Some in Tieme wins the Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs

Some in Tieme wins the Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs

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Some in Tieme, Hardest Core Seek Sycamore Score

Turf marathon features top-level winners, horses on the rise.

When the $100,000 Sycamore Stakes (G3T) goes off as the eighth race on the Oct. 19 card at Keeneland, there will be a meeting of the old versus the new.

Two top-level winners are signed on in Andrew Bentley Stables' Hardest Core, who seeks his first win since capturing the Arlington Million XXXII Stakes (G1T) in 2014, and Some in Tieme (owned by Some in Time, Inc.), who took two group 1 races in Brazil and makes his first start since a three-length romp in the Louisville Handicap (G3T) in May at Churchill Downs.

Last year's Sycamore winner, Merriebelle Stable's Renown, shares headlining status though he is winless since May.

The question will be if those three still have their top form and whether they can handle rising turf horses such as Union Rags Racing's 3-year-old Big Bend, Chiefswood Stables' 3-year-old Final Copy, and Guy Pariente's 4-year-old Canessar, among others.

Ken McPeek, who trains Some in Tieme, said the 5-year-old son of 2005 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T) winner Shirocco is in good shape after taking a five-month absence from racing due to a minor setback. He has been training steadily since August at Keeneland.

"This is a really special horse," McPeek said. "He's trained real forward. He certainly relishes a mile and a half."

Hardest Core finished sixth in an optional-claiming allowance over the turf last month at Woodbine. That was his first start since a second in the Singspiel Stakes (G3T) in July of 2016. Trained by Edward Graham, the 7-year-old gelding has raced just four times since finishing last in the 2014 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T). 

Canessar made his first foray into the country an impressive one, when he made up more than 10 lengths to win the Laurel Turf Cup Stakes Sept. 16. Trained by France native Arnaud Delacour, the French gelding owns six wins from 11 starts.

"I liked him ever since he came to us in early August," Delacour said. "He's been no problem. He's settled into the American system very well. He has breezed every week. I think it's a pretty competitive field. It will be a tough task."

Renown will seek to defend his crown in the race, which he won by a nose last year. In his latest effort, he opened up a large lead while setting the pace in the Laurel Turf Cup and faded to third.

Big Bend has the look of a "now" horse with two straight wins, including a last-out score in the Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby for trainer Tom Proctor. His front-running style could be compromised by several other speedy types in the race. 

Final Copy figures to save ground breaking from the rail. Trained by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield, he closed from far back to be fourth in the Sept. 30 Commonwealth Derby presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance and the Virginia HBPA (G3T). He missed by a nose in the Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine before that, and won the July 23 Toronto Cup there.

Derby Dan Farm Racing's Manitoulin enters off an optional-claiming allowance win at Belmont Park for trainer James Toner. The 4-year-old Awesome Again  gelding was fourth in the Arlington Handicap (G3T) in July and scored an allowance victory over the Keeneland turf in April.

Sierra Farm's Nessy can't be discounted after running seventh by 3 3/4 lengths in the Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes (G3) last month at Kentucky Downs. The 4-year-old gelding trained by Ian Wilkes, was just a neck behind the sixth-place finisher Bullards Alley, who returned to capture the Pattison Canadian International Stakes (G1T) Oct. 15 in dominating fashion.

Entries: Sycamore S. (G3T)

Keeneland, Thursday, October 19, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/2m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 4:57 PM (local)
11Final Copy (ON)Corey J. Lanerie118Roger L. Attfield12/1
22Some in Tieme (BRZ)Robby Albarado123Kenneth G. McPeek9/2
33Canessar (FR)Feargal Lynch121Arnaud Delacour3/1
44Tasit (PA)Julien R. Leparoux121Michael R. Matz12/1
55Tobias (KY)Sophie Doyle121Rafael A. Fernandez50/1
66Renown (GB)Christopher P. DeCarlo121Elizabeth Voss5/1
77Majestic Pride (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAlex L. Canchari121McLean Robertson30/1
88Hardest Core (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEmma-Jayne Wilson121Edward L. Graham12/1
99Infinite Wisdom (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateChanning Hill121Brian A. Lynch4/1
1010Flashy Chelsey (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz121Michael J. Maker20/1
1111Big Bend (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke118Thomas F. Proctor20/1
1212Nessy (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.121Ian R. Wilkes12/1
1313Manitoulin (KY)Florent Geroux121James J. Toner8/1