Gary Barber's Keep Quiet rallied strongly down the inside and held off fast-finishing favorite Ticonderoga to win the $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds Oct. 9 at Keeneland. Watch Video
Notching his first stakes win by 1 1/4 lengths following a runner-up finish last time out in the With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course, the son of Elusive City covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.92 on firm turf with Florent Geroux aboard. Trained by Mark Casse, the French-bred colt earned an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita Park via the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" series.
Third behind pacesetters Cold Snack Thirty and All Right in the early running, Keep Quiet went to the lead on the rail into stretch. Royal by Nature engaged the front-runner and looked to just edge ahead with a furlong to run, but Keep Quiet knuckled down in the final sixteenth and kicked clear in the closing stages. Ticonderoga, well back early, closed furiously through the stretch, but lugging in greenly, and could not get to the winner.
"I wanted to make sure he broke good today," Geroux said of Keep Quiet. "Last time (in the With Anticipation), he broke a little bit flat-footed, a little slow, and I wanted to make sure he got away very nicely from the gate so I could take a better position in the race.
"We had a good trip. I was just behind two horses. From there, he settled nicely, relaxed. When the horses came next to him in the stretch, he was very brave and showed a lot of heart."
Ticonderoga lugged in a bit with Javier Castellano in his stretch run but outfinished Bird's Eye View by a half length for second in the field of 16.
Castellano said his mount encountered a lot of traffic and started lugging in a little bit at the top of the stretch and again nearing the finish.
"He was straightforward to the eighth pole, but maybe he was looking around at the grandstand or something," he said. "He started lugging in sideways and it was a little difficult to ride him in that part. ...He hung in there so well mentally (except for) the last part. There is a lot of potential with him."
Keep Quiet paid $10, $4, and $3.40, Ticonderoga returned $2.80 and $2.40, and Bird's Eye View paid $7.40 to show.
Bred by Pontchartrain Stud and Riviera Stud from the Sillery mare Luminosity, Keep Quiet has two wins and a second from five starts. He was a weanling purchase by Justin Casse at the 2014 Arqana December breeding stock sale. The colt's sale price was €37,000 ($45,455). The half brother to multiple graded winner and stakes producer Little Treasure was offered by Haras d'Etreham's agency.