Keepmeinmind is still a maiden, but he will be the horse to beat in Saturday’s $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. Runner-up in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) two starts back, the Robertino Diodoro-trained colt exits a fast-closing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland.
He’s run well against presumptive 2-year-old male champion Essential Quality in his last two outings, and Keepmeinmind will square off against eight rivals in the Kentucky Jockey Club. David Cohen will retake the mount aboard the Kentucky-bred Laoban colt, and late-running Keepmeinmind drew well in post 4 for a ground-saving trip.
The 1 1/16-mile race serves as a Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier, awarding 17 points (10-4-2-1 scale). It’s also one of two graded stakes, along with the Golden Rod (G2), on the 12-race Stars of Tomorrow II program.
A pair of Churchill Downs stakes winners, King Fury and Sittin On Go, will attract support.
King Fury recorded a half-length victory in the Street Sense S. on the Stars of Tomorrow I program, the opening-day of the fall meet, but he never made an impact checking in seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile most recently. Purchased for $950,000 as a yearling, the Curlin colt has recorded both of his career wins at Churchill Downs for Kenny McPeek, and the stalker adds blinkers Saturday. Brian Hernandez Jr. rides.
Sittin On Go opened his racing career with a pair of stylish wins, including a 2 1/2-length score in the Iroquois S. (G3) on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard in early September. He didn’t fire from an outside post in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but the chestnut Brody’s Cause colt is eligible to rebound under the Twin Spires for Dale Romans. Corey Lanerie has the call.
Romans will be represented by three contestants. Smiley Sobotka will run coupled with Sittin On Go following a two-length maiden triumph at Keeneland. Ultimate Badger, who notched his second victory with an entry-level allowance tally over the track on Oct. 25, will return to stakes competition.
Swill will make his first start against winners for Brad Cox following a three-length maiden win in his third outing. By Munnings, the front-running colt is expected to show speed from his innermost post with Florent Geroux. Cox also has Inspector Frost, who removes blinkers following a two-length, wire-to-wire maiden win in his second attempt. John Velazquez replaces Geroux aboard the gray Frosted colt.
Arabian Prince recorded a nice win at first asking at Churchill Downs in early September, and he did not run poorly when fourth in the Street Sense in his second start. Tyler Gaffalione guides the Dallas Stewart-trained late runner. Street Sense third-placer Oncoming Train is also part of the cast.