By Rick Francis —-
Keeneland Race Course kicks off its 2017 spring meet in Graded Stakes fashion as a field of nine 3-year-olds takes to the turf in the running of the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes; let’s have a look at the starters.
Race 9) 1ˆ Mile. (Turf) Transylvania S. Presented by Keeneland Select PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT. Grade III. Purse $150,000 FOR THREE YEAR OLDS. Post Time: ( 5:30)/ 4:30/ 3:30/ 2:30
Profiteer 1), McGaughey/Velasquez, J; War Front colt missed by a neck last out at Tampa, the same margin he won with in his two previous starts; Shug will have him ready.
Makarios 2), Zito/Juarez; in breaking his maiden last out at Gulfstream, this son of Giant’s Causeway posted the field’s highest speed figure. Trainer Nick Zito, not having one of his best starts, has been working him regularly since that February effort, but a “bounce” could be at hand.
Big Score 3), Yakteen/Castellano; Mr. Big colt makes his 2017 debut after finishing mid-pack last November in the BC Juvenile Turf; connections looking to regain his winning form he exhibited at Santa Anita and Del Mar go to one of the best in Javier Castellano for the ride.
Oscar Performance 4), Lynch/Ortiz, J; ridgling out of Kitten’s Joy also makes his first start of the year with his last a near gate-to-wire win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He’s rested and ready, posting five March work outs and will be the one to beat.
Ticonderoga 5), Brown/Rosario; after getting out kicked and finishing fifth in the Juve Turf last November, Tapit colt opened his sophomore season with a hard closing victory in the G3 Palm Beach at Gulfstream; Chad Brown starters thrive in these spots.
Sonic Boom 6), Wilkes/Leparoux; by More Than Ready, this colt exits a game score battling to win the Columbia Stakes at Tampa. There’s a strong work tab on view and with the steady hand of jock Julien Leparoux, look for this one running late.
Dahog 7), Rice/Cox; Keeneland has always been a place that if they load, they got a chance, but I’m having a hard time seeing that with this son of Daaher.
Cowboy Culture 8), Cox/Geroux; after opening his career with three straight wins at Fair Grounds and Churchill, Quality Road colt struggled in his first graded test, a never threatening effort in the Palm Beach. Conditioner Brad Cox, fresh off an outstanding Fair Grounds meet, stays with the best turf rider in the country, Florent Geroux; a value play.
Holiday Stone 9), Weaver/Saez; Trainer Rusty Weaver has had this Harlan’s Holiday colt ready to fire each time out; post should keep him out of early trouble which will have this guy closing late.
Selections: 4, 5, 8, 9