The Shakertown is a 5 1/2-furlong sprint on the turf course for 3-year-olds and up. A full field of 12 was entered, as well a pair of also eligibles. Post time is set for 3:40 p.m. EDT. It is the first of four consecutive graded stakes on the Keeneland program that also includes the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Mr. Nightlinger took the Shakertown in wire-to-wire fashion in 2008 and it jumpstarted a five-race win streak for the son of Indian Charlie. The bay horse concluded his 4-year-old campaign in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, but finished well back in seventh.
Owned by Martin Racing Stable and Carl Moore Management, Mr. Nightlinger is 9-1-4 from 19 starts. This will be his second start at Keeneland. Regular rider Jamie Theriot will be in the irons for Bret Calhoun. They drew post 4.
Moore and Calhoun will also team up to send out 121-pound high weight Chamberlain Bridge, who won Keeneland’s Woodford Stakes last fall at the same 5 1/2-furlong distance. Chamberlain Bridge opened his 2009 season with a third-place finish in the Turf Dash at Tampa Bay Downs March 14. Garrett Gomez will be aboard the 5-year-old War Chantgelding, who will break from post 9.
Multiple graded stakes winner Heros Reward has to be given consideration even though this will be his first start at Keeneland. An earner of more than $900,000 from 28 starts, Heros Reward won the Nearctic Stakes (gr. IIT) in 2007 and the Scotts Highlander Stakes (gr. IIIT) last season – both on the Woodbine turf. The 7-year-old Partner's Hero gelding also made his most recent start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in October, finishing fifth to Desert Code.
A Maryland-bred, Heros Reward is owned by Rob Ry Farm and Jayne Marie Slysz. Javier Castellano will ride for Dale Capuano.
Lael Stables’ Rollers will be making the 12th start of his career, but first on turf. The 4-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic finished runner-up to Ikigai in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) two starts back on Gulfstream Park's dirt and ran third in an optional claiming event over the Keeneland Polytrack after setting the pace one week ago. The New York-bred is trained by Barclay Tagg.