10/19/2012 4:21PM

Keeneland notes: Eye of the Leopard staying put

Michael Burns
Eye of the Leopard will not run on dirt in the BC Marathon, said his new trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Eye of the Leopard, a recent private purchase from the Sam-Son Farm powerhouse in Canada, could make his first start for his new trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, before the Keeneland meet ends next Saturday, Oct. 27.

Lukas said he will not run Eye of the Leopard on dirt in the BC Marathon, as had been considered while the 6-year-old horse was trained by Malcolm Pierce for Sam-Son. Eye of the Leopard has earned $913,197.

“He’s done all his good on Poly, so I want to keep him there at least until I get to know him a little better,” said Lukas. Eye of the Leopard has worked twice at Churchill Downs for Lukas, the latest being a six-furlong breeze Wednesday.

Rocco taken to hospital

Jockey Joe Rocco Jr. was transported to University of Kentucky Hospital for “further observation” after being unseated in the first race at Keeneland on Friday when his mount, the 9-5 second choice, suffered catastrophic injuries near the eighth pole of the 5 1/2-furlong turf race.

Rocco, who was strapped to a stretcher after being thrown to the ground, was alert and responsive when he entered the track’s medical center from the ambulance, though he had been cautioned to remain still while being transported. In a statement provided by Keeneland, track medical personnel said that he was complaining of back and neck pain, but they noted the jockey was “alert and conscious” and moving his extremities.

Rocco’s mount, Thermal Cat, trained by Wayne Catalano, was euthanized on the track after appearing to fracture both front legs.

Rocco had won with two of his 34 mounts going into the Friday card at Keeneland.

◗ After the 10-year-old Musketier performed so poorly in his career finale by trailing throughout the Sycamore Stakes on Thursday as the lukewarm favorite, one mischievous tweet came across soon afterward: “Musketier read your tweet that he was retiring . . . and started early.”

His swan song was an obvious and unfortunate aberration, as Musketier won 11 times from 50 starts and earned more than $1.13 million.

◗ Rusty Arnold kept alive a streak that dates back more than a quarter-century when he sent out Pisgah Station to win the last race Thursday.

Arnold, 57, has won at least one race at every Keeneland meet since the 1986 spring meet, except for one meet when he had no starters when he was based in New York. He had gone winless with his first 13 starters before the Thursday triumph.

◗ Team Valor and Graham Motion unveiled a nice turf-marathon prospect Thursday when Capitan Futuro, making his North American debut, captured a first-level allowance at 1 1/2 miles in an impressive going-away fashion.

Capitan Futuro, named for Italian soccer star Daniel De Rossi, earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure in the race.

◗ The only allowance on a nine-race Sunday card anchored by the Dowager Stakes is a $56,000 Polytrack route (race 7) with multiple conditions and a field of nine fillies and mares. The 3-1 program favorite is Ariana D, a Poly specialist who most recently ran seventh behind Groupie Doll in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters. Ariana D has switched trainers repeatedly and is back in the care of Andrew McKeever.

– additional reporting by Matt Hegarty