04/13/2012 1:29PM

Keeneland: Gypsy Robin returns in Beaumont for Ward

Tom Keyser
Gypsy Robin comes off a seven-month layoff in the Grade 2 Beaumont. “She’s training great here,” said trainer Wesley Ward.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It stands to reason that a trainer who made his reputation by getting young horses primed for their first starts should be similarly adept with a young horse returning from a layoff. Wesley Ward, as phenomenal as he is with 2-year-old first-time starters, will put that hypothesis to a tangible test Sunday when sending out Gypsy Robin off a seven-month layoff in the Grade 2, $150,000 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland.

Ward, the 44-year-old ex-jockey whose work with 2-year-olds is widely lauded throughout the racing business, said he is confident he has Gypsy Robin ready to perform the way she did when the public last saw her capturing the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park in early September.

“She came up with a little knee issue after the Sorority, and we gave her all the time she needed,” said Ward, who trains Gypsy Robin for a partnership that includes the King 9 Stables of star New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. “We were leaning between this race and the Star Shoot [at Woodbine] in Canada, and we just decided to go in the Beaumont. She’s training great here, and we didn’t have to ship.”

Gypsy Robin, a Kentucky-bred by the young sire Daaher, has had seven recorded workouts since early February after she was put back into training at Palm Meadows in south Florida. Her last two breezes, both in 1:01 over five furlongs, came over the Keeneland Polytrack.

“I really think she’s back,” Ward said.

It should help the cause of Gypsy Robin that the opposition Sunday does not appear to be particularly strong or deep. Only six 3-year-old fillies are entered in the Beaumont, which goes at the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet, and Gypsy Robin is one of just two stakes winners in the lineup.

The other stakes winner is Sacristy, the 7-5 morning-line favorite who drew just outside of Gypsy Robin in the far outside post and will have a new rider in Julien Leparoux. Sacristy won the Grade 3 Old Hat at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day and will be making her first start since finishing a distant third in the Forward Gal four weeks later.

Sacristy, a Pulpit filly owned by the Peachtree Stable, has had six workouts since the Forward Gal, her last three coming at Keeneland, including a five-furlong bullet of 58 seconds on April 3.

“She’s telling me she’s ready,” trainer Wayne Catalano said.

The balance of the Beaumont field is Milania, Piskacha, Livi Makenzie, and Born Bullish. Of those, maybe Milania has the best upset chance, considering her experience over synthetic surfaces.

The Beaumont goes as the eighth of nine Sunday races, with post time set for 4:42 p.m. Eastern. First post is 1:05.

The Beaumont is directly preceded by the second of two allowances on the card. It’s a $66,000 turf mile in which Moryba and Workin for Hops, who have combined to earn more than $1.25 million, figure as favorites in a field of 10 older horses. Workin for Hops makes his first start under the care of Graham Motion after being away since finishing third here last fall in the Fayette Stakes for Mike Stidham.

After Sunday, Keeneland goes dark for two days before another five-day week resumes Wednesday.

[MORE: Read handicapping analysis, download PPs, and wager on full Sunday Keeneland card]