SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith, Spendthrift Farm’s Keepmeinmind returned from an 11-month layoff to capture a nine-furlong allowance tilt on Friday at Saratoga. He registered a 94 Beyer Speed Figure for the comeback win, which was his debut for Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.
The 4-year-old Laoban bay, who was last seen finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers in August, earned his second career victory in a dozen lifetime starts when making a five-wide rallying bid in upper stretch to win by 2 3/4 lengths under Joel Rosario.
Keepmeinmind finished third in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind champion Essential Quality and Grade 1 winner Hot Rod Charlie, and one start later captured the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club that November at Churchill Downs as a maiden.
Spendthrift Farm general manager Ned Toffey said the comeback victory could propel Keepmeinmind to the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 3 at the Spa.
Keepmeinmind (#4 inside peach cap) gave Essential Quality (#5 outside blue cap) an honest run in the 2021 edition of the Jim Dandy to be bested by 1/2 length.
“He took some time to get squared away and get right,” said Toffey. “Todd has been patient with him and got him squared away, so hopefully he’s going to reward us now. Our goal has always been to get him to the stud barn, and I think he’s now poised to run the kind of races that can get him there. The spacing of the Jockey Club Gold Cup makes some sense, but we’ll let the horse dictate and put a lot of faith in Todd to make the call.”
Toffey said Keepmeinmind’s pedigree and appearance made him appealing as a potential stallion prospect.
“He’s just a big, beautiful horse. Laoban was a horse who was really up-and-coming at the time, so when you can get a son who looks like he is poised to be a classic horse, that made all the sense in the world to us,” Toffey said. “It hasn’t quite worked out the way we liked, but hopefully it works out this year. The talent is there. It’s a matter of getting the right trip, racing luck and getting him right on the big days. We just need things to fall together. He’s a good horse and he’s right there.”
Pletcher said that Keepmeinmind had trained forwardly into his 2022 debut, including a sharp five-furlong breeze in 1:00.15 on July 16.
“We were hoping we had done enough with him to have him ready,” Pletcher said. “He indicated in his breeze the other day that he was as ready as he could be. He had a little traffic to contend with, but once he got in the clear he finished up well and galloped out really well. He certainly trains like a horse and has run some races that indicates he’s a horse that’s capable to win a big one.”
Previously conditioned by Robertino Diodoro, Keepmeinmind was winless as a 3-year-old, but still had a productive summer when a close second to Essential Quality in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy last July at Saratoga on the heels of a close third in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown. He was a respective seventh and fourth in last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
NYRA Press Office
Photo Keepmeinmind (#4 inside peach cap) gave Essential Quality (#5 outside blue cap) an honest run in the 2021 edition of the Jim Dandy to be bested by 1/2 length. (NYRA/Coglianese)