The $100,000 Shakertown Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland April 12 drew a field of 13 turf sprinters headed by the always reliable Gantry, who has not finished worse than second in his past eight starts, and Havelock, winner of last year’s Shakertown.
Gantry, owned by Brittlyn Stable and trained by Ron Faucheux, had been racing in dirt stakes until he switched back to the grass to win the 5 1/2-furlong Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in his most recent start. The 7-year-old son of Pulpit has been a gem of consistency, winning 10 of his 23 career starts, with six seconds and three thirds.
Gantry, who carries co-topweight of 120 pounds, will have to overcome the far outside post in the 5 1/2-furlong dash, but appears to have enough good tactical speed to get a decent position.
Havelock has been pretty much everywhere during his 26-race career, from Florida to California to Newmarket and Royal Ascot in England. The 7-year-old gelding hasn’t run since finishing 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT). In that race, he was far back early as usual, and was only beaten four lengths. Prior to that, he captured the Woodford Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Earlier in the year, Havelock got up in the final stride to win the Shakertown over Something Extra, who will be making his first start of the year in this year’s edition.
Havelock gets a jockey change with Julien Leparoux for the first time, his ninth rider in the past 12 starts. He breaks from post 3 and also carries 120 pounds.
The main theme of the Shakertown should be whether or not Havelock can catch Gantry. But that does not mean this is a two-horse race.
If Something Extra, with Jose Lezcano up, is ready for this test coming off a nine-month layoff, he certainly has the credentials, having excelled in stakes on a consistent basis mainly at Woodbine.
Shipping in from California is No Silent, beaten a head by Zeewat last time out in the Lost in the Fog Stakes at Golden Gate Fields over the Tapeta surface. Last year, he was second, beaten a half-length, in the Hollywood Turf Express on the grass. Javier Castellano picks up the mount and will break from post 12.
Another top-class horse making his first start of the year is the Reade Baker-trained Go Blue Or Go Home, who is coming off three big stakes efforts last fall on the Polytrack at Keeneland and Woodbine.
Hogy, trained by Scott Becker, is a stakes winner on turf, but his biggest victory was in last year’s Presque Isle Downs Mile on synthetic at one mile.
Marchman, a stakes winner last year at Fair Grounds, is coming off a third behind Gantry in the Colonel Power Stakes. Robby Albarado rides under 120 pounds.
$100,000 Shakertown Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, approximate post time 4:10 p.m. EDT), 4 Year-Olds and Up, 5 1/2 furlongs, Turf.
1—Channel Marker (KY), C.S. Nakatani, 118, A.M. Stall Jr.
2—Something Extra (KY), J. Lezcano, 118, G. Cox
3—Shrinking Violet (KY), J.R. Velazaquez, 115, W. Ward
4—Tour Guide (KY), M. Mena, 118, J. Fernandez
5—Marchman (KY), R. Albarado, 120, W.B. Calhoun
6—Havelock (MD), J.R. Leparoux, 120, D. Miller
7—Animal Style (KY), R. Napravnik, 118, M. Maker
8—Go Blue Or Go Home (VA), E. Wilson, 118, R. Baker
9—Hogy (KY), S. Bridgmohan, 118, S. Becker
10—Positive Side (KY), L.R. Goncalves, 118, G. Forster
11—Ancil (KY), J. Rocco Jr. 120, J. Scott
12—No Silent (KY), J. Castellano, 118, G. Mandella
13—Gantry (KY), R.E. Eramia, 120, R. Faucheux