Keeneland's FallStars performers mull future plans
IEAH Stables' DIAMONDRELLA (GB) (Rock of Gibraltar [Ire]) and COURT VISION (Gulch) left the Keeneland barn area at 7 a.m. (EDT) Sunday to return to their home bases in New York after capturing the First Lady (G1) and the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), respectively, on Saturday.
"Everything is good this morning; he came back fine," said Michelle Nevin, assistant to Rick Dutrow, as Court Vision exited Barn 72.
Court Vision is headed back to Aqueduct, while Diamondrella, departing from Barn 22, will return to trainer Angel Penna Jr.'s barn at Belmont.
Both horses earned spots in the starting gate for the Breeders' Cup to be run November 6 and 7 at Santa Anita. Court Vision qualified for the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) on November 7 and Diamondrella qualified for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) on November 6.
Court Vision won the Shadwell Turf Mile by a nose over Karelian (Bertrando) and in the process gave jockey Robby Albarado his fifth victory of the meeting, equaling his total for Keeneland's entire spring season.
Karelian was making his first start since last November for Richard Masson's Green Lantern Stables and trainer Rusty Arnold.
"Another inch, and we'd know where we would be going next," Arnold said. "We knew we had to win yesterday (to go the Breeders' Cup) because he had not run in a year and had no (Breeders' Cup) points.
"We are going to talk it over (about Karelian's next start), but the (November 27) River City (H. [G3] at Churchill Downs) would be the most logical if we stay here. This time of year, the weather is always a concern. We didn't really look much past yesterday."
Godolphin Racing's JUSTENUFFHUMOR (Distorted Humor), who finished sixth as the favorite in the Shadwell Turf Mile, will return to New York on Monday, according to Neal McLaughlin, assistant to his brother Kiaran McLaughlin.
"At least we didn't find out that he doesn't like the 'firm' because that is what he is going to be seeing a lot of in California," McLaughlin said, referring to the colt's struggle Saturday over the ground labeled as "soft." "I knew we were in trouble early when he dropped back and just took himself out of it."
Also departing Keeneland following a win on the Saturday card was Chasing Dreams Racing 2008's NOBLE'S PROMISE (Cuvee), who captured the Breeders' Futurity (G1) by a half-length.
"He cooled out and went back to Churchill Downs last night," said Mike Kleier, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek.
The Breeders' Futurity victory was the second for McPeek to go with Tejano Run's score in 1994. It was the third victory of the two-day old meeting for McPeek, matching his total for the entire spring season. The victory earned Noble's Promise a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run November 7.
Noble's Promise defeated Dogwood Stable's Aikenite (Yes It's True) to deny trainer Todd Pletcher an initial victory in the Breeders' Futurity.
"He will most likely go to California (for the Breeders' Cup) the way he ran yesterday," said Whitt Beckman, Pletcher's assistant overseeing his Keeneland string, about Aikenite.
Aikenite's showing was part of a huge day for the Pletcher barn that registered two Grade 1 victories at Belmont Park with TAKE THE POINTS (Even the Score) winning the Jamaica H. (G1) and DEVIL MAY CARE (Malibu Moon) taking the Frizette S. (G1). Pletcher also won the Oak Tree Mile (G2) at Santa Anita with COWBOY CAL (Giant's Causeway).
Gold Mark Farm's BACKTALK (Smarty Jones), the 7-2 Breeders' Futurity favorite who finished eighth in the field of 14, will be given a break, according to Todd Quast, farm manager for owner Paul Bulmahn.
"Everything was fine until the three-eighths pole yesterday," Quast said. "It was just one of those things. He's run five races and we're going to give him a break and get ready for next year. He doesn't owe us anything. He's won two graded stakes for us."
Champion FOREVER TOGETHER (Belong to Me), who made up 20 lengths to run third in Saturday's First Lady, and multiple Grade 1 winner INFORMED DECISION (Monarchos), who turned in another furious finish to win Saturday's Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), are scheduled to receive a change of scenery in the coming days. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard said both horses would be sent to his farm in Pennsylvania and continue training for their next starts in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita on November 6.
"They both seem to really thrive off having a little spell at my farm, where they can be turned out in paddocks," said Sheppard, who trains both horses for George Strawbridge's Augustin Stable. "It's a little change from the racetrack routine. I'm going to take them back there for a couple of weeks and then bring them back before the end of the (Keeneland) meet and put the finishing touches on them before we fly to California."
Informed Decision is now undefeated in six career starts on all-weather tracks. In April at Keeneland, she won the Madison (G1), and a year ago, she set Keeneland's seven-furlong track record of 1:20.86 when she won the Raven Run (G2).
Forever Together will defend her title in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Informed Decision will race in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
Sheppard, who sent out six horses on the first three days of the Keeneland fall meeting, has several horses pointed at stakes at the end of the season. Canadian champion CLOUDY'S KNIGHT (Lord Avie), who is owned by S J Stables LLC, is scheduled to race in the Sycamore (G3) on October 22. Augustin's PROJECT ROSE (Not for Love), who won the 10TH race on Friday, might return on October 23 in the Valley View (G3). Augustin's WINTER VIEW (Thunder Gulch), who won the Bewitch (G3) at Keeneland in April, is being pointed at the Dowager on October 25.
"We've got a few more bullets to fire and are looking forward to it," Sheppard said.
SILVER TIMBER (Prime Timber), who won the $125,000 Woodford (G3) over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, is also expected to make his next start in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita as a supplemental entry. For the time being, the gelding will remain at Keeneland while owner Michael Dubb and trainer Chad Brown, who is based at Belmont Park, plan his future.
"He likes training here," Brown said about Silver Timber, who won the Woodford by 1 1/4 lengths on a course labeled "soft."
Brown, who claimed Silver Timber for $25,000 for Dubb in April at Gulfstream Park, said he ran Silver Timber in the Woodford because of the timing of the race. He chose the Woodford over the $500,000 Nearctic (Can-G2) on October 17 at Woodbine.
"I thought this horse was Breeders' Cup potential," Brown said about Silver Timber, who has won three of four races since being claimed. "Running here gave me an extra week before the Breeders' Cup. That was my main reason. I left a lot of purse money on the table not going to Canada. I gambled and said, 'If I win here, that's still a good paycheck and I gain the extra week of rest.'
"He runs better fresh. I think when you run this horse too close together he's not as effective. I haven't run him much since I claimed him. I only run him when he's doing really, really well."
The Woodford marked the first Keeneland stakes win for Brown, who was a Keeneland assistant to Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. Brown, who went out on his own in 2007, won last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with Maram (Sahm). After checking on his Keeneland horses on Sunday morning, Brown flew back to New York, where the undefeated Maram is racing Monday in the $100,000 Pebbles S. at Belmont.
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