A son of Kipling--Klondike Kaytie, by Encino, Kip Deville was freshened after taking the Breeders’ Cup Mile by a length Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park. The Rick Dutrow trainee had a terrific 4-year-old campaign, winning three graded stakes while finishing in the money in five of seven starts.
Bred in Oklahoma by Center Hills Farm, Kip Deville loves the one-mile trek, with eight of his nine career victories coming at that distance. One of those wins came in last year’s Maker’s Mark Mile, when the gray/roan horse got up by a neck under Edgar Prado, barely defeating Showing Up. It was his third graded stakes victory in a row.
Kip Deville spent his winter in Florida, where he worked at Palm Meadows Training Center. He shipped to Keeneland last week and turned in a work on Polytrack, a five furlong breeze in 1:01-flat April 7.
Owned in a partnership headed by IEAH Stables, Kip Deville drew the inside post and will get Cornelio Velasquez, who was aboard for the Breeders’ Cup score. He was instilled as the 5-2 morning-line favorite.
The second choice is Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein (4-1). The Brazilian-bred son of Spend a Buck arrives off a neck victory in the 1 3/8-mile Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes (gr. IT) Feb. 23. Trained by Helen Pitts, Einstein also won at the one-mile distance in his 6-year-old debut, taking an allowance event Jan. 11 at Gulfstream. He tired to finish sixth on the dirt three weeks later in the Donn Handicap (gr. I).
A winner of seven of 16 lifetime starts, Einstein will be making his debut on the Keeneland turf.
“He’s never run on the turf here and is shortening up to a mile, but he is coming into the race terrific,” said Pitts, who worked Einstein April 7 at Churchill Downs. “I think this will set him up well for the Woodford (Reserve Turf Classic, gr. IT, May 3 at Churchill Downs). This will already be his fourth start of what is going to be a long year, but this horse just loves the game. He rather be competing than sitting and doing nothing. He couldn’t be happier right now.
“With the weather (which calls for rain), the turf looks like it will probably be a little soft. But he’s very versatile and I expect him to do well.”
Robby Albarado will ride, breaking from post two. Einstein and Kip Deville will both carry a race-high 123 pounds.
Also potentially playing a prominent role in the $300,000 event is Flying Zee Stable’s Cosmonaut. The 6-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse enters off a three-quarter-length score Feb. 23 in the Tampa Bay Stakes. Prior to that, he was defeated by only a half-length in the 1 1/8-mile River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill, losing to current entrant Thorn Song.
A consistent runner, Cosmonaut has been on the board in five of his last six starts, including a victory in the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) last July, and a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, when he led into the stretch but was caught by Kip Deville and Excellent Art. Trained by Philip Serpe, Cosmonaut will have Edgar Prado in the irons.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle a pair of contenders – graded stakes winner Shakis, and 5-year-old Zann, who lost by just a neck in the Citation Handicap (gr. IT) Nov. 23 at Hollywood Park and was fifth in the Gulfstream Park Turf.
$300,000 Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IT, Race 9, April 11, 5:10 p.m.), 4-year-olds & up, one mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Kip Deville (OK), 123, Cornelio Velazquez
2. Einstein (BRZ), 123, Robby Albarado
3. Parading (KY), 117, John Velazquez
4. Ruff and Ready (FL), 117, Eibar Coa
5. Thousand Words (GB), 117, Javier Castellano
6. Zann (KY), 117, Julien Leparoux
7. Cosmonaut (KY), 119, Edgar Prado
8. Out of Control (BRZ), 121, Garret Gomez
9. Shakis (IRE), 117, Alan Garcia
10. War Monger (FL), 119, Kent Desormeaux
11. Thorn Song (KY), 117, Rafael Bejarano