Keeneland's Polytrack Popular With Breeders' Cup Hopefuls on Saturday

Racing may have been winding down on Saturday, Oct. 28, the final day of Keeneland's fall meet in Lexington, Ky., but top stakes contenders were taking advantage of the opportunity to get in one last work over Polytrack before the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. In spite of the steady rain that fell throughout the Lexington area on Friday, the synthetic surface was fast and well-drained by the morning.

John and Martha Jane Mulholland's Malibu Mint, who is pointing toward the TVG Sprint (gr. I), led the contingent of Breeders' Cup hopefuls to work over the surface Saturday morning. Coming off an Oct. 14 win in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. III), the 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon went a half in :47 1/5 under 18-year-old jockey Kyle Kaenel, who flew in from California to work the filly and was back on a plane to the West Coast by 7 a.m. Kaenel will have the mount should the filly start as planned in the TVG Sprint (gr. I).

"She went very well, much in hand," said trainer James Chapman, "and she galloped out strong. That's usually how she works. I'm not sure when we'll ship--we're not in any hurry to leave Keeneland."

Malibu Mint has won seven of 22 lifetime starts and earned $690,829.

Trainer Dallas Stewart shipped Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Lemons Forever from Churchill Downs to work over the Polytrack instead of training on Churchill's muddy dirt surface. Coming off a fourth-place finish in the Oct. 8 Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, the 3-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid went five-eighths in :59 and 4/5 under exercise rider Lee Guidry.

"Her work was excellent," Stewart said. "She was crisp and clean; everything was perfect."

Owned by Horton Stables and Stewart, Lemons Forever has won three of 10 career starts and earned $546,345.

Patrick Biancone sent out Mauralakana, second to Vacare in the Oct. 14 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup II (gr. IT), for a five-eighths mile work in :58 and 4/5 under jockey Julien Leparoux as she continues to prep for the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Badge of Silver, pointing to the NetJets Mile (gr. I), worked an easy three-quarters in 1:12 and 2/5 under exercise rider Frederic Ruscail. Trained by Bobby Frankel, the 6-year-old son of Silver Deputy has not started since winning the Jan. 1 San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT), his seventh win from 14 career starts.

Meanwhile, Tracy Farmer's Commentator, the Sprint pre-entry trained by Nick Zito, worked a half in :47 under jockey Julien Leparoux. The New York-bred son of Distorted Humor will be seeking his ninth lifetime victory when he makes his 12th start in the Sprint.

About the Author

Claire Novak

Winner of the 2011 Eclipse Award for Feature/Commentary and the 2008 Louisville Metro Journalism Award for Sports Writing, Claire Novak has melded her love for human-interest journalism and the equine breed into a successful Turf writing career. Since her first freelance article on racing was published at in 2005, her byline has appeared in the New York Times, ESPN The Magazine, and on, among others. She lives near Lexington and, when not writing about racing, can often be found jumping her Thoroughbred, Bob.

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