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Keeneland: Scatman impresses in comeback
By Marty McGee
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Scatman cut a favorable impression at Keeneland on Thursday, when he returned from a five-month layoff and won a second-level Polytrack allowance in gate-to-wire fashion.
Scatman was a fringe contender on the Triple Crown trail at Oaklawn Park this spring, finishing second in the Southwest Stakes and third in the Rebel for trainer Mike Lauer. But his form went awry after returning to Kentucky when he ran ninth in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and 10th in the American Turf on Kentucky Derby eve at Churchill Downs.
Owner Jim O’Grady of JEOG Racing opted to turn the horse over to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who kept the colt at Churchill with longtime assistant Kenny McCarthy.
“He’d been working really well,” McCarthy said. “If you look back at his form, it really looks like he can run.”
With Shaun Bridgmohan aboard from the outside post Thursday, Scatman led virtually every step of the seven furlongs, finishing in 1:22.31 and earning a 90 Beyer Speed Figure.
“I imagine we’ll just keep him around for another allowance at Churchill,” McCarthy said.
Ever So Lucky completed an exacta of Blue Grass also-rans − he was 10th in the Blue Grass − closing steadily to finish second to Scatman by three-quarters of a length.
Longshot scores Win and You’re In stakes
Not only did the Grade 3 Jessamine County Stakes produce a probable starter for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in Moonwalk, the 36-1 winner of the Thursday feature, but runner-up Kitten’s Point also might travel to California “if she can get in,” according to trainer Graham Motion.
Few races are as hotly contested in the final yards as was the Jessamine County. Moonwalk, with Corey Lanerie up, rerallied to win by a nose, with Summer of Fun third by a head and Oscar Party fourth by a nose. Only 1 1/4 lengths separated the top seven finishers in the field of 11.
The Jessamine County was the eighth and last Win and You’re In event of the meet. Moonwalk, bred and owned by the Spendthrift Farm of B. Wayne Hughes, is out of the Red Ransom mare Lucinda K and therefore a half-sister to the late Atswhatimtalknbout, who ran fourth for Hughes in the 2003 Kentucky Derby.
New Believer different horse on Polytrack
At first glance, New Believer is just a run-of-the-mill mid-level claimer, with eight wins from 24 career starts. But when it comes to running over the Polytrack at Keeneland, look again: New Believer has won 7 of 8 starts here.
“Obviously, he loves Keeneland,” said Wesley Ward, who owns and trains the 7-year-old gelding.
New Believer will make his next appearance Sunday, when he steps up in class in the third race, an open $40,000 claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on the Poly. He was fourth in his latest start, a $20,000 “beaten” turf race on the Saratoga turf.
Graded winners could clash in Raven Run
Keeneland racing officials are hoping to get a matchup of graded winners next Saturday in the Grade 2, $250,000 Raven Run Stakes.
Killer Graces, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet last winter, and Gypsy Robin, winner of the Grade 2 Beaumont here in the spring, are among the probables for the seven-furlong Polytrack race. Stakes coordinator Alison DeLuca said she is hoping for at least eight 3-year-old fillies from a nominations list of 30.
The Saturday card will be the first half of the only “Bluegrass Doubleheader” of the meet. The second half comes Saturday night, when Kentucky hosts Georgia in an NCAA football game at nearby Commonwealth Stadium.
The other stakes here next week are the Sycamore on Thursday, the Pin Oak Valley View on Friday, and the Dowager on Sunday.
* For all his phenomenal success in racing, no one has dared compare Todd Pletcher to God – until now. In an overt acknowledgment of Pletcher’s accomplishments for his Zayat Stables and other clients, Ahmed Zayat has named a 2-year-old In Todd We Trust. The colt will make his career debut Sunday in the fourth race. The $470,000 purchase was sired by Tiznow and is trained by Pletcher.
* Keeneland has been heavily marketing Sunday as the day fans can come see the 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner, Plum Pretty, paraded in the paddock between races. Fans are being encouraged to wear purple as a tribute to Plum Pretty, who is among the marquee names consigned to the upcoming November breeding stock sale.
* Also Sunday, world-class sprinter Tyson Gay will be feted by Keeneland for his many feats in track and field. Gay, 30, is a Lexington native.
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