Eddie Kenneally would rather his horses be fresh than have to worry about fatigue. The veteran trainer will put that theory to the test when he sends out multiple graded-stakes winner Kelly’s Landing in the $2-milion TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.
By Patton out of the Great Above mare Best Game, Kelly’s Landing will have nearly seven months off when he enters the starting gate later this month. Granted, the 6-year-old gelding’s last performance, a half-length victory in the March 31 Gulf News Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), was impressive. But the extended layoff leaves some to wonder how he will respond in what should be very tough company.
Kenneally said there was nothing wrong Kelly’s Landing; his intention was to give the four-time graded stakes winner ample time to recover from a long trip.
“We just wanted to give him some time off until the summer,” said Kenneally, 41, who hails from Ireland and has been training horses in the United States since 1987. “He has been training forwardly since then at Churchill and now Keeneland. There are no injuries. He’s a very sound horse."
Kelly’s Landing has been nothing if not consistent since beginning his racing career in 2004, winning nine times in 21 tries while placing in 13. He has never gone longer than a two-race stretch without being in the money. In 2005, he broke the Churchill Downs track record for six furlongs, speeding home in 1:07.59.
This will be the second trip the Breeders’ Cup for both Kenneally and Kelly’s Landing, who tried the Sprint last year at Churchill and finished 10th.
“Hopefully we won’t get the 14 post again,” Kenneally said. “If you recall, the majority of the races last year were won by horses down on the inside. Getting carried wide on the turn is not ideal in a short race, either.
“He’s still running great, as you can see by his last race. He’s a pretty versatile horse. He likes to break sharply from the gate and lay close in most of his races.”
Kelly’s Landing is a homebred of Jack and Louise Lally’s Summerplace Farm, an 85-acre operation in Lexington. The Lallys, who also have horses stabled in Florida and Illinois, have been racing horses since 1978. They sent out stakes-winning dam Best Game in the early 1980s and have also owned stakes winners Chez Chez Chez and Sweet Nostalgia.
Summerplace is a fairly modest operation that has left the breeding business to concentrate on racing only, and according to Kenneally, the owners do a fine job of buying talented horses.
“Jack and Louise are great people,” Kenneally said. “I’ve had horses with them on and off for 10 years. Kelly’s Landing is the best we’ve had. Certainly, having a horse in the Breeders’ Cup and having one of the favorites is exciting.”