner at Saratoga in the Bolton Landing Stakes.

The $300K Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) — 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies and Mares, Four-year-olds and upward. Post Time 6:03 PM ET.

Trainer Chad Brown holds a strong hand in this race, sending ETOILE and TAMAHERE. ETOILE comes off a victory in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1). This was at Woodbine almost six months ago. TAMAHERE will be making her third U.S. start. She was an impressive winner of the Sands Points (G2), but finished sixth next time out in the Matriarch (G1) as the $2.20 to win favorite. She keeps hot rider Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard for what will be her first race in four months. Grade 1-placed MAXIM RATE ships in from California and brings jockey Umberto Rispoli with her, who rode her to victory in the Goldikova Stakes (G2) two races back. 

The $200K Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (G3) — 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Three-year-olds. Post Time 5:30 PM ET. The winner will receive 20 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Ten horses will compete for some urgent Kentucky Derby qualifying points. BEZOS from the Bob Baffert barn ships in for the contest and will be ridden by Drayden Van Dyke. He enters off an impressive maiden-breaking victory at Santa Anita. This will be his first two turn attempt.  PROXY is also in the mix from the seven-hole. He seeks a redemption effort from his disappointing fourth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2) last month. Good to see John Velazquez stays on board. IT'S MY HOUSE for trainer Robert Hess Jr. comes in off a solid win in the Turf Paradise Derby. SWIFTSURE is a new shooter for trainer Steve Asmussen and is a perfect  2 for 2. In his last victory at Oaklawn Park, he earned a Equibase Speed Figure of 100.

The $150K Ben Ali Stakes (G3) — 1 1/8 miles, Dirt, Four-year-olds and upward. Post Time 4:24 PM ET.

NIGHT OPS for trainer Brad Cox makes his third start off a four-month layoff. He was last seen running third in the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park, but today he is sharp as a tack. He recently worked 5F in 1:00.20, the fifth fastest of 36 works at that distance. SILVER DUST for trainer W. Bret Calhoun will provide stiff competition, as he seeks to benefit from a drop in class. He was last seen finishing seventh in his comeback race at Fair Grounds. But prior to that he was tussling with KNICKS GO, TOM'S D'ETAT, OWENDALE, BY MY STANDARDS. His pair of third-place finishes in the Alysheba Stakes (G2) and Stephen Foster (G2) make him formidable here.

The $100K Giant's Causeway — 5 1/2 furlongs, Turf, Fillies and Mares, Three-years-old and upward. Post Time 4:57 PM ET.

INTO MYSTIC for trainer Brandon Walsh looms large amongst this field of ten. She ran well over the Keeneland lawn when she finished second to GOT STORMY in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (G3) back in October. She breaks from the one hole and requires a forwardly placed trip. She could be a tough customer to get by if she inherits the lead turning for home. ELLE Z for trainer Chris Hartman and A BIT OF BOTH for trainer Michael Maker are both coming off of victories and could be tough. Trainer Wesley Ward sends KARAK, who makes her first start in almost a year. Her win in Turfway Park's Cincinnati Trophy Stakes puts her competitively in the mix. She earned an Equibase Figure of 106 for that effort, plus she is piloted by Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.


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