Caitlin Keil Wins First Career Race Saturday at Laurel Park

March 9, 2024

Caitlin Keil and jockey Jeiron Barbosa. (Jim McCue/MJC)

3YO Filly Fainor’s Filets Provides Milestone for Owner-Trainer

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

LAUREL, Md. – Fainor’s Filets came with a steady run down the center of the track to reel in front-running Kapadokya and pull clear and give owner-trainer Caitlin Keil her first career victory Saturday at Laurel Park.

Under Jeiron Barbosa, Fainor’s Filets ($9) completed 5 ½ furlongs in 1:07.74 over a fast main track to win the claiming event for 3-year-old fillies by 1 ¼ lengths.

“It feels really good to get that first one out of the way,” Keil said. “It takes a little pressure off.”

The 27-year-old Keil of Manchester, Md. claimed Fainor’s Filets in a seven-way shake from trainer Brittany Russell for $12,500 out of a Jan. 7 win at Laurel. The filly had run twice since, finishing third sprinting six furlongs Feb. 3 and fourth going 5 ½ furlongs 22 days later for tags of $20,000 and $16,000, respectively.

Barbosa settled Fainor’s Filets in fourth as Kapadokya led through a quarter-mile in 23.32 seconds and a half in 48.02, tipping to the outside leaving the far turn and swinging five wide at the top of the stretch before being set down for a run, catching the leader inside the sixteenth pole. Fainor’s Filets was the only horse in the field of eight to be claimed, for $12,500.

“Barbosa was doing just what we talked about. We knew that there was some other speed in the race, and he was going to kind of sit just off of it,” Keil said. “I knew he was right where he wanted to be, and he should have enough horse. [Kapadokya] was giving me a little bit of a scare thinking that she wasn’t going to back off, but [Fainor’s Filets] pulled through so that was really cool. She did just what we were kind of thinking.”

Keil is a daughter of Steve Keil, who has won 25 races from 358 starters in an on-again, off-again training career since 1997 and helped get her first horse when she was just 15.

“We were training on a little farm and coming to Pimlico once a week to work and then going home,” she said. “My dad has been a little bit in and out of it and we took a step back for a little while and bred a couple mares. When we came back with a homebred, we ended up taking a couple more yearlings from a sale and I kind of took it and ran.”

Fainor’s Filets was Keil’s fourth career starter, all at Laurel, the first coming Feb. 3. Her only other horse to run is 7-year-old gelding Aliferous, who finished eighth Feb. 9. 

“We have four horses, two in my dad’s name and two in mine,” she said. “My dad and I still kind of work collaboratively. I’m here every day doing all the riding. I have a hotwalker and someone to help me with the stalls, and the rest is me. I take advice from wherever I feel like its deserved, and I keep what I like and throw away what I don’t.”

Aliferous, bred in Maryland by Caitlin Keil and her father, is entered in a six-furlong claiming event March 15 at Laurel. He has run 12 times with two wins, one third and $78,224 in purse earnings.

“He’s actually my first homebred, so I’ve had him for seven years. Last race he was coming back off a 445-day layoff but he’s coming back next week so we’ll see how he does,” she said. “It’s kind of a funny name, but it means having wings in Greek. My dad’s a falconer and he kind of named that so it was fitting.”

Notes ~ ~ ~

Jockey Angel Cruz rode back-to-back winners Saturday, Cynergy’s Electra ($5.40) in Race 6 and Hay Chief ($24.60) in Race 7 … 
Laurel hosts a nine-race program Sunday starting at 12:25 p.m.

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