Keyed Entry Locks Up Deputy Minister Early

Returning from a seven-month layoff, Keyed Entry went gate to wire to defeat four overmatched opponents in Saturday's $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III), the first of six graded stakes on the Gulfstream Park program.

A leading 3-year-old last year after his win in the Hutcheson (gr. II) and third-place finish in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct in April, Keyed Entry could be a major player on the sprinter stage in 2007 for owners Starlight Stable, Paul H. Saylor and Donald J. Lucarelli. Anthony Sciametta saddled the son of Honour and Glory--Ava Knowsthecode (Cryptoclearance) for regular trainer Todd Pletcher, who is serving a suspension.

“He’d been on the farm with Barry (Berkelhammer, bloodstock agent and advisor) and he got this horse to looking the way he did today," said Jack Wolf of Starlight Stable. "By the time he got back to training, he was just doing super and able to do what we saw today. I would think that as long as we don’t screw it up, this horse has a future as a very good sprinter."

Sent from his rail post in the 6 1/2-furlong event by regular rider John Velazquez, Keyed Entry grabbed the lead and led the field through fast and even fractions of :22 1/5 and :44 2/5 before getting a bit of a break on the turn. Keyed Entry, carrying 113 pounds, drew away from the pressing Kelly's Landing when asked and was not challenged inside the eighth pole, winning by five lengths in a time of 1:15 3/5.

“He had a really good trip," Velazquez said. "All I wanted to do was get him out in the clear and keep him going. He did it pretty easily."

Sir Greeley, the slight 17-10 favorite over Keyed Entry, rallied three wide on the turn for Kent Desormeaux but was no threat to the winner while finishing second by 1 3/4 lengths over Nar, who overcame a stumbling start under Javier Castellano. High Finance was a neck out of third and Kelly's Landing, toting high weight of 119 pounds, trailed.

Keyed Entry won the first three starts of his career, including the 7 1/2-furlong Hutcheson on a sloppy Gulfstream track one year ago. He followed that with a second in Aqueduct's Gotham (gr. III) before running third in the Wood on a wet track. Keyed Entry ran last of 20 in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) before going to the sidelines following a last-place finish in Belmont Park's Dwyer (gr. II) July 4. Overall, he has a 4-1-1 record in eight starts and earnings of $310,000.

Oakbrook Farm bred Keyed Entry, a $145,000 Fasig-Tipton buy in in July 2004, in Kentucky.

The winner paid $5.80, $3.40 and $2.80. Sir Greeley, second in the one-mile Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream one month ago, returned $2.80 and $2.40. Nar, trained by Nick Zito for Four Roses Thoroughbreds, was $2.80 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)

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