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Keepmeinmind is Staying Home
Credit: Coady Photography

Keepmeinmind is Staying Home

HOT SPRINGS, AR – Trainer Robertino Diodoro said Wednesday morning that Keepmeinmind will make his 3-year-old debut in Oaklawn’s $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), rather than ship to Fair Grounds for Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2).

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Citing potential bad weather and a short field locally, Diodoro entered Keepmeinmind in the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star as a backup plan. The 1 1/16-mile Southwest, Oaklawn’s second of four Kentucky Derby (G1) races, was originally scheduled for Monday (Presidents’ Day), but was rescheduled for Saturday, February 20 because of winter weather.

Regardless, Diodoro said, the Southwest will be the landing spot for Keepmeinmind, who has been based at Oaklawn since late December.

Diodoro said several factors played into his decision to remain at Oaklawn, including COVID-19 protocols, shipping to a much warmer climate and the importance of the colt’s first race as a 3-year-old.

“In the end, I feel better running him out of his own stall,” Diodoro said.

Credit: Coady Photography

Unraced since a last-to-first victory in the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) November 28 at Churchill Downs, Keepmeinmind recorded his sixth published workout this year at Oaklawn on a cold, overcast Monday morning under regular rider David Cohen.

Keepmeinmind, who breezed again following the second surface renovation break, went an easy 1/2-mile in :49.60. The time over a good-rated surface ranked 13th of 23 published at the distance.

“David did a great job again working him,” said Diodoro, Oaklawn’s leading trainer last year. “A horse like him, as aggressive as he is, you get the wrong guy on him and all of sudden your nice, easy 1/2-mile work could turn into :45, :46. Even with those other works, it’s the same thing. He’s a horse that you’ve definitely got to have the right guy on or you could really blow a work.”

Prior to breaking his maiden in the Kentucky Jockey Club, Keepmeinmind finished second in the $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) October 3 at Keeneland and third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) November 6 at Keeneland.

The 1 1/16-mile Southwest will offer 17 points (10-4-2-1, respectively) to the top four finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. Post positions are scheduled to be drawn Thursday.

Keepmeinmind winning the Kentucky Jockey Club (Credit: Coady Photography)

In addition to Keepmeinmind, the Oaklawn racing department listed three other probables Wednesday morning – Eclipse Award winner Essential Quality for trainer Brad Cox, multiple Grade 1 winner Jackie’s Warrior (Steve Asmussen), and Last Samurai (Dallas Stewart). Asmussen, who has 13 nominees, plans to start a second horse, according to Oaklawn’s racing department.

Essential Quality (3 for 3) was the country’s champion 2-year-old male after winning the Breeders’ Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Jackie’s Warrior, in his last start, finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Jackie’s Warrior (4 for 5) was runner-up in voting for champion 2-year-old male. Essential Quality and Jackie’s Warrior are based at Fair Grounds.

Essential Quality (30), Keepmeinmind (18), and Jackie’s Warrior (12) rank 1-2-6, respectively, on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard, according to Churchill Downs.

Winter weather forced a five-day postponement of the 2010 Southwest. It was originally scheduled February 15 (Presidents Day), but will instead run as the 10th and final race February 20 (Saturday), immediately following the regularly-scheduled $60,000 Spring Fever Stakes for older female sprinters.

Also rescheduled for Saturday, February 20 are the $600,000 Razorback (G3), originally scheduled for February 13, and the $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3), originally scheduled February 15.

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