10/21/2011 2:24PM

Keeneland: Don’t Tell Sophia earns stakes shot


Trainer Phil Sims was elated to see Don’t Tell Sophia live up to her 8-5 favoritism by winning a first-level allowance Thursday. Sims, 50, intends to race the 3-year-old Congaree filly next in the Nov. 12 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs or the Nov. 26 Pago Hop at Fair Grounds after she rallied from well back to win going away under leading jockey Julien Leparoux.

Don’t Tell Sophia “had the worst trip in the world in her last race,” said Sims, referring to a 13th-place finish in the Sept. 17 Pucker Up on the Arlington turf. “It was great to see her show her true colors.”

Meanwhile, Sims said he will be taking 16 horses to Fair Grounds for the first time in his 32-year career, forsaking Turfway Park, the northern Kentucky track where his horses have raced during the winter months when vanning from his longtime Keeneland base.

“The economics just don’t make sense anymore at Turfway,” said Sims.

McPeek runners barely miss dead heat for win

He might not even need it to take his fourth Keeneland training title from the last five meets, but Ken McPeek nearly got two wins in the same race when his uncoupled of duo of Vee One Rotate and Saturday Launch finished maybe an inch apart on the wire in the fourth race Thursday. Vee One Rotate, the 2-1 favorite, held the lead in deep stretch of the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race before an inside surge from his stablemate, the 5-2 second choice, very nearly salvaged the dead heat.

Into Friday action, McPeek led the meet standings with seven wins. He also won a 1 1/4-mile allowance race Thursday with Lady Aspen after sending out Atigun to a hard-closing runner-up finish at 51-1 behind Hammers Terror.

“It was a very good day,” said McPeek.

◗ Trainer Graham Motion said Friday that owner Gill Johnston plans to pay the supplementary fee to make Hoofit eligible to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 5 at Churchill. Hoofit, a New Zealand-bred 4-year-old gelding, won the Phoenix Stakes, a fees-paid “Win and You’re In” event here opening day. The move will cost $100,000, minus a $10,000 shipping stipend, while entry and starting fees also are covered because of the Phoenix victory.

◗ Tickets are still available for $75 each for the annual Thoroughbred Club of America testimonial dinner here Oct. 30. George Strawbridge Jr., whose Augustin Stable has been a perennial leading owner in North America and abroad for many years, will be the Honor Guest. Further information is available at (859) 254-4282.

◗ Sunday is Military Family Day at Keeneland, with U.S. Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer being the special guest of honor. Sgt. Meyer, a 23-year-old native of Columbia, Ky., was presented with the highly prestigious Medal of Honor last month by President Obama in Washington.

◗ Trainer Michael Ann Ewing scored the first victory of her career when Song Girl captured the first race here Thursday under Robby Albarado.