BARN NOTES: Cox, Maker top trainers so far at Keeneland



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Keeneland) – Grupo Seven C Stable’s Jesus’ Team, third in the Preakness (G1) in his most recent start, has set up shop at Keeneland to prepare for a run in the $1 million Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1) on Nov. 7.

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“He came in early to get to know the track and acclimate,” trainer Jose D’Angelo said via text from his base at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida, where he has 17 horses. “He is going to breeze on the 24th and 31st and I will arrive the 22nd.”

Jesus’ Team, who was third in the Jim Dandy (G2) and fourth in the Haskell Invitational (G1) prior to his Preakness run, would represent the first Breeders’ Cup starter for D’Angelo, a 30-year-old native of Venezuela who began training in 2012 in his native country.

D’Angelo made the move to the U.S. in 2019 and won his first race here with his third starter in June 2019.


Multiple Grade 1 winner Bellafina, runner-up to Covfefe in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) last year at Santa Anita, might be getting ready to return to the work tab here for the World Championships Nov. 6-7.

“She stayed in Kentucky and went to (Ashford Stud) for two weeks after her last race (a sixth-place finish at Churchill Downs in the Derby City Distaff-G1 on Sept. 5),” said Carlos Santamaria, assistant to trainer Simon Callaghan. “Our horses get a break after tough races and it didn’t make any sense to go back to California.”

Owned by Kaleem Shah, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Bellafina has been at Keeneland with stablemate Lighthouse in trainer Jack Sisterson’s barn with both scheduled to return to California after the Breeders’ Cup. Owned by LNJ Foxwoods’ Lighthouse won the Music City at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 15.

“Bellafina has been galloping and getting used to the track and she may work this weekend,” Santamaria said.

Santamaria said Callaghan plans to have two other runners in addition to Bellafina for the Breeders’ Cup. They are Alice Bamford and Michael Tabor’s Harvest Moon, winner of the Zenyatta (G2), for the Distaff (G1) and the undefeated Madone, owned by Kaleem Shah, for the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).

Those runners are scheduled to arrive Breeders’ Cup week.


Alex Solis might have retired from riding in 2017, but he did not retire his helmet.

Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2014, Solis is spending his time for now in Lexington and in the mornings can be found at Keeneland galloping horses for trainer Wesley Ward.

“My oldest son, Alex II, just took a job with Gainesway (as Director of Bloodstock) and my middle son, Andrew, lives here, so I am just following them and keeping up with the grandkids,” said Solis, 56. “I like to stay active and keep fit, and Wesley asked me to help out galloping horses.”

The helmet that Solis estimates he has had for 10-15 years has been back on active duty for the past couple of weeks.

“He galloped for me earlier in the year and then went back to California,” Ward said. “I told him if he wanted to help out like (veteran jockey) Julio (Garcia) that would be fine.”

And how is that new, yet experienced, hand working out?

“Unbelievable,” Ward said.


Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach talked to trainer Cherie DeVaux about Reagan’s Edge, her entrant in Saturday’s Lexus Raven Run (G2). …

Trinity Farm’s Red Knight, winner of Thursday’s Sycamore (G3) in stakes-record time, returned to Churchill Downs after the race and was doing well Friday morning, according to Kenny McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott.

Among the second- and third-place finishers in the Sycamore, Runnymoore Racing’s runner-up Postulation is scheduled to leave Keeneland this afternoon for a return trip to Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland where trainer Michael Matz is headquartered.

“I thought that he gave all he had and he really likes Keeneland,” Matz said via text about the 8-year-old, who was second here in July in the TVG Elkhorn (G2) and third in the Sycamore last year.

Wertheimer and Frere’s Ziyad (GB) came out of his third-place finish fine, according to Alice Clapham, assistant to trainer Graham Motion. “He will go back to Fair Hill Monday or Tuesday and Graham will make a plan for him,” Clapham said.


Through Oct. 15 (10 days of 17-day season)

Jockey   Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Tyler Gaffalione   70 13 11 11 $801,176
Florent Geroux   45 9 8 8 $748,818
Luis Saez   22 9 3 3 $1,182,436
Javier Castellano   19 5 4 5 $418,893
Joe Talamo   49 5 2 7 $707,134
Gerardo Corrales   20 5 1 3 $127,752

Trainer Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Brad Cox 22 8 6 2 $800,833
Mike Maker 32 8 3 4 $333,447
Steve Asmussen 40 6 7 5 $396,612
Chad Brown 26 4 5 5 $711,150
Robertino Diodoro 13 4 3 3 $213,920


Owner Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
M and M Racing (Mike Sisk) 5 3 1 0 $75,040
Gary Barber 2 2 0 0 $132,000
Doubledown Stables (Richard Templer) 4 2 1 0 $60,080
Godolphin (Mohammed Al Maktoum et al) 9 2 1 1 $300,240
Susan and Jim Hill 9 2 1 0 $76,081
Steve McCanne 2 2 0 0 $28,800
Three Diamonds Farm (Kirk Wycoff) 5 2 1 2 $87,300
Gary and Mary West 12 2 2 2 $98,267