Gaffalione, Ward, Godolphin in Front

April 24, 2024

Alva Starr and Tyler Gaffalione strike a confident pose post victory. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Three Days To Go In Spring Meet

Rosario Reaches Racing Hall Of Fame

Racehorse King Hazelton Honors Noted Trainer And His Son

• General Admission Tickets On Sale Now For Kentucky Derby Day At Keeneland; Drive Thru Betting Available
• Spring Meet Leaders
• Closing Week Special Events

Keeneland Barn Notes

LEXINGTON, Ky.—With three days remaining in Keeneland’s Spring Meet, here is a look at the races for leading jockey, trainer and owner:

Among jockeys, Tyler Gaffalione has 15 victories, just ahead of Irad Ortiz Jr. (14 wins) and Jose Ortiz (13 wins). Gaffalione, who is bidding for his third consecutive title as the Spring Meet’s leading jockey, is named on horses in seven races Wednesday, seven races Thursday and seven races Friday.

Gaffalione won three races on April 6, including the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on Sierra Leone and the Resolute Racing Madison (G1) on Alva Star.

Irad Ortiz had a four-win day Sunday, April 21 to move into second place in the standings. Winner of the Central Bank Ashland (G1) on Leslie’s Rose and the Giant’s Causeway (G3) on Roses for Debra, he is named on horses in five races Wednesday, six races Thursday and six races Friday.

Winner of three races April 7 and April 17, Jose Ortiz is named on horses in five races today, six races Thursday and seven races Friday. His Spring Meet wins include three stakes: the Commonwealth (G3) on Bo Cruz, the Palisades (L) on Fandom (GB) and the FanDuel Limestone on Hot Beach.

Wesley Ward, who is seeking his seventh consecutive title as the Spring Meet’s leading trainer, has horses entered in one race Wednesday, three races Thursday and five races Friday. His wins include the aforementioned Palisades.

Second with sevens apiece are Chad Brown and Brad Cox.

Winner of three races April 6, including the aforementioned Toyota Blue Grass, Brown has three entrants today, two Thursday and one Friday. His other stakes wins are the Jenny Wiley (G1) with Beaute Cache (FR) and the Baird Doubledogdare (G3) with Raging Sea.

Cox has two entrants Wednesday, two Thursday and three Friday. His stakes wins are the MiddleGround Capital Beaumont (G2) with Denim and Pearls and the Stonestreet Lexington (G3) with Encino.

As of the start of racing Wednesday, the leading owner with five wins is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin, which is bidding for its fourth leading owner title. Three of Godolphin’s wins have come in stakes: Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) with Master of The Seas (IRE), VisitLEX Elkhorn (G2) with Silver Knott (GB) and Stonestreet Lexington (G3) with Encino.

Charlie Appleby trains Master of The Seas and Silver Knott.

Appleby brought a total of seven Godolphin horses late last month to compete in graded stakes during the Spring Meet. Including Master of The Seas and Silver Knott, those starters produced two wins, three seconds plus a third and a fifth.

Godolphin has three entrants remaining: two on Wednesday and one Thursday.

Second with four wins is Juddmonte, which has one entrant Wednesday and one Friday.

SPRING MEET LEADERSThrough April 21 (13 days of 16-day season)

Tyler Gaffalione91151515$2,332,629
Irad Ortiz Jr.7314149$1,892,952
Jose Ortiz5513109$1,283,921
Luis Saez759716$1,322,807
Wesley Ward301053$750,231
Chad Brown22741$1,441,361
Brad Cox19733$1,103,920
Godolphin (Mohammed Al Maktoum et al)5
Juddmonte (Fahad bin Khalid)4
Blue Heaven Farm (Adam Corndorf and Bonnie Baskin)2
Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley)2
Cypress Creek Equine (Kevin Moody)2
David Jacobson2
Red, White and Blue Racing (Randy Gullat)2
Rigney Racing (Richard Rigney)2
Stonestreet Stables (Barbara Banke)2
Whisper Hill Farm (Mandy Pope)2

Rosario Reaches Racing Hall Of Fame

Surge Capacity (Flintshire) wins the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland on 10.27.23. Joel Rosario up, Chad Brown trainer, Klaravich Stables owner., 2023 Keeneland Fall Meet
Surge Capacity (Flintshire) wins the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland on 10.27.23. Joel Rosario up, Chad Brown trainer, Klaravich Stables owner. (Keeneland Photo)

Joel Rosario, among Keeneland’s most successful jockeys, on Tuesday was named a member of the class of 2024 to be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.

From the Dominican Republic, Rosario has 3,605 wins and has ridden the earners of $318.4 million. He received the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding jockey for 2021, the year he led all riders by earnings and rode Knicks Go to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Rosario has a win in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Orb (2013) and two wins in the Belmont (G1) on Tonalist (2014) and Sir Winston (2019). He has 15 Breeders’ Cup victories. 

Since recording his first Keeneland victory during the 2010 Fall Meet, Rosario’s record here includes:

  • 206 wins, including 42 stakes. Among them are the 2011 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on Brilliant Speed.
  • Two meet titles. Rosario won a Spring Meet record 38 races in 2013 and also was the leading rider during the 2017 Spring Meet.
  • Six stakes wins during the 15-day Spring Meet in 2021 to tie a feat for the season recorded by Jerry Bailey (1999) and Javier Castellano (2019).
  • Five wins on a card, which he has accomplished three times: 2013 (twice) and 2021. Nine riders have accomplished the feat.
  • Six wins during the 2024 Spring Meet, boosted by a three-win day April 18.

The 2024 inductees will be enshrined Friday, Aug. 2. Other inductees are the racehorses Gun Runner and Justify, the latter a graduate of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale, in the contemporary category; jockey Abe Hawkins and racehorses Aristides and Lecomte, who were selected by the Pre-1900 Historic Review Committee; and Harry F. Guggenheim, Clement L. Hirsch and Joe Hirsch, who were chosen by the Pillars of the Turf Committee.

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is located in Saratoga Springs, New York. For more information, visit

Racehorse King Hazelton Honors Noted Trainer And His Son

Scott Hazelton. (Scott Hazelton/X)

 As a commentator for FanDuel TV at Keeneland, Scott Hazelton roams the Saddling Paddock on race days to analyze horses and interview people. Before the second race on April 19, however, he stepped away from the microphone to watch a horse he co-owns, King Hazelton, prepare for his career debut.

King Hazelton was named for Scott’s late father, Richard Hazelton, who won 4,745 races primarily at Chicago-area tracks and at his winter base of Turf Paradise in Phoenix before his death at age 88 in 2019. Known as “King Richard,” he ranks 11th all time by victories among trainers.

Trainer Kenneth Spraggins considered the elder Hazelton his mentor and befriended his son and wanted to name a horse after the trainer.

“Kenny came up to me not long after he signed the ($105,000 sale) ticket at the (2022) Keeneland September Yearling Sale and asked if it would be OK to name the horse after my father,” Hazelton said. “I said ‘Absolutely. He would hate it, so go on and do it.’  He hated attention.”

Flattered by Spraggins’ gesture, Hazelton was even more touched when the trainer gifted him a portion of the gelding’s ownership for his young daughters. King Hazelton races for the ownership group of Spraggins, Marilyn Palazzo and Scott Hazelton.

Hazelton said concentrating on King Hazelton in the Paddock brought back strong memories of similar moments with his father. 

“It was different to only pay attention to one horse in a race,” he said. “My father ran horses in my name when I was younger, but in these 20 years of broadcasting, racing has taken a different shape for me. The only thing going on in the Saddling Paddock (for me) at that time was that horse. I just focused on him. I didn’t pay attention to anything else.”

King Hazelton, who was ridden by Jorge Ruiz, finished last in the field of 12. He is expected to make his next start at Horseshoe Indianapolis, where Spraggins is stabled. 

Unfazed by King Hazelton’s performance, Hazelton said the experience magnified his lifelong belief that Thoroughbred racing is different from all other sports because of the horses.

“We encourage people to get involved because there is that connection to the horse,” he said. “These horses can touch you every step of the way in many aspects. The way horses have the ability to bring people together is unmatched – through ownership, being at the sales and races. There are very few things in life that bring people together the way these horses do.”

General Admission Tickets On Sale Now For Kentucky Derby Day At Keeneland;  Drive Thru Betting Available

Keeneland. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Keeneland. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Celebrate the 150th running of the $5 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday, May 4 at Keeneland with a community celebration in the Bluegrass. Keeneland is offering enhanced programming campus-wide featuring live music, food trucks, family activities and more. 

General Admission is $7 in advance and $10 on Derby Day. Tickets may be pre-purchased at

Gates open Derby Day at 10 a.m., and parking is free.

Bring your own seating or enjoy numerous public seating areas, including the Grandstand. The Derby Day broadcast will be shown throughout the afternoon on the infield tote board and on monitors around the race track grounds.

No ticket or reservation is required to tailgate on The Hill on Derby Day. Fans can watch all the racing action from Churchill Downs via a jumbo TV while wagering and enjoying live music, food trucks and more.

Guests can take their tailgate experience on The Hill to the next level with a premium package for parties of 10-750 with RevelXP. Click here to view packages. 

Closing Week Special Events


Official Keeneland Tours. Click here for availability and to purchase.

Through Aug. 16

Keeneland Library is recognizing this year’s historic running of the Toyota Blue Grass at its free exhibit, A Rite of Spring: The 100thRunning of the Blue Grass Stakes. The exhibit features photographs that capture race highlights curated from Keeneland Library collections and public submissions from professional and amateur photographers along with memorabilia from noted jockeys Bill Shoemaker, Mike Manganello and Chris Antley and celebrated runners WhirlawayRiva RidgeSpectacular Bid and Strike the Gold.

Open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Library is located on the Keeneland campus. Enter Keeneland at Gate 1 on Keeneland Blvd. and take the first right on Entertainment Ct. The Library is to the left of the Keene Barn and Entertainment Center.

Click here for the virtual companion to the exhibit.


WINS-Day Challenge Presented by Malone’s. Enter for $10 at Wagering Central on the first floor of the Grandstand and place a mythical $2 win and place wager – no actual money required – on Keeneland’s final six races of the day. This is an inexpensive way for beginner handicappers to give contests a try.

Friday – Closing day of Keeneland’s Spring Meet

The Hill. Keeneland’s popular tailgating area is open Friday, weather permitting. No ticket or reservation is required for The Hill, located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center and accessible via Gate 1 (at Man o’ War Blvd.) or Gate 4 (off Van Meter Road on the east side of Keeneland).

Fans on The Hill can watch the racing action via a jumbo TV and place their bets in a wagering tent while they enjoy live music presented by The Burl, food trucks and handicapping assistance from BETologists. Complimentary shuttles to the track are offered.

For fans who want to elevate their experience, Keeneland again is partnering with RevelXP to offer tailgate packages for groups of any size. RevelXP will organize tailgates by furnishing a designated tent, catering, amenities and more. Visit for full details.

The Hill is open from 8 a.m. to 60 minutes after the last race. Amenities are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

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