Keane training at Santa Anita Park

Keane training at Santa Anita Park

Zoe Metz

Keane Set for U.S. Debut in Precisionist Stakes

Argentine group 1 winner was initially purchased to run in the Dubai World Cup (G1).

Zedan Racing Stables' Keane came into Doug O'Neill's Southern California stable in December with some lofty expectations.

Privately purchased after a group 1 win Nov. 19 in the El Gran Premio Dardo Rocha at Hipódromo de La Plata in Argentina, the 5-year-old son of Equal Stripes arrived in Southern California with the hopes of running in the Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (G1).

"(Owner) Amr Zedan purchased him on advice from a friend in Argentina, with the hope he would be a Dubai World Cup horse," O'Neill said of Keane, who is scheduled to make his first U.S. Start in the $100,000 Precisionist Stakes (G3) June 24 at Santa Anita Park. "When we got him in December, I thought, 'Maybe the Dubai World Cup in 2018, but not 2017.'

"Just the fact that (Zedan's) consultants advised him to buy him means a lot. Initially it took him a while to get adjusted, but he's starting to show some talent. There was a lot of buzz about him when he first got in, but it took him a while to show it."

Keane won six of his nine starts in his native country, including the Organizacion Sudamericana de Fomento del Pura Sangre de Carrera (G3) in October and the Stud Book Argentino in August. Although his last eight races have been at 1 1/4 miles or longer—he broke his maiden in his debut at seven furlongs in August of 2015—O'Neill said Keane has given indications during morning training that he has enough speed to be competitive at the Precisionist's 1 1/16-mile distance.

"We really don't know about the distance," O'Neill said. "He worked recently with enough speed that a mile and a sixteenth should be just fine. He's not slow by any means."

Keane is one of two O'Neill entrants in the Precisionist's five-horse field, along with Reddam Racing's Donworth, who last started in the Charles Town Classic (G2) in April of 2016, when he ran third. Surgery to remove bone chips in one of his knees was the reason for the son of Tiznow 's extended layoff.

"We'll see how they handle it coming off a layoff—how many cobwebs need to be blown away," O'Neill said.

The two O'Neill trainees will have to take on another power-stable duo in Bob Baffert-trained Collected and Cat Burglar.

Speedway Stable's Collected, likely the significant favorite in the race, has impressively won his two races in 2017—3 3/4-length victories in the Santana Mile and Californian Stakes (G2). Michael Lund Petersen's 7-year-old Cat Burglar has been racing in graded stakes since 2014, but has yet to break through at the level. He won his 2017 debut, a 6 1/2-furlong optional-claiming allowance at Santa Anita March 31.

BALAN: Collected Impresses Again in Californian

Rounding out the field is Hronis Racing's Accelerate, who has not won since the Sept. 24 Los Alamitos Derby (G2), but has placed in quality competition in every race since. The John Sadler-trained Lookin At Lucky  colt ran third in the Las Vegas Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), second in the San Pasqual (G2), third in the San Antonio (G2), and second in a optional-claiming allowance against multiple graded stakes winner Danzing Candy.

Entries: Precisionist S. (G3)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, June 24, 2017, Race 6

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 3:34 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Donworth (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMario Gutierrez122Doug F. O'Neill6/1
22Keane (ARG)Tiago Josue Pereira124Doug F. O'Neill8/1
33Accelerate (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Baze124John W. Sadler5/2
44Collected (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMartin Garcia126Bob Baffert4/5
55Cat Burglar (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano122Bob Baffert9/2