Live In The Dream Brings His Talents Stateside in G2 Woodford

October 4, 2023

Woodford Is First of Five Graded Stakes on Saturday Card

By Amber Joyce

LEXINGTON, Ky.— A newly-minted Group 1 winner in his homeland across the pond, Steve and Jolene De’Lemos’ Live In The Dream will bring his talents stateside in Saturday’s $350,000 Woodford (G2), a 5 ½ furlong turf sprint for older horses, at Keeneland. 

Live In The Dream notched a dazzling gate-to-wire upset for trainer Adam West in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe (G1) Aug. 25 at York, earning himself a free and automatic entry into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) in the process. 

Connections of the four-year-old Prince of Lir gelding will use the Woodford as a prep for the Turf Sprint and plan to remain at Keeneland before shipping to California Oct. 25. Live In The Dream got a taste of the Keeneland turf with a five-furlong drill in 1:01.80 on Tuesday. 

Sean Kirrane has been aboard Live In The Dream for all of his six starts this year, which include the Nunthorpe and a pair of handicap victories. Kirrane stays aboard from post position two. 

On the hunt for his third consecutive victory in the Woodford and fourth overall is trainer Wesley Ward. He won’t be sending out a horse of the same caliber as 2021 and 2022 Woodford champ Golden Pal, but he does have a formidable duo of runners in Eye Witness and Kaufymaker. 

Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Jonathan Poulin, and Derrick Smith and Michael B. Tabor’s New York-bred Eye Witness stands out as the lone sophomore in the Woodford. The City of Light colt has never been off-the-board in five career starts and strung together three consecutive wins this year, including a five-length score in the Animal Kingdom at Turfway Park and a triumph by a head in the Paradise Creek May 20 at Belmont Park. 

Last out, Eye Witness finished third in the Mahony Aug. 13 at Saratoga after a troubled trip; that was his first time racing at the Woodford distance. Jose Ortiz was aboard for both the Mahony and Paradise Creek efforts and returns to the saddle from post position four. 

With star sprinter Caravel skipping the Woodford, Gregory Kaufman’s homebred Kaufymaker is the lone filly in this year’s renewal. The four-year-old daughter of Jimmy Creed notably finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) in 2021 at Del Mar. She raced just once as a sophomore, taking a Keeneland allowance last fall in gate-to-wire fashion. She enters the Woodford off of back-to-back allowance wins, the most recent coming Aug. 2 at Saratoga.

Luis Saez had the mount in both wins and rides once again from post position nine. 

Beer Can Man a determined winner of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint May 20 at Pimlico (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables LLC and Sterling Stables, LLC’s Beer Can Man invades from California for trainer Phil D’Amato. A five-year-old gelding by Can the Man, Beer Can Man has notched a pair of graded stakes victories in his career (the Cecil B. DeMille (G3) in 2020 and the Turf Monster (G3) in 2021) and this year, was a determined neck victor of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on the undercard of the Preakness (G1) at Pimlico. 

Beer Can Man was last seen finishing third behind his speedy stablemate Motorious in the Green Flash Handicap (G3) Sep. 2 at Del Mar, in which he missed place honors by a mere nose. 

Flavien Prat will have the mount from post position 11. Prat rode Beer Can Man to victory in both the Jim McKay and the Turf Monster (a win which came via disqualification).

Sonata Stable’s Grade 3 winner Arzak [Joel Rosario, post position five] and Hammer Time Stable’s stakes-placed Coppola [Martin Garcia, post position seven] both come into the Woodford fresh off a win. 

Arzak, a five-year-old son of Not This Time, rallied from off the pace to nail the aforementioned Coppola by a head in an allowance Aug. 23 at Saratoga. The Michael Trombetta trainee’s biggest win was a gate-to-wire score in the Jacques Cartier (G3) last year at Woodbine. 

By Spendthrift Farm’s leading sire Into Mischief, four-year-old Coppola returned to winning ways after that Saratoga defeat, victorious by a head Sep. 20 at Churchill Downs. The third-place finisher in that allowance, Black Hawk Stable (James Rogers) and Mach 1 Racing’s stakes winner Kavod [Francisco Arrieta, post position 12] will also return in the Woodford.

Dale Romans trains Coppola, while Chris Hartman has the conditioning duties for Kavod. 

Via @TwinSpires on Twitter

Gatsas Stables, Steven Schoenfeld, and John P. Terranova II’s Our Shot [Tyler Gaffalione, post position eight] will be giving graded stakes company a shot for the first time. A Pennsylvania-bred son of Kantharos, Our Shot has racked up three wins (one sprinting over the Keeneland turf) and a pair of stakes placings this season. 

Most recently, Our Shot was a surging third in the Harvey Pack Sep. 2 at Saratoga. John Terranova, co-owner of Our Shot, also trains the four-year-old gelding. 

Marsico Brothers Racing LLC’s multiple graded stakes-placed Bad Beat Brian returns to Keeneland in search of a breakthrough win for both himself and trainer Brittany Vanden Berg.

The six-year-old John Milton gelding has competed in graded stakes four times, but has yet to finish better than second. That lone second-place was behind Caravel in the Shakertown (G2) April 8 at Keeneland, in which Bad Beat Brian lived up to his name and missed by a head. 

Regular rider Christopher Emigh retains the mount from post position one. 

Also entered are BBN Racing, LLC’s stakes-placed Let My People Go [John Velazquez, post position three] for Vicky Oliver, Gary Barber’s Grade 2 winner Olympic Runner [Brian Hernandez, Jr., post position six], and Rakesh S. Sikand and Kumud S. Sikand’s homebred maiden winner Foxtrotanna [Ferrin Peterson, post position 10], trained by Justin Wojczynski.

The Woodford (G2) Presented by FanDuel is the first of five stakes on a smashing Saturday card at Keeneland, which features the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare, Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), and the $1 million Coolmore Turf Mile (G1). 

The Thoroughbred Club of America, Breeders’ Futurity, and Turf Mile are all part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In and provide an automatic and free entry into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), respectively. 

The field for the Woodford (G2) with riders, trainers, and weights from the rail out:

1Bad Beat BrianChristopher EmighBrittany Vanden Berg120
2Live In The DreamSean KirraneAdam West124
3Let My People GoJohn VelazquezVicky Oliver120
4Eye WitnessJose OrtizWesley Ward118
5ArzakJoel RosarioMichael Trombetta120
6Olympic RunnerBrian Hernandez, Jr.Mark Casse120
7CoppolaMartin GarciaDale Romans120
8Our ShotTyler GaffalioneJohn Terranova120
9KaufymakerLuis SaezWesley Ward120
10FoxtrotannaFerrin PetersonJustin Wojczynski120
11Beer Can ManFlavien PratPhil D’Amato120
12KavodFrancisco ArrietaChris Hartman120

Contributing Authors

Amber Joyce, Editor

Amber Joyce grew up with a practically innate love for racehorses, her mom being a former exercise rider and trainer of off-the-track thoroughbreds. For the...

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