04/17/2017 10:16AM

Doubledogdare first of three remaining stakes

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Debra A. Roma
J Boys Echo worked a half-mile at Churchill Downs on Monday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The front-loaded spring meet has left the Keeneland stakes cupboard relatively bare. Thirteen stakes were run during the first seven days of the meet, but just three will be held over the ensuing eight days: the Grade 3 Doubledogdare on Friday, the Grade 2 Elkhorn on Saturday, and the Grade 3 Bewitch on closing day, April 28.

Unbridled Mo, trained by Todd Pletcher, is among the fillies and mares listed as likely for the 1 1/16-mile Doubledogdare, for which entries were to be drawn Tuesday.

◗ Keeneland has something of a rarity on its eight-race Wednesday card: two 2-year-old races. They go as races 1 and 4.

“I believe we’ve split [2-year-old races] in the past, but it’s been later in the meet,” said racing secretary Ben Huffman. “There are more 2-year-olds ready to run than normal this year, I’d guess because of the $60,000 purses and it was a mild winter everywhere.”

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◗ Ken and Sarah Ramsey set Keeneland records for owners by winning 25 races at the 2013 spring meet and 17 races at the fall meet that year. Those are colossal numbers that figure to hold up for many years.

Four years later, with a massive scale-back under way amid a breeding and racing operation that peaked at more than 600 horses, the Ramsey runners are 0 for 9 at the 15-day spring meet, which hits its midway point Wednesday.

◗ Lynn Whiting was on the job Monday at his Churchill Downs barn, his first day back since the 77-year-old trainer suffered a stroke in late February while wintering at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

May 2 will mark the 25-year anniversary of Whiting winning the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee, ridden by Pat Day.

◗ J Boys Echo had his first workout since finishing fourth in the April 8 Blue Grass Stakes, breezing a half-mile Monday in 49.20 seconds over a harrowed Churchill main track.

Trainer Dale Romans said J Boys Echo, the winner of the Gotham Stakes in March, will breeze again Sunday, then again April 29 in his final serious move before the May 6 Kentucky Derby.