June 22, 2024

Speedy Key of Life stretches out in Beaumont

Key of Life (Coady Photography)

The $400,000 Beaumont (G2) at Keeneland on Sunday is officially the last scoring prep for the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (G1), but with the point equivalent of crumbs on offer for the one-turn race, the Beaumont instead will, as it typically does, showcase some of the better sprinting talent in the three-year-old filly division.

Indeed, the two shortest-priced offerings on the morning line figure to come out running from the opening bell. Key of Life, the early even-money favorite, was an impressive winner of her two previous starts over the Keeneland strip last fall, including the Myrtlewood S. After two subsequent losses, she regained the winning touch last out in the Purple Martin S. at Oaklawn.

With her lone attempt beyond six furlongs a loss, and with the Beaumont distance being the Beard Course of seven furlongs and 184 feet, Key of Life’s stamina will be tested. Stonewall Star, the other multiple stakes-winning front runner who is 3-1 on the morning line, outclassed her rivals in the Wide Country S. at Laurel over seven panels back in February, but the potential pace scenario could prove unfavorable to her as well.

Interpolate, last seen taking the seven-furlong Ruthless S. at Aqueduct in early February for Chad Brown, is one of several possible beneficiaries of a hot pace. Shortening up from longer attempts are Fun and Feisty and Shoplifter, who kicked off the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series last fall when running one-two in the Pocahontas (G3), while Opus Forty Two landed the Gasparilla S. at Tampa Bay Downs two back. The field is rounded out by recent Turfway graduate She’s On the Rocks.

For the record, Oaks qualifying points of 10-4-3-2-1 will go to the respective top five finishers.

The supporting feature on the first of two Sundays of the Keeneland spring meet is the $250,000 Palisades S., a 5 1/2-furlong turf dash for three-year-olds. Notables in the full field include Saratoga Special (G2) winner Damon’s Mound, Crispy Cat, Gaslight Dancer, Private Creed, and Bushido.