Court Vision, scratched from the Oct. 3 Kelso Handicap (gr. III) after it was taken off turf, reappears at Keeneland for the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) Oct. 10. The 4-year-old colt will look to use the race as a springboard for next month’s Breeders’ Cup.
A field of nine was entered for the Turf Mile, which is the last of five graded races on the Keeneland card. A solid group of contenders will try to knock off Court Vision, including Mr. Sidney, who tries to become the first horse to sweep the Maker’s Mark Mile (gr. IT) and the Turf Mile, and Justenuffhumor, a winner of six straight. Post time is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. EDT, with the winner receiving an automatic berth to the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) Nov. 7 at Santa Anita.
Owned by IEAH Stables and Resolute Group Stables, Court Vision was hoping to use the Kelso to rebound from a five-race losing streak, but the one-mile race was moved to the main track because of heavy rain in New York. The rest of the Turf Mile field is probably none too pleased that the connections of the son of Gulch decided to ship him to Keeneland.
Though Court Vision has not won since last November when scoring the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT), he has been working very well at Aqueduct in recent weeks. IEAH president Mike Iavarone said last week that the horse had July 23 surgery to remove a “high-channeled testicle” which was causing him discomfort, and expects the ridgling to return to his old form.
Court Vision has won two of eight starts on turf in his career. He will cut back to one mile for the first time this season after running routes all over the country. His last effort was a sixth-place finish in the 1 3/8-mile United Nations (gr. IT) July 4 at Monmouth Park.
An earner of more than $1.1 million from 17 starts, Court Vision was bred in Kentucky by William S. Farish and Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership. He is out of Storm Bird mare Weekend Storm. Robby Albarado will ride for Rick Dutrow Jr., who recently took over training duties from Bill Mott.
Also reappearing for the Turf Mile after being scratched out of the Kelso is Yorktown, who enters off an optional claiming victory on Monmouth Park’s turf course Aug. 27. Trained by Graham Motion, the 4-year-old Red Ransom colt made the first eight starts of his career in his native France while producing a pair of allowance wins.
Circle E Racing’s Mr. Sidney won the April 10 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland by a half-length for his first grade I score. The 5-year-old son of Storm Cat came back two starts later to nail the July 4 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs for Mott. Both of them were on yielding turf courses. In all, he’s won four of five starts at the one-mile distance.
Last out, Mr. Sidney was never a factor when finishing sixth in the Arlington Million on Aug. 8. He has worked mainly at Belmont for the Turf Mile, but did turn in a four-furlong move Oct. 6 at Keeneland. Regular rider Kent Desormeaux has the mount.
The hottest horse coming into the race is Godolphin Racing’s Justenuffhumor, who rides an impressive six-race win streak for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt went from being a maiden in January to notching consecutive grade II events in August when he captured the Fourstardave and Bernard Baruch Handicaps at Saratoga.
Justenuffhumor likes to come from off the pace, but he will have to make his move a bit sooner in the Turf Mile, as he cuts back to one mile for the first time since January when he broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park. This will be his second start at Keeneland. The bay suffered the only loss of his career last October on the Keeneland Polytrack. He has been on grass ever since.
“He was really struggling at the gate last year, and the gate crew did a tremendous job with him,” McLaughlin said. “If they had not spent the time with him, there is no telling where we would be now. Since he won on grass, we decided to leave him there. He knows how to get there and his turn of foot is exciting.
“Soft ground might be good for us. He is maybe better at a little more than a mile, so a demanding, soft course may help us. Of course, it will help Mr. Sidney too.”
There is a 20% chance of rain in Lexington Oct. 10.
Another horse with a good chance is Mike House’s Battle of Hastings. The only 3-year-old in the field, Battle of Hastings was a nose away from winning three straight grade II races when he was narrowly beaten in the Sept. 6 Del Mar Derby. The gelded son of Royal Applause is having a sensational season for Jeff Mullins, having won four stakes including the Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIT) and Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) this summer at Colonial Downs.
Bred in England, Battle of Hastings was sent to the U.S. late last season and has produced a 4-2-0 record from seven starts since arriving. Tyler Baze flies in for the mount.
Others to consider are multiple graded stakes winner Tizdejavu, who won four times in 2008 but is winless in his last three; Woodbine shipper Sterwins, winner of Keeneland’s Ben Ali (gr. III) on Polytrack last year; and Karelian, making his 7-year-old debut for Rusty Arnold. Karelian was fifth in the 2008 Turf Mile when it was won by Thorn Song.
$600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT, Race 9, 5:45 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Yorktown (FR), J Bravo, 126, H G Motion
2. Mr. Sidney (KY), K J Desormeaux, 126, W I Mott
3. Wise River (KY), J Theriot, 126, C Hanna
4. Karelian (KY), R Maragh, 126, G R Arnold, II
5. Battle of Hastings (GB), T Baze, 123, J Mullins
6. Sterwins (ON), S Bridgmohan, 126, M Pierce
7. Justenuffhumor (KY), A Garcia, 126, K P McLaughlin
8. Tizdejavu (KY), J R Leparoux, 126, G Fox
9. Court Vision (KY), R Albarado, 126, R E Dutrow, Jr.