The 4-year-old son of More Than Ready will make his first start outside California April 9 in the one-mile turf test, and puts a four-race win streak on the line against an expected eight rivals. The Dan Blacker trainee gave his conditioner his first grade 1 win last out when he won the March 6 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1T) at Santa Anita Park on the heels of the Feb. 6 Thunder Road Stakes (G3T) score that launched his season.
“The horse is doing really well right now,” Blacker said April 7. “I’ve always kind of let him tell me how soon we’re going to run back. He just bounced out of the Kilroe really well and had good energy. Five weeks between the races was a big part of why we decided to run here. It really gave us a good time to freshen him up and build him back up again for this race.
“He’s done everything perfect since the Kilroe, and he’s very good at a mile.”
Running for D K Racing, Radley Equine, Taste of Victory Stables, Rick Gold, Tony Maslowski, and Dave Odmark, Hit the Road will be reunited with Florent Geroux, who was aboard for the Kilroe victory. They break from post 2 with Geroux a part of a 123-pound highweight assignment.
While Hit the Road comes in with no rust on his shoes, Blacker isn’t discounting the Chad Brown-trained pair of Raging Bull and Sacred Life , both of which will be making their season debuts in Friday’s feature.
“In modern turf racing, especially in North America, time and time again you see these horses run a huge race off a layoff,” Blacker said. “My horse ran his biggest number off a seven-month layoff in the Thunder Road. All of these horses are very good. I think it’s a tough race. The biggest question for my horse is whether he takes to the turf course and whether he runs as well at Keeneland as he does in California, which I think he will.”
Peter Brant’s grade 1 winner Raging Bull has been knocking at the door in the Maker’s Mark, where he ran third—beaten a neck—in 2020 and fourth in 2019. The 6-year-old son of Dark Angel came back to Keeneland and went one better in the 2020 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1T), where he rallied strongly to finish second to Ivar by a length. He makes his season debut from post 8 with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, after concluding last year with a 10th-place finish in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1T), also at Keeneland.
Raging Bull, winner of the 2020 Shoemaker Mile (G1T) and the 2018 Hollywood Derby (G1T), worked four furlongs in :50 3/5 April 4 at Keeneland in company with Sacred Life in preparation for his Friday start.
Sacred Life, fourth in the Sept. 5 Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1T) last out, seeks his first grade 1 for Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stable, and Bethlehem Stables. The son of Siyouni will be ridden by Javier Castellano and from post four.
In his first start of the year, Field Pass gets the services of the red-hot Joel Rosario. The Mike Maker trainee was fourth in the Dec. 26 Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes (G2T) at Santa Anita and won the 2020 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes (G3T) at Keeneland. He drew the far outside.
Get Smokin , winner of the Feb. 6 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3T) last out, 2020 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2T) winner Somelikeithotbrown , Kennedy Road stakes (G2T) winner Ride a Comet , grade 3 winner Flying Scotsman , and allowance winner Darain complete the field.
Keeneland, Friday, April 09, 2021, Race 9
- Grade IT
- 4 yo’s & up
- 5:30 PM (local)