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2023 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Modern Games Returns To Keeneland
Modern Games (Tim Sudduth/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup)

2023 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Modern Games Returns To Keeneland

Aaron previews the 2023 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (G1) from Keeneland, then gives his top picks & long shots from Friday’s feature race. The 2022 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) champion Modern Games returns to the site of last fall’s triumph, but can trainer Chad Brown spring the upset with an up-and-coming Dr Zempf? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

Godolphin’s champion and two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Modern Games (IRE) heads a field of eight 4-year-olds and up entered Tuesday for Friday’s 35th running of the $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) on the Keeneland turf course. 

The Maker’s Mark Mile will go as the ninth race on Friday’s 10-race program with a 5:16 p.m. ET post time. First post on Friday is 1 p.m. 

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Trained by Charlie Appleby, Modern Games arrived here Saturday to return to where he finished his 2022 campaign with a victory as the 6-5 favorite in a field of 14 in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) Presented by PDJF on Nov. 5 in his most recent start.

This is the fourth trip to North America for Modern Games, who has taken home the first-place check in all of his previous ventures. As a 2-year-old, he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar and last year dominated the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) in Canada. 

An earner of more than $3 million, Modern Games will be ridden Friday by William Buick and break from post position seven. 

Among his rivals are Grade 1 winners Speaking Scout and In Love (BRZ). 

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Speaking Scout won the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar to close his 2022 campaign and opened 2023 with a third-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) Presented by Qatar Racing at Gulfstream Park. 

Trained by Graham Motion, Speaking Scout will be ridden by Luis Saez and break from post position one. Speaking Scout worked a half-mile here Monday in :49.20 on the main track. 

Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I’s In Love won the Keeneland Turf Mile (G1) in 2021 for trainer Paulo Lobo. In Love will be ridden Friday by Vincent Cheminaud and break from post position six. 

Making his U.S. stakes debut for owner Peter Brant and trainer Chad Brown is Dr Zempf (GB). 

A group winner last year in Ireland, Dr Zempf was an easy allowance winner at Gulfstream on March 10. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount on Dr Zempf, who will break from post position five. 

Brant and Brown teamed up to win the 2021 Maker’s Mark Mile with Raging Bull (FR). 

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The field for the Maker’s Mark Mile, with riders and weights from the rail:

  1. Speaking Scout (Saez, 123 pounds)
  2. Up to the Mark (Irad Ortiz Jr., 123)
  3. Chez Pierre (FR) (Flavien Prat, 123)
  4. Emmanuel (Javier Castellano, 123)
  5. Dr Zempf (GB) (Gaffalione, 123)
  6. In Love (BRZ) (Cheminaud, 123)
  7. Modern Games (IRE) (Buick, 123)
  8. Cabo Spirit (Umberto Rispoli, 123)