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Keeneland: Raven Run lures stablemates Killer Graces, Via Villaggio
By Marty McGee
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has confirmed Grade 1 winner Killer Graces and her stablemate Via Villaggio for the richest race remaining on the Keeneland fall stakes schedule, the Grade 2, $250,000 Raven Run Stakes on Saturday.
Killer Graces, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet last December, will be trying to snap a seven-race losing streak when ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan in the Raven Run, a seven-furlong Polytrack race expected to get a sizable field of 3-year-old fillies. Via Villaggio, who will have Martin Pedroza aboard, won the Grade 3 Railbird at Hollywood in May.
Both Hollendorfer fillies had their final pre-race drills Friday over the synthetic surface at Betfair Hollywood Park, with Killer Graces going a half-mile in 48.60 seconds and Via Villaggio going a bullet five furlongs in a minute flat.
Among their main challengers will be Gypsy Robin, winner of the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes here in the spring. Trainer Wesley Ward said Gypsy Robin was to have a final pre-race work Tuesday at Keeneland.
Other probables for the Raven Run include Assateague, Drama Drama, La Tia, Lotta Lovin, Monono, Mercy Lou, Run a Risk, Sacristy, and Sweet Cat.
Entries will be drawn Wednesday.
New Believer true horse for course
Ward was home in Florida to watch his son participate in a track meet Sunday, so he wasn’t on hand when one of his favorite horses, New Believer, extended his remarkable record at Keeneland.
A well-back ninth at the top of the stretch in a field of 11 $40,000 claiming sprinters, New Believer rallied widest of all to prevail by a neck, lifting his career mark over the Keeneland Polytrack to 8 for 9. He returned $8 with Julio Garcia aboard. Ward owns and trains New Believer, a 7-year-old gelding who is 1 for 16 in all other races.
“He’s the cat daddy,” said Ward. “He used to have more speed, but he’s getting older. He’s just a cool old horse who just has a thing for Keeneland.”
McPeek still winless at meet
As the 17-day fall meet hits its midpoint Wednesday, trainer Ken McPeek is trying to shake off the effects of an awful start. McPeek runners have gone winless in 31 starts while posting 6 seconds and 5 thirds, although one of the seconds was disqualified from first.
“The ball just hasn’t bounced our way,” said McPeek, who was the leading trainer here at four of the last six meets (2011 spring and 2009-11 fall). “I guess we’re making up for the great meets we’ve had the last three years. I’m resilient, though. I get knocked down but I get back up again. We’re due, and we’ll eventually get our share of winners.”
David Cohen, riding primarily for McPeek, also is seeking his first Keeneland win and entered Wednesday with an 0-for-32 mark.
Dayatthespa possible for Matriarch
Dayatthespa was flown back to New York on Sunday, a day after earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup here the previous afternoon. The New York-bred 3-year-old filly could run next against older mares in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25 “if she trains the way I’d like her to, and if I feel she’s up to all that trip out west entails,” according to trainer Chad Brown.
Meanwhile, Centre Court, second the whole way behind Dayatthespa in the QE II, will target the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes on Nov. 17 at Churchill Downs before getting time off in Florida, said trainer Rusty Arnold.
Also, trainer Wayne Catalano said Stephanie’s Kitten will not advance to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf after finishing sixth as the favorite in the QE II.
◗ The weekly handicapping contest takes place again Wednesday on races 3-9. Entry fee is $10, with the first 200 participants getting a free Daily Racing Form .
- 1.Posted 06/18/2013 09:59AM
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