Pablo Del Monte quickly established a clear lead and moved to the inside for jockey Joel Rosario before drawing off in the stretch under hand urging to win an April 7 juvenile race at Keeneland. Pablo Del Monte registered a five-length victory, completing 4 1/2 furlongs in :51.61. Solitary Ranger, by U S Ranger , placed second followed by Indigo Diamond, by Belong to Me, in third.
Trainer Wesley Ward has saddled the winners of the first two juvenile races at the Keeneland spring meeting. With Pablo Del Monte's win, Ward improves his record with first-time starters at Keeneland to 15-for-44 and he will enter two more first-timers in Thursday's "baby race."
Ward is the breeder of Pablo Del Monte, a Kentucky-bred by Giant's Causeway who is campaigned by Ward and Paul Shanahan. Ward also bred and raced One Hot Wish, by Bring the Heat.
Ward secured a win in the Keeneland meet's first juvenile race this year, which was for fillies, with Sweet Emma Rose. After that victory, he said he would consider the filly for races at Royal Ascot, noting that many U.S. races and stakes races for juveniles have been pushed back on the calendar.
Looking ahead to Thursday's maiden race for juvenile fillies, Ward again figures to be a major player as he has entered a pair of horses who were entered and scratched from the meet's first two juvenile races.
Florida-bred Tomei is owned and bred by Ward and actor Joe Pesci. Named after actress Marisa Tomei, the filly will be the first foal to race out of the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Teriffany. Her second dam is grade I-placed Pesci, by Stormy Atlantic . Ward entered and scratched Tomei from the opening-day race won by Sweet Emma Rose.
The other half of Thursday's entry is Ward homebred Hearsay Social, by He's Crafty, who was entered and scratched in the open race won by Pablo Del Monte. Hearsay Social is out of the Bring the Heat mare Billie Bob, who at 3 set a track record at the 4 1/2-furlong distance at Hollywood Park.
Other fillies of interest in the April 7 race include Sky America, a Sky Mesa filly who is a half sister to grade I-placed Third Dawn; and Platinum Justice, who is out of a dam, Little Sea, who has produced five starters, all winners, including stakes winner Down by the Sea. Three of her five winners have won at age 2.
Also watch the More Than Ready filly Ready to Lead, who is out of stakes winner Valid Leader. Valid Leader has produced six starters, all winners, including stakes winner Royal Challenger. Two of her foals won in their juvenile seasons. Zee Stone, by second-crop sire First Defence , is the first foal out of Long Lake, by Distorted Humor . The second dam of Zee Stone is champion older mare Hidden Lake, by Quiet American.
The picks: 1. Hearsay Social, 2. Tomei, 3. Sky America.
This series plans further recaps and previews of the scheduled eight baby races at Keeneland this spring. Follow all of Frank Angst's Blood-Horse picks this spring on the Keeneland simulcast.