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On the eve of his final work before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) on May 7 at Churchill Downs, Reddam Racing’s Nyquist on Thursday about 7:30 a.m. returned to Keeneland’s five-furlong training track for the second consecutive morning.
With exercise Jonny Garcia aboard, Nyquist jogged twice around the training track alongside assistant Jack Sisterson on the pony.
“Tomorrow’s a big day,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “We initially thought about taking him to the main track today, but when it was raining earlier, we just decided to take him to the training track, give him an easy day and save him up for tomorrow.”
O’Neill had said his reason for sending Nyquist to Keeneland on April, the day after the Uncle Mo colt won the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, was to take advantage of the all-weather training track in case of rain.
“It’s been great,” he said about the plan. “We haven’t missed a beat. You have the luxury of staying on schedule with this great training track here.”
At 12:15 p.m. on Friday, closing day of Keeneland’s 2016 Spring Meet, Nyquist, with jockey Mario Gutierrez aboard, is to work in company with Grade 1 winner Ralis. Watch the work here.
“He’ll probably walk tomorrow around this time (7:30 a.m.) for a little bit and get geared up – almost like you would for a race,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill has two horses entered in tomorrow’s seventh race, an allowance race. In that race, Gutierrez is named to ride Sorryaboutnothing, and Florent Geroux will be aboard Barton Lodge (IRE).
On Thursday about 9 a.m. Reddam Racing’s Land Over Sea, being pointed at the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1), also jogged twice around the training track alongside the pony.
O’Neill said the daughter of Bellamy Road would work Friday morning around 8:45 a.m. with Garcia aboard.
He said the horses likely would leave Keeneland for their trip to Churchill around noon on Saturday.
Few Thoroughbreds have traveled more than Generosidade (URU), who is entered in Friday’s $150,000 Bewitch (G3). Bred in Uruguay by Stanley Bergman’s Haras Phillipson, the 7-year-old daughter of English and Irish highweight Nedawi raced in Brazil (where she won a Grade 1 race), Argentina and France before being sent to trainer Paulo Lobo in Southern California.
Since May 2015, Generosidade has made five starts for Lobo at Santa Anita. Her first win in North America came March 13 in smashing style when at odds of 71.40-1 she defeated males in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey (G3). In her next start, on April 10, the horse who was second in the San Luis Rey, Quick Casablanca, finished in front of her in the San Juan Capistrano (G3) at 1 7/8 miles.
“She needs distance,” said Lobo, a Brazilian who conditioned 2002 champion 3-year-old filly Farda Amiga. “It’s difficult to find a long-distance race in America.”
Searching for the right spot for Generosidade and not wanting to run her against males again, Lobo found the Bewitch. She arrived at Keeneland Wednesday, settled in at trainer Ignacio Correas’ barn and Thursday about 6:30 a.m. was on the main track, Lobo said, “just to stretch her legs.”
The Bewitch marks the Keeneland debut for Lobo and Generosidade’s jockey, Tiago Pereira. Winner of the 2010 Dubai World Cup (G1) aboard Gloria de Campaeo (BRZ), Pereira has been based in Southern California for almost three years.
Lobo, who said breeder-owner Bergman would be at Keeneland for the Bewitch, noted the rain in Central Kentucky during the past two days might work in Generosidade’s favor.
“I think she tends to like the softer ground,” he said. “I think the rain helps her.”
One of Keeneland’s goals in hosting the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships was to enhance the quality of horses racing here during the Spring and Fall Meets.
During the 2016 Spring Meet, 45 horses who competed in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup either raced or worked at Keeneland. Thirty-five horses raced here (countingWar Envoy, who is entered in today’s ninth race), and an additional 10 horses worked here.
Four Breeders’ Cup winners raced during the Spring Meet:
Six Spring Meet stakes were won by horses that raced in the Breeders’ Cup:
Another notable performance from a Breeders’ Cup competitor occurred April 9 when Limousine Liberal (Sprint) broke the 6½-furlong track record in an allowance race.
Among the horses who have trained at Keeneland is undefeated champion and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) favorite Nyquist, who won the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). The colt arrived here April 3, the day after winning the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1), to train. He worked here April 15 and April 23 and is to work again tomorrow at 12:15 p.m.. Trainer Doug O’Neill’s other horses here include Grade 2 winner Land Over Sea, pointing to the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
The horses who raced in the Breeders’ Cup and during the Spring Meet are Barbados, Brody’s Cause, Camelot Kitten, Catch a Glimpse, Da Big Hoss, Dacita (CHI), Dothraki Queen, Fioretti, Gliding By, Holy Boss, I’m a Chatterbox, Limousine Liberal, Ma Can Do It, Nickname, Rachel’s Valentina, Ready for Rye, Recepta, Red Rifle, Right There, Riker, Salama, Sheer Drama, Shining Copper, Siding Spring, Something Extra, Stopchargingmaria, Super Majesty, Swipe, Tepin, The Great War, Tourist, Twilight Eclipse, Undrafted, War Envoy and Wavell Avenue.
Horses who raced in the Breeders’ Cup and have worked here during the Spring Meet are Azar, Bradester, Curalina, Grand Arch, Green Mask, Land Over Sea, Nyquist, Private Zone, Ralis and Thrilled.
Mark Guidry tried to get the race track out of his system. There were dalliances with golf and fishing and other activities but nothing filled the void created when he retired from riding in 2007 after 33 years in the saddle.
“I’m an old race tracker and I’m going to die an old race tracker because there ain’t nothing like it,” Guidry said recently while at Keeneland.
After a turn as a trainer and then a brief return to riding, Guidry retired for good in 2014 and began searching for a way to stay involved in racing. At the encouragement of friends, he decided to become a jockey agent and picked up James Graham as a client when the rider moved his tack from Santa Anita to Fair Grounds at the outset of 2016.
It was the opportunity Guidry had been seeking.
“I knew I had to do something,” Guidry said. “When I had the opportunity to be an agent it was a good thing and I thought I would like it a whole lot and I really, really do. James (Graham) gave me an opportunity.
“I love doing it. You get to work with your rider on a regular basis and see your people. That’s what I missed most about the game, (talking) every morning with everybody. It works good. It’s a good job.”
Guidry, who rode his first horse at age 4, won 5,222 races and rode the earners of more than $106.3 million during his career, winning the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in 2006 aboard Lemons Forever. As he looked out at the Keeneland track where he won 87 races and 11 stakes, including the 2002 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) on Riskaverse, he said he was thankful to remain in the game.
“I love my job,” Guidry said. “I know I have a lot to learn, but it’s something that I love to do so you want to learn and be better. You’re not stuck in a job you don’t like and just going through the motions.
“As somebody who is probably going to die on a race track this is something I could do for a long time. It gets me out every day, gets me out socializing with people, and I get to work with (Graham) so I love it. That’s all I need.”
Joel Rosario made his return to competition in Wednesday’s fourth race, finishing fourth aboard Price too High. He won the featured seventh race on No Hiding Place. Rosario had not ridden since being injured in a spill at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 20. …
The 4½-furlong track record fell for the third time during the 2016 Spring Meet when P.R. Laird and trainer Eoin Harty’s Drafted won the second race in :50.45. Mitchell Murrill rode the 2-year-old Field Commission colt to a 2¾-length victory over the filly Spellker. His time was 40/100ths of a second faster than the previous mark set by Lady Aurelia on April 21. …
The winner of the fourth race was first-time starter Capt. Grider, a 2-year-old son of Astrology named for the late Capt. Tony Grider. A 16-year veteran of the Campbellsville, Ky., Fire Department, Grider died in September 2014 from injuries sustained while helping students at Campbellsville University perform the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Owner Dante Zanelli Jr. trains Capt. Grider, who won the 4½-furlong race by a head in :51.70. …
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