Early favorites Classic Empire and Always Dreaming lead sales graduates
LEXINGTON, KY (May 3, 2017) – Champion and Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Classic Empire, Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming and Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass (G2) winner Irap lead the 13 graduates of Keeneland’s 2015 September Yearling Sale entered today in Saturday’s 143rd running of the $2,395,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) at Churchill Downs. Classic Empire and Always Dreaming were installed as the favorite and second choice in the morning-line odds for the 1¼-mile race for 3-year-olds. Approximate post time is 6:46 p.m. ET.
Keeneland sale graduates have accounted for 20 Kentucky Derby wins and in the remaining Triple Crown competition have won 22 runnings of the Preakness (G1) and 19 runnings of the Belmont (G1). Last year, sales graduates swept the Triple Crown with Nyquist (Derby), Exaggerator (Preakness) and Creator (Belmont).
The Keeneland sales graduates entered in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, limited to 20 horses, are:
Always Dreaming (Bodemeister-Above Perfection) – Santa Rosa Partners bred the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) winner, consigned to the September Sale by Dromoland Farm, agent. Steven W. Young, agent, paid $350,000 for the colt, who races for Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Racing Stables et al. He is trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by John Velazquez.
Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile-Sambuca Classica) – John C. Oxley owns the Arkansas Derby (G1) winner, who earned the 2016 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old colt when he won the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), Keeneland’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Bashford Manor (G3). Oxley purchased Classic Empire for $475,000 at the September Sale from the consignment of Warrendale Sales, agent. Mark Casse trains the colt, bred by Steven Nicholson and Brandi Nicholson. He will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Fast and Accurate (Hansen-It’s Heidi’s Dance) – Penn Sales, agent, offered the Jack Cincinnati Casino Spiral (G3) winner at the September Sale. Kendall Hansen, Skychai Racing and Bode Miller own the colt, trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Channing Hill. He was bred by John R. Penn.
Girvin (Tale of Ekati-Catch the Moon) – Legacy Bloodstock, agent, offered the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) and Risen Star (G2) winner at the September Sale. Joe Sharp trains Girvin, bred by Bob Austin and John Witte, for owner Brad Grady. Mike Smith will ride.
Gormley (Malibu Moon-Race to Urga) – Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate bred the Santa Anita Derby (G1), FrontRunner (G1) and Sham (G3) winner. Paramount Sales, agent, consigned the colt to the September Sale, where he was a $150,000 RNA to sale purchase by owners Jerry and Ann Moss. Gormley is trained by John Shirreffs and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.
Gunnevera (Dialed In-Unbridled Rage) – Antonio Sano, agent, paid $16,000 for the winner of the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (G2), Saratoga Special (G2) and Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) at the September Sale. Gunnevera was consigned by breeders Brandywine Farm and Stephen Upchurch. Sano trains the colt for Peacock Racing Stables. Javier Castellano will ride.
Irap (Tiznow-Silken Cat) – Aaron and Marie Jones bred the Toyota Blue Grass winner. Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned the colt to the September Sale, where he was a $100,000 RNA to sale purchase by Grand Oaks. Doug O’Neill trains Irap for owner Reddam Racing. He will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez. The team won the Kentucky Derby last year with Nyquist.
J Boys Echo (Mineshaft-Letgomyecho) – Owner Albaugh Family Stables paid $485,000 for the Gotham (G3) winner consigned by Betz Thoroughbreds, agent, to the September Sale. Bred by Betz/Blackburn/J. Betz/Ramsby/CNHHNK, the colt is trained by Dale Romans and will be ridden by Luis Saez.
Lookin At Lee (Lookin At Lucky-Langara Lass) – Owner L and N Racing purchased the Ellis Park Juvenile winner for $70,000 from the consignment of Penn Sales, agent, at the September Sale. Steve Asmussen trains the colt, bred by Ray Hanson. Corey Lanerie will be aboard.
Practical Joke (Into Mischief-Halo Humor) – Chad Brown trains the colt, who was second in the Toyota Blue Grass and won the 2016 Hopeful (G1) and Champagne (G1) for owners Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. Whispering Oaks bred the colt, a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Vinery Sales, agent, consigned him as a yearling to the 2015 January Horses of All Ages Sale, where he sold to Clear Ridge Stables for $135,000. Gainesway, agent, consigned Practical Joke to the September Sale, where he was purchased for $240,000 by Aquinnah Ventures. He will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Untrapped (Trappe Shot-Exit Three) – The colt, owned by Michael Langford, is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Indian Creek, who bred him in partnership with Jonathan Sheppard, consigned him to the 2015 January Sale, where he sold to Springhouse Farm for $97,000. Paramount Sales, agent, consigned him to the September Sale, where he was purchased by B. L. B. for $150,000. Steve Asmussen trains Untrapped, who will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.
Also-eligible: Royal Mo (Uncle Mo-Royal Irish Lass) – Owners Jerry and Ann Moss purchased the Robert B. Lewis (G3) winner for $300,000 at the September Sale from the consignment of breeder Brandywine Farm. John Shirreffs trains the colt. Gary Stevens was named to ride.
Also-eligible: Master Plan (Twirling Candy-Sage Mist) -- Bred by Ernest C. Frohboese, the colt was consigned by Romans Racing & Sales, agent, to the September Sale and sold to Eisaman Equine for $70,000. Master Plan, trained by Todd Pletcher, races for Al Shaqab Racing, WinStar Farm et al. John Velazquez was named to ride.