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Keertana Preview: First Course Goes Long Under The Lights
Horses competing under the lights at Churchill Downs (Credit: Coady Photography)

Keertana Preview: First Course Goes Long Under The Lights

LOUISVILLE, KY – Fresh off a victory at the same 1 1/2-mile distance against lesser company, trainer Vicki Oliver’s First Course steps up to go long under the lights in Saturday’s $110,000 Keertana Stakes at Churchill Downs.

This year’s Keertana, a turf marathon restricted to fillies and mares ages 4 and up, is the ninth event on an 11-race card and has a local post time of 10:11 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Keertana:

1. Naomi Broadway 15/1 – She makes her second start off the layoff after setting the pace and weakening to finish fifth in a 1 3/16-mile Keeneland turf allowance last month. A Group 1 winner at this distance in 2019 while competing in her native Brazil, her only on-the-board finish in 4 stateside starts was a third-place effort going 1 mile at Indiana Grand, though she was beaten 11 1/4 lengths.

2. First Course 15/1 – Her third start of the year comes in her stakes debut and follows a rallying head victory in her first try at this distance that also marked her first score on turf. As a daughter of Curlin out of a Dynaformer mare, she’s bred to run all day, but she’ll need to greatly improve upon the 78 Beyer Speed Figure that she earned last time out if she hopes to compete with the field’s classiest runners.

3. Ya Beauty 30/1 – She finished fifth last time out, crossing 5 1/4 lengths behind First Course in her first try at this distance and in her first turf attempt since trainer Eric Reed claimed her for $30k last December. She broke her maiden 2 starts later, but that came while running for a $30k tag on Turfway Park’s synthetic main track, and her career-best 72 Beyer Speed Figure is the field’s lowest.

4. Temple City Terror 5/1 – She stretches out beyond 1 1/16 miles for just the second time during a career in which she’s compiled a 19-3-4-3 record while exclusively competing on turf. Her career-best stakes finish saw her cross second, beaten 1 length, in this past February’s Stall Memorial Stakes behind returning rival Dalika. Adam Beschizza looks to improve upon his 6-1-1-1 record aboard her.

5. Pass the Plate 3/1 – She missed second by a neck last time out in the 1 1/2-mile Bewitch Stakes (G3), a race dominated by elite distance runner War Like Goddess. The late-running Silverton Hill homebred faces no such formidable foe here, though she’ll need a bit of racing luck if she hopes to turn the tables on Delta’s Kingdom, who nipped her for runner-up honors and returns to face her again here.

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6. Tweety Show 15/1 – She makes her second start back after a 6 1/2-month layoff; last time out, she finished a non-threatening sixth while crossing a 1/2-length behind Naomi Broadway. The 7-year-old English Channel mare finished fourth in the 2018 edition of this race and once again receives the services of Julie Burke, aboard for every start since owner/trainer Ron Isbell Jr. acquired her (13-3-1-1 record).

7. Sursum Corda 30/1 – She was a flat fourth, 4 1/4 lengths behind First Course, last time out in what was both her first start at age 4 and her first try following a 6-month break. Her lone victory in 10 career starts came going 1 3/8 miles at Saratoga, so the distance should be of no concern, and trainer Ian Wilkes connects at 14% with runners making second starts after similar layoffs.

8. Delta’s Kingdom 5/2 – The classy Bill Mott trainee finished second or third in 6 of her past 7 starts (including 5 at various stakes levels) and earned Beyer Speed Figures ranging between 87-91 in the last 6. She should enjoy not facing War Like Goddess after losing to that rival in each of her past 2 efforts and jockey Florent Geroux leads the meet with 14 wins and over $2 million earned (through Tuesday).

9. Cambeliza 20/1 – She takes her fifth straight stab at the stakes ranks while still seeking her first on-the-board finish at this level; her best effort to date saw her finish sixth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths, in last December’s 1 3/16-mile Via Borghese Stakes. She’ll need a career-topping performance to compete here, but trainer Arnaud Delacour connects at 22% with runners making second starts after similar layoffs.

10. Dalika 3/1 – Perhaps the classiest runner in a field lacking any true star power, she won 3 of her past 7 starts (all stakes) and separately holds a 4-2-1-0 record over the local lawn. Jockey Miguel Mena, aboard in 6 of those 7 tries (including all 3 victories), retains the mount for trainer Al Stall Jr., whose barn has done well so far this meet with a 23-6-1-4 record that includes 3 wins with Mena riding.

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