10/11/2010 12:24PM

Bold Hawk returns after nearly three years

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Bold Hawk wins the 2007 Hawthorne Derby. He has not started since fall 2007.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The barrage of stakes run during the opening FallStars Weekend at Keeneland created the predictable void for the first full week of racing here, although a nine-race Wednesday card is not without a combination of class and intrigue.

A 6-year-old gelding named Bold Hawk should draw notice when he makes his first start in nearly three years in the featured sixth of nine Wednesday races, a $53,000, third-level allowance at a mile on the turf. In fall 2007, Bold Hawk won the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby, then was third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby before going to the sidelines.

“Oh my gosh, has it been almost three years?” trainer Jimmy Toner asked from New York. “It’s really funny, but this horse has never really had anything major go wrong. It’s not like he bowed [a tendon] or fractured a knee. After the Hollywood Derby, he did have a little something with a suspensory, so I gave him six months off, and then he didn’t come back as well as I had wanted. I finally had him ready to run this spring, but then we had to do a little throat operation. He’s a classy horse with ability, and we’ve basically just taken our time with him.”

Bold Hawk will be ridden by Julien Leparoux when breaking from post 3 in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up. His main competition appears to be Desert Wheat, an earner of nearly $690,000, and Boots Ahead, most recently third in the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth Park.

One other allowance is carded for Wednesday: the eighth, a $49,000, entry-level turf route that drew an overflow field of fillies and mares. Last-out Saratoga maiden winners Unbridled Humor and Flourish are among a handful of top contenders.

The Keeneland stakes schedule resumes Thursday with the $150,000 Jessamine for 2-year-old turf fillies. In all, three stakes are on tap for this five-day week, with the $100,000 Franklin County on Friday and the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Saturday. Nine graded stakes were run here on opening weekend.

◗ Keeneland has moved first post for the balance of the meet to 1:15 p.m. Eastern, 10 minutes later than what was in use for the first three programs.