BARN NOTES: ‘Training’ trainers, jockey rankings and other Keeneland notes

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Keeneland) – Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet runs through Saturday, Oct. 24 with racing Wednesdays through Sundays. Post time for the first race each day is 1:05 p.m. ET.


With their superior intelligence, Thoroughbreds are as capable of training their people as much as their people train them. Such is the case with Godolphin’s homebred Micheline, who is entered in Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana.

The 3-year-old filly by Bernardini out of 2007 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) winner Panty Raid convinced her connections early on that she requires special accommodations to lessen her claustrophobia, and she has thanked them by earning $445,978 with four wins, including the Sept. 10 Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs.

Micheline and her companion horse, Colonel, arrived at Keeneland early Thursday morning from trainer Mike Stidham’s base at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland with some unusual baggage: a portable stall. The housing of four wood-lined farm gates and fitted gray tarp for a ceiling soon was assembled outside the Stidham barn, and Micheline took up residence inside with Colonel in the main barn.

“Whenever she ships to another track, that stall goes with her,” Stidham said.

During her early training in Florida, Micheline was so claustrophobic that she was turned out in a paddock instead of residing in a stall. Before she relocated to Fair Hill, an outdoor stall was built.

“She lived there for the summer and then last winter when we went to Tampa Bay Downs, Godolphin bought her a portable stall so she could live just outside the barn,” Stidham said.

While Micheline’s situation is unusual, horsemen routinely conjure up clever methods to manage racehorses’ individual behaviors. Some horses relax with a goat, small pony or donkey as a companion. Others enjoy a window in the stall between themselves and their next-door neighbor. Inquisitive types like to see plenty of activity, while introverts are more comfortable in a quiet section of the barn.

Micheline has excelled with her special treatment. Third in her career debut last year, she next won the Sorority at Monmouth Park. She opened 2020 with a runner-up effort in the Feb. 1 Sweetest Chant (G3) at Gulfstream Park, and she won Gulfstream’s Honey Ryder on May 2. Overall, she has a 4-1-1 record from 11 starts.

“She has been at Fair Hill since her last race and has been training well,” Stidham said. “We are happy that we were invited to the Queen Elizabeth II.”

Florent Geroux will ride Micheline in Saturday’s race. Stidham and Geroux won the 2015 QE II with Her Emmynency.


Trainer Brad Cox’s arsenal for the 37th Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held at Keeneland Nov. 6-7 grew by one Wednesday with the emphatic victory by Aunt Pearl (IRE) in the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2).

Cox said the undefeated Aunt Pearl, who shattered a 21-year-old stakes record in her front-running 2½-length victory, was scheduled to rejoin his main string at Churchill Downs today.

Owned by the partnership of Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Peter Deutsch, Michael Kisber and The Elkstone Group, Aunt Pearl earned a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 6.

Also under consideration for the Juvenile Fillies Turf for Cox is Kueber Racing’s Emro. Undefeated in two starts, Emro won the Untapable Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 15.

Aunt Pearl’s victory gave Cox his second Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race winner of the meet to go with Godolphin’s Essential Quality, who earned a spot in the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

The ace in Cox’s Breeders’ Cup deck is 2018 Eclipse Award winner Monomoy Girl. Owned by the partnership of Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables, Monomoy Girl will be seeking her second victory in the $2 million Distaff (G1), a race she won at Churchill Downs in 2018.

Other probable Breeders’ Cup runners for the Louisville native are Donegal Racing and Newtown Anner Stud’s Abarta (Juvenile Turf-G1), who was second in Sunday’s Bourbon (G2) here; Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go (Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile-G1), who came off a 7½-month layoff to set a track record for a 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 4; and Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger and Peter Coneway’s Arklow (Turf-G1).

Cox has indicated that Slam Dunk Racing and Medallion Racing’s Beau Recall (IRE), runner-up in Saturday’s First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare, is under consideration to face males in the $2 million FanDuel Mile (G1) Presented by PDJF.


Oct. 8 is Make-A-Wish Day at Keeneland, one of the most rewarding days of every Fall Meet. This is the 13th year that Keeneland, along with these local Thoroughbred farms and organizations, are creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses: Airdrie Stud, Ashford Stud, The Frizzy Foundation/Flaxman Holdings, Gainesway, Godolphin, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Lane’s End Farm, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Spendthrift Farm and TVG.

While Keeneland cannot host this year’s Make-A-Wish on the grounds for a VIP day at the races for the Wish Kids, they and their families will be feeling extra-special today. Keeneland Kids Club mascot Buckles is delivering gift bags to the 10 Wish Kids.

Meanwhile, the race-day telecast will feature the Wish Kids and pay tribute to the late John Greely, beloved horseman, founder of Wintergreen Stallion Station and the driving force behind Make-A-Wish Day at Keeneland.

Keeneland will make a $10,000 donation to Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and challenge a match from the public. In addition, notecards created by the Wish Kids are being sold at Keeneland Mercantile in downtown Lexington through the Fall Meet.

In the past 12 years, Make-A-Wish Day at Keeneland has created 118 wishes.

For information about this year’s Wish Kids, including how to donate, click here, visit or call 859 619-5475.


Trainer Mark Casse said that Spanish Loveaffair, second to Aunt Pearl (IRE) in Wednesday’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2), returned to Churchill Downs with plans to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2). Spanish Loveaffair is owned by the partnership of Michael Hernon, Gary Barber and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.


$150,000 Sycamore (G3) (Entries taken Saturday; race Thursday, Oct. 15): Eons (trained by Arnaud Delacour), He’s No Lemon (Graham Motion), North Dakota (Shug McGaughey), Postulation (Michael Matz), Red Knight (Bill Mott), Surprise Twist (Delacour), Ziyad (GB) (Motion). Possible: Split the Wickets (Tom Van Berg).

$150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) (Entries taken Sunday; race Friday, Oct. 16) – Outburst (GB) (Eddie Kenneally), Princess Grace (Mike Stidham), Stunning Sky (Mike Maker), Walk In Marrakesh (IRE) (Ignacio Correas IV), Witez (Ian Wilkes).

$200,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday, Oct. 14; race Saturday, Oct. 17) – Center Aisle (Chad Brown), Fair Maiden (Eoin Harty), Finite (Steve Asmussen), Four Graces (Ian Wilkes), Grand Cru Classe (Bill Mott), Reagan’s Edge (Cherie DeVaux), Sconsin (Greg Foley), Secondary Market (Brown), Secret Keeper (Cliff Sise), Tonalist’s Shape (Saffie Joseph Jr.). Possible: Impeccable Style (Brendan Walsh).

$125,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) (Entries taken Thursday, Oct. 15; race Sunday, Oct. 18) – Always Shopping (Todd Pletcher), Hungry Kitten (Shug McGaughey), Over Thinking (Vicki Oliver), Positive Spirit (Mike Stidham), Quiet Dignity (Mike Maker), Siberian Iris (IRE) (Richard Mandella).


Through Oct. 7 (4 days of 17-day season)

Jockey   Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Luis Saez   22 9 3 3 $1,182,436
Tyler Gaffalione   28 6 4 6 $400,242
Joel Rosario   22 4 3 0 $599,194
Florent Geroux   13 3 4 3 $343,796
Joe Talamo   24 3 1 5 $615,699

Trainer Starts Wins 2nd 3rd Purses
Brad Cox 13 4 4 2 $618,883
Steve Asmussen 18 2 4 2 $205,156
Chad Brown 13 2 2 3 $580,600
Tom Amoss 8 2 2 1 $119,586
Todd Pletcher 6 2 2 0 $390,590
Mike Maker 10 2 1 3 $94,716
Rusty Arnold 8 2 0 1 $147,167
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