Keeneland Ramps Up for a Classic 5-day Summer Meet Starting Wednesday

July 7, 2020

Heavy hitters on deck for Friday’s 32nd running of the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1); Fierce field shaping up for Saturday’s $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2); Gate-to-wire Stakes action; Special Wagering offers, and more!

Trainer Brown brings dynamic duo–Raging Bull (FR), Without Parole (GB)–to face top field in Maker’s Mark

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Peter Brant’s Raging Bull (FR), winner of the Shoemaker Mile (G1) in his most recent start, headlines a field of 10 entered Tuesday for Friday’s 32nd running of the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) to be contested over the Keeneland turf course. 

The Maker’s Mark Mile, the first of four Grade 1 races during the five-day Summer Meet that begins Wednesday, is scheduled as the eighth race on Friday’s nine-race program with a 4:57 p.m. ET post time. First post is 1:05 p.m. 

Trained by Chad Brown, Raging Bull returns to Keeneland, where he finished fourth in last year’s Maker’s Mark Mile. A two-time Grade 1 winner, Raging Bull will be ridden by Joel Rosario and break from post position four. 

Brown also trains Without Parole (GB), who finished third in the Shoemaker Mile. Owned by John Gunther and his daughter Tanya Gunther, Without Parole finished third in last year’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in his U.S. debut. In 2018, Without Parole won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace at Royal Ascot in England. 

Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount on Without Parole and break from post position eight. 

Also in the field is the horse that split the Brown duo in the Shoemaker: Next Shares.  

Trained by part owner Richard Baltas, Next Shares counts the 2018 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland among his three graded stakes victories. An earner of more than $1.7 million, Next Shares will break from post nine and be ridden by John Velazquez

Another horse returning to the Keeneland turf is Gary Barber’s War of Will. Trained by Mark Casse, War of Will finished fourth in the 2018 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) and also trained at Keeneland before embarking on a Triple Crown campaign that included a victory in the Preakness (G1). War of Will finished sixth in the Shoemaker Mile in his 2020 debut that served as his first grass start since 2018. 

Tyler Gaffalione has the mount Friday and will break from post position 10. 


The field for the Maker’s Mark Mile

1. Hembree (Javier Castellano, 118 pounds)

2. High Crime (Luis Saez, 118)

3. Parlor (Florent Geroux, 118)

4. Raging Bull (FR) (Rosario, 123)

5. English Bee (James Graham, 118)

6. Everfast (Ricardo Santana Jr., 118)

7. Emmaus (IRE) (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118)

8. Without Parole (GB) (Ortiz, 118)

9. Next Shares (John Velazquez, 120)

10. War of Will (Gafflione, 118)  

Wicked Whisper and Four Graces vie with field of six fierce fillies for Friday’s Beaumont

JoAnn and Alex Lieblong’s Wicked Whisper, winner of last fall’s Frizette (G1) at Belmont Park, will make her 2020 debut Friday when she headlines a field of six 3-year-old fillies in the 35th running of the $100,000 Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select. 

The race, to be run over the Beard Course of 7 furlongs, 184 feet, offers 34 points on the Road to the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) on a 20-8-4-2 scale to the top four finishers. The Beaumont Presented by Keeneland Select will go as the seventh race on Friday’s nine-race program with a 4:24 p.m. post time. 

Trained by Steve Asmussen and to be ridden by Joel Rosario, Wicked Whisper has not raced since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita. She will break from post position four. 

Looming as one of the main threats to Wicked Whisper is Whitham Thoroughbreds’ Four Graces. Winner of the Dogwood (G3) last month at Churchill Downs, Four Graces has won three of four career starts for trainer Ian Wilkes. Julien Leparoux has the mount Friday and will exit post position three. 

Invading from California is Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Madaket Stables’ Speech. Trained by Michael McCarthy, Speech finished second in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) and prior to that was beaten a neck in an allowance test at Oaklawn Park by runaway Acorn (G1) winner Gamine. Javier Castellano has the mount on Speech and will break from post two. 

The field for the Beaumont Presented by Keeneland Select

1. Slam Dunk (Luis Saez, 118 pounds)

2. Speech (Castellano, 118)

3. Four Graces (Leparoux, 118)

4. Wicked Whisper (Rosario, 123)

5. Sconsin (James Graham, 118)

6. Turtle Trax (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118)

Complete Keeneland stats on Equibase beginning Wednesday, July 8

Racing analyst Tom Leach interviews these trainers about their starters in Saturday’s $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2): 

Mark Casse about John C. Oxley’s Enforceable. Casse also talks about Gary Barber’s War of Will, who is racing in Friday’s Maker’s Mark Mile (G1), and his two entrants in Wednesday’s eighth race, Race Driver and Souper Dormy.  Click for interview

Ron Moquett about JRita Young Thoroughbreds’ Man in the Can. Moquett also gives an update on Grade 1 winner and $3 million earner Whitmore, who is training at Keeneland with the long-range goal of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Nov. 7 at Keeneland. 

Click for interview


$600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2)

Entries taken Wednesday

+ Art Collector (Tom Drury Jr.)

+ Attachment Rate (Dale Romans)

+ Basin (Steve Asmussen)

+ Enforceable (Mark Casse)

+ Finnick the Fierce (Rey Hernandez)

+ Hard Lighting (Alexis Delgado)

+ Hunt the Front (Nick Zito)

+ Man in the Can (Ron Moquett)

+ Mr. Big News (Bret Calhoun)

+ Rushie (Michael McCarthy)

+ Shivaree (Ralph Nicks)

+ Winning Impression (Dallas Stewart)


+ Swiss Skydiver (Kenny McPeek)

Work Tab:

Partner Stable’s Hard Lighting, a likely starter in Saturday’s $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2), worked 3 furlongs in :37.60 over a fast main track Tuesday morning at Keeneland. Alexis Delgado trains Hard Lighting, a winner of one of four starts. 

Vekoma wins the 2019 Toyota Blue Grass.

$400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1): 

+ Bonny South (Brad Cox)

+ Envoutante (Kenny McPeek)

+ Swiss Skydiver (McPeek)

+ Tonalist’s Shape (Saffie Joseph Jr.)

+ Venetian Harbor (Richard Baltas)


+ Tempers Rising (Dallas Stewart)

$350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1):

+ Altea (FR) (Chad Brown)

+ Jolie Olimpica (BRZ) (Richard Mandella)

+ La Signare (FR) (Brendan Walsh)

+ Mucho Unusual (Tim Yakteen)

+ Rushing Fall (Brown)

+ Secret Message (Graham Motion)

+ Toinette (Neil Drysdale)


+ Juliet Foxtrot (GB) (Brad Cox)

+ Starship Jubilee (Kevin Attard)

$250,000 Madison (G1):

+ Amy’s Challenge (McLean Robertson)

+ Bell’s the One (Neil Pessin)

+ Guarana (Chad Brown)

+ Mia Mischief (Steve Asmussen)

+ Princess Causeway (Ian Wilkes)

+ Sally’s Curlin (Dale Romans)


+ Diamond Crazy (Dallas Stewart)

+ Jean Elizabeth (Larry Rivelli)

$150,000 Shakertown (G2):

+ Bound for Nowhere (Wesley Ward)

+ Extravagant Kid (Brendan Walsh)

+ Fast Boat (Joe Sharp)

+ High Crime (Darrin Miller)

+ Just Might (Michelle Lovell)

+ Leinster (Rusty Arnold)

+ Real News (Al Stall Jr.)

+ Sabador (FR) (Conor Murphy)

+ Shekky Shebaz (Christophe Clement)

+ Tell Your Daddy (Neil Pessin)

+ Texas Wedge (Peter Miller)

+ Tiger Blood (Mike Maker)

+ Totally Boss (Arnold)

+ Wildman Jack (Doug O’Neill)


+ Star of Kodiak (Chris Davis)

$150,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association:

+ Alms (Mike Stidham)

+ Enola Gay (Shug McGaughey)

+ Ivyetsu (Rusty Arnold)

+ Mariafoot (FR) (Cherie DeVaux)

+ Outburst (GB) (Eddie Kenneally)

+ Walk In Marrakesh (IRE) (Ignacio Correas IV)


+ Cat’s Pajamas (Graham Motion)

+ Lucky Betty (Will VanMeter)

+ Stela Star (IRE) (John Sadler)

Guaranteed wagers: On July 11  Keeneland will offer a $500,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Five and $500,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four.


Entries taken Thursday.

$175,000 TVG Elkhorn (G2)

+ He’s No Lemon (Graham Motion)

+ Hellorhighwater (Darrin Miller)

+ Henley’s Joy (Steve Asmussen)

+ Hierarchy (Joe Sharp)

+ Jais’s Solitude (Eddie Kenneally)

+ Nakamura (Motion)

+ Oscar Dominguez (IRE) (Richard Baltas)

+ Ry’s the Guy (Ian Wilkes)

+ Zulu Alpha (Mike Maker)


+ Arklow (Brad Cox)

$100,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3)

+ Irish Mias (Graham Motion)

+ Smooth Like Strait (Michael McCarthy)

+ Spanish Kingdom (Joe Sharp)

+ Street Ready (Ian Wilkes)

+ Vintage Print (Chad Brown)


+ Bama Breeze (Rusty Arnold)

+ Buy Me Candy (Ignacio Correas IV)

+ Mo Hawk (Rodolphe Brisset)

Note: NBCSN will provide live coverage of the TVG Elkhorn from 5-7 p.m. 

Summer Meet filled with Wagering Action and Options 

Keeneland is offering a variety of handicapping action for people who will be watching and wagering during the Summer Meet from Wednesday through Sunday.  

On Saturday, Keeneland will host its first online live bankroll tournament, the Keeneland Summer Challenge. Entry fee for the contest, which will cover the day’s 10 races, is $3,000. As many as six berths to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and 10 berths to the NTRA National Handicapping Championship will be awarded (based on 200 entries). Players may participate through Xpressbet or TVG. 

The deadline to enter the Keeneland Summer Challenge is Friday at noon. Click to enter Keeneland Summer Challenge. 

Also, sign up for a new account with Keeneland Select and receive a special $50 back after you wager $100 on Keeneland’s Summer Meet. This is on top of Keeneland Select’s lucrative sign-up bonus that will earn you $100 after you wager $300 in the first 30 days. 

Here’s an overview of additional wagering features of the Summer Meet: 

Every race day:  

Toyota Super High 5 Jackpot: New for the Summer Meet, this wager will be offered on all Keeneland races with a minimum seven-horse field. With no winning tickets, 100 percent of the net pool will carry over to the next eligible race. Jackpot pays to a single winning ticket; multiple winning tickets trigger consolation payoff and partial carryover. 

Complimentary digital program: Click here to download a complimentary digital program with Equibase past performances. Patrons may choose a full program or just the past performances.  

Current scratches and changes will be available at

TV coverage: Beginning at 11:30 a.m., “Today at Keeneland” is a 30-minute race-day preview show with handicapping picks and discussion of horses of interest. Racing analysts Gabby Gaudet and Scott Hazelton host the program, which airs live on TVG2, The CW Lexington and and is streamed live on, Keeneland Select and Keeneland’s Facebook Live and YouTube. 

Watch live coverage of the Summer Meet on TVG beginning at 1 p.m. The full card also will be streamed live on, Keeneland Select and Keeneland’s Facebook Live and YouTube. On Sunday, NBCSN will have live coverage that includes the TVG Elkhorn (G2) from 5-7 p.m. 

Enhanced Paddock analysis: During Gaudet and Hazelton’s Paddock analysis, fans will see a greater emphasis on showing contenders and expanded commentary on the horses’ physical assessments. 

New daily handicapping podcast: Racing analyst Tom Leach will host “The Daily Double, Keeneland’s Podcast for Handicappers.” Leach will talk to several notable horseplayers, who will discuss their history and interest in horse racing and will analyze the day’s Keeneland card. Guests will receive a $100 bankroll from Keeneland Select to use for the day, and they will share their wagers. Podcast is available through Apple podcasts and Spotify. 

@BetKeeneland: Keeneland’s dedicated Twitter handle provides on-demand wagering content. 

Drive-thru wagering at Red Mile: Available Wednesday-Sunday from 8 a.m. through the final post at Keeneland. Simulcasting also will be open at Red Mile, which is located at 1200 Red Mile Road near downtown Lexington. 

Visit Keeneland at Home Presented by Central Bank for more information about the Summer Meet and learn about a variety of creative and fun ways for fans to remotely enjoy the season.

Edited Press Release 

Photo: Vekoma with Javier Castellano up wins the Toyota Blue Grass April 6, 2019 at Keeneland. Credit: Mark Mahan 

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