The 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown is the feature event on a nine-race card at Keeneland. My Private Lake is an also-eligible.
A consistent 5-year-old Horse Chestnutgelding, Smart Enough has finished out of the money just once in his 15-start career – all which have come on grass. Bred in Kentucky by F. E. Dixon Jr., Smart Enough has captured eight stakes in his career, including last year’s Scotts Highlander (Can-IIIT), which was his lone graded stakes score.
Out of the Polish Numbers mare Quick ‘n’ Smart, Smart Enough has set a remarkable five different course records, three of them coming at the five-furlong distance. The John Fisher trainee has amassed $647,543 in lifetime earnings.
Even with all his credentials, Smart Enough does have one major question to answer in the Shakertown: How will he respond after a more than five months on the shelf? The last time the gelding ran was Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, when he took the Cherokee Run Handicap by 3 ¼ lengths under Chris DeCarlo. It was his third win in his last four starts.
The Maryland-based Fisher has been working Smart Enough at Fair Hills Training Center. Most recently, he breezed four furlongs in :48.60 April 9. John Velazquez will be in the irons for the first time, starting from post two.
Smart Enough will be up against stiff competition April 13, including the past two winners of the Shakertown – The Nth Degree and Atticus Kristy.
Rodney Winkler’s The Nth Degree has won just once in his past nine outings, but it came in the 2007 edition of the Shakertown, when he got up by a neck after a determined stretch drive. After finishing unplaced in the Highlander last June, the 7-year-old Distorted Humor gelding was idle for eight months. The Colorado-bred returned to competition at Tampa Bay this winter, but has been off the board in two starts for trainer Eduardo Caramori. Javier Castellano will ride.
Two years ago it was Atticus Kristy that took the Shakertown, also getting up by the narrowest of margins. The 7-year-old Atticusgelding has won just once since that start and has not hit the winner’s circle in nearly 17 months for trainer Merrill Scherer. However, the Kentucky-bred was just three-quarters of a length back in the last fall’s Woodford Stakes at Keeneland, which was won by current entrant Fort Prado. Robby Albarado gets the start.
Early speed could come from 4-year-old colt Mr. Nightlinger, who ships in from Fair Grounds. The son of Indian Charliehas hit the wire in front twice in his last four starts (although he was disqualified in one of those efforts) for trainer Bret Calhoun. Mr. Nightlinger won an allowance on the Keeneland Polytrack last fall, but will be making just his second turf start in 14 career outings. Jamie Theriot gets the call.
Vinery Stables’ Probation Ready will be looking to pick up the pieces if there is a hot pace. The Steve Asmussen trainee rallied down the stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths Feb. 29 in the Delta Express Stakes at Delta Downs.
A to the Croft Drops Down to Allowance
Also scheduled to run on the April 13 card is Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) starter A to the Croft. The 3-year-old Menifee filly has never tried allowance competition, jumping immediately from the maiden ranks to graded stakes company as a 2-year-old. But that is exactly where the Ken McPeek trainee has landed, as she will face eight other 3-year-olds in a 1 1/16-mile event on the Polytrack, the seventh race on the Keeneland program.
Most recently, A to the Croft ran third in the March 22 Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) on Lane's End Stakes day at Turfway Park. Her only off the board finish in six lifetime stsrts came on the Breeders' Cup, when she tired to finish ninth on the slop at Monmouth Park.
$125,000 Shakertown Stakes (gr. IIIT, April 13, race 8, 4:40 p.m.), 3 & Up, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Emirates to Dubai (KY), 118, Garrett K. Gomez
2. Smart Enough (KY), 121, John R. Velazquez
3. Probation Ready (KY), 118, Shaun Bridgmohan
4. Sgt. Bert (KY), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux
5. The Nth Degree (CO), 118, Javier Castellano
6. Markum (KY), 118, Larry Melancon
7. Midwatch (KY), 118, Eric Camacho
8. Fort Prado (IL), 118, Rene R. Douglas
9. Atticus Kristy (KY), 118, Robby Albarado
10. Mr. Nightlinger (KY), 118, Jamie Theriot
11. Knights Cross (KY), 118, Julien R. Leparoux
12. Zetetic (KY), 118, Edgar S. Prado
AE. My Private Lake (KY), 118, Thomas L. Pompell