Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Keepmeinmind Posts Second Work at Oaklawn
Keepmeinmind moved closer to his 2020 debut with a half-mile workout late Tuesday morning at Oaklawn, going in :48.80 just after the first surface renovation break under regular rider David Cohen.
Keepmeinmind was breezing locally for the second time since winning the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs. The track was rated fast after training was delayed 3 ½ hours because of freezing temperatures early Tuesday morning.
The $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn, trainer Robertino Diodoro said Tuesday afternoon, remains a target for Keepmeinmind, who was among the country’s leading 2-year-olds.
“That’s the rough plan,” Diodoro said.
Keepmeinmind’s time ranked fifth among 55 half-mile works published. Clockers caught Keepmeinmind galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 and 6 furlongs in 1:15.60. Diodoro said Keepmeinmind was to breeze alone, but he received some unexpected company in the final quarter-mile of the work from a Chris Hartman trainee who shadowed the late-running son of Laoban on the outside approaching the regular finish line.
“He never did let that horse pass him, even on the gallop out,” said Diodoro, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2020. “Worked good. It was a very strong gallop out. Like I said, the plan was just to work by himself, but he hooked into another horse. That made him probably finish up a little stronger than needed to be. But at the same time, it was good for us.”
Keepmeinmind breezed a half-mile in :50.20 Jan. 6 under Cohen, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2019. The colt arrived Dec. 27 after previously being in light training at WinStar Farm in Kentucky following the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Diodoro said.
The 1 1/16-mile Southwest is Oaklawn’s second of four Kentucky Derby points races. Keepmeinmind raced four times (all routes) last year, finishing second in the $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) Oct. 3 at Keeneland and third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 6 at Keeneland before breaking his maiden as the 2-1 favorite in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes under Cohen.
Keepmeinmind ranks second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 18 points, according to Churchill Downs. Unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Essential Quality has 30 points to top the standings. Essential Quality, the probable 2-year-old male champion, is under consideration for the Southwest, trainer Brad Cox said.
Smarty Jones Bound
Lightly raced Lawlessness will make his two-turn and stakes debut in the $150,000 Smarty Jones for 3-year-olds Jan. 22 at Oaklawn, trainer Ingrid Mason said Tuesday afternoon.
Post positions for the 1-mile Smarty Jones, Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races, will be drawn Friday. The race will offer 17 points (10-4-2-1) to the top four finishes, respectively, toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby.
A son of Congrats, Lawlessness compiled a 1-0-2 record from three starts last year. Lawlessness broke his maiden Oct. 4 at Hawthorne and finished third in his last start – an entry-level allowance sprint – Oct. 30 at Hawthorne.
“He’s named appropriately because he’s a little turkey,” Mason said. “He’s a little screwball.”
Lawlessness was purchased for just $14,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training by Mike Waters, Mason’s significant other. Mason said she picked out the colt, who covered a quarter-mile in 21.80 in his under track preview work. Mason and Waters teamed to finish seventh in last year’s Smarty Jones with Lykan, another son of Congrats who was making his two-turn and stakes debut.
“It’s funny,” Mason said. “They actually are a lot alike, as far as personality, him and Lykan, and they’re by the same sire. The mothers are different, obviously. You don’t really call them brothers, but they have a lot of the same personality. Congrats kind of stamps out his babies most of the time, it seems. I think Lawlessness, at this stage, is more talented than Lykan was, and I think the longer he goes the better he’s going to be. I think the distance for him, the mile, is going to suit him really, really well.”
Following the Smarty Jones, Lykan returned to sprints and was a first-level allowance winner at Oaklawn before finishing third in its $90,000 Gazebo Stakes and $100,000 Bachelor Stakes.
Mason said David Cohen, Oaklawn’s leading jockey in 2019, will ride Lawlessness for the first time in the Smarty Jones. Another locally based horse pointing for the Smarty Jones is Caddo River, a powerful Nov. 15 Churchill Downs maiden special weights graduate for trainer Brad Cox.
Oaklawn’s Kentucky Derby points series continues with the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15, $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) March 13 and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 10. The Smarty Jones closed Jan. 7 with 96 nominations, the bulk part of an expanded early bird date linked to the other three Kentucky Derby points races for the first time.
The 2020 Smarty Jones closed with 51 nominations.
Post positions for Oaklawn’s first scheduled day of racing, Jan. 22, will be drawn Friday. The scheduled 57-day season ends May 1. … Pioneer Spirit will make his 2021 debut in the $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes for older horses at a mile Jan. 23, trainer Robertino Diodoro said. The race closed Jan. 7 with 37 nominations. Pioneer Spirit opened 2020 with a victory in the second division of the Fifth Season. … Diodoro said Dreamer’s Disease, a 3-year-old Laoban colt, is in light training at WinStar Farm in Kentucky and should arrive at Oaklawn by the end of the month. Dreamer’s Disease ran sixth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 6 at Keeneland. … Istan Council worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.80 over a fast track Monday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Larry Jones in advance of the $150,000 Pippin Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 mile Jan. 23 at Oaklawn. The Pippin closed Jan. 7 with 29 nominations. … Also on the work tab Monday morning were two scheduled stakes starters for trainer John Ortiz. Graysonsmacho Gal went 5 furlongs in 1:01.80 for the Pippin. Hollis worked a half-mile in :49.60 in preparation for the $150,000 King Cotton for older sprinters Feb. 6 at Oaklawn.