Practical Joke, Chad Brown Stable
Trainer Chad Brown discussed why he got Practical Joke out of Florida to run in the Blue Grass.
“I just felt in the end the horse would benefit from one extra week of training,” Brown said. “We were coming to Keeneland with some other horses. I like the Blue Grass. We had some success last year with My Man Sam running a good second. So it made sense for us.”
On Saturday at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, Practical Joke turned in his final work for the race, covering five furlongs in 1:00.45 He arrived at Keeneland Sunday afternoon and jogged on the main track Monday morning. Brown said he would gallop Tuesday, depending on the weather.
Joel Rosario will ride Practical Joke in the Toyota Blue Grass and become Brown’s fourth starter in the race. In addition to My Man Sam, Brown was sixth in the race with Balance the Books – who raced for Practical Joke’s owners – in 2013 and was 12th with Bobby’s Kitten in 2014.
Brown’s Keeneland string includes a number of standouts aiming to Keeneland stakes, including grade II winners Paid Up Subscriber and Paulassilverlining in Saturday’s Madison; 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner New Money Honey in the April 13 Appalachian; and $2 million earner Lady Eli in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley two days later.
His first stakes contestant will be Ticonderoga, entered in Friday’s opening-day Transylvania Stakes.
The 3-year-old son of Tapit, second in Keeneland’s Bourbon in October, is coming off a win in the March 4 Palm Beach at Gulfstream.
“He was a little green last year, but at least he got a run over the turf course,” Brown said. “I see a stronger, more mature horse this time around. We’re excited about him opening day.”
Ticonderoga is the first foal out of millionaire Keertana, winner of Keeneland’s 2011 Bewitch.
Brown, whose 2016 stable earnings of $23,134,394 led all North American trainers, enters Keeneland’s 2017 Spring Meet with 17 stakes wins at the track since 2009, his third season of training.
“Respecting how difficult Keeneland is and trying to bring the right horses is really the key to have success here,” he said. “Everyone brings their best, so that’s what we have to do. I feel like I picked some really good horses to run here. The races are so difficult we’ll be fortunate to have any level of success here.”
Wild Shot (photo) completed his major preparation for the Toyota Blue Grass by working a half-mile in :48.20 Monday morning.
Working on his own over a fast main track shortly after 6 o’clock, Wild Shot posted fractions of 12.40, 24.00 and 48.20 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 with Angel Cruz aboard.
“He did easy and in hand,” said Cruz, who was aboard Wild Shot for the first time. “He’s a nice horse. The track is fast, and he did it on his own.”
Wild Shot, trained by Rusty Arnold, is slated to be ridden Saturday by Corey Lanerie. Arnold is scheduled to arrive in Lexington Monday afternoon.
Cruz will be riding his first full Keeneland meet this spring. He is to ride Dancing Rags in Sunday’s Adena Springs Beaumont for trainer Graham Motion.
In other Toyota Blue Grass news, probable favorite McCraken jogged once around the main track alongside a pony and then returned to his barn through the paddock. Regular exercise rider Yoni Orantes was up.
“You could see him quicken at the wire,” Wilkes said of McCraken's workout on Sunday. “He had his big work last week when he worked six furlongs (in 1:13.40) and galloped out a mile.”
Making his first appearance on the track was Tampa Bay Derby winner Tapwrit (photo), who galloped 1 1/4 mile before the renovation break with exercise rider Romain Techer aboard.
A mild rain after 8:00 rerouted the morning activity of Irap to the five-furlong all-weather training track. With exercise rider Antonio Romero aboard, Irap jogged once around and then galloped 1½ miles.
It's Your Nickel
It’s Your Nickel walked the shedrow at trainer Ken McPeek’s barn following a five-furlong work in 1:01.60 on Sunday.
Edited Keeneland release
Photos by Keeneland