It’s opening day at Keeneland today and you’ll have plenty of ways to watch. As we’ve mentioned several times, NBC/Versus will start their Keeneland coverage today at 5pm on Versus and use the same time slot on Saturday and Sunday. Don’t have Versus? Here are a few online options: DRF will offer free live video of every Keeneland race and Thoroughbred Times has just partnered with TwinSpires to bring you free live racing (and you can watch more than just Keeneland!). If you miss the live races, Keeneland makes decent use of their YouTube channel, although their replays are only the stretch-runs, but they do include post-race interviews. There’s always the extensive replay library at Blood-Horse as well.
But Keeneland isn’t the only thing returning, it’s the time of the year when horses injured earlier in the year start to come back. We’ve already seen The Factor make a triumphant return in the Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar. He’ll race again this weekend in the Grade 1 Ancient Title at Santa Anita as a final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. And who could forget Awesome Feather’s comeback earlier in the week? Several other notable horses make a return this weekend in two races; one at Belmont Park and one Santa Anita.
Saturday’s first race at Belmont includes Boys at Tosconova, Tapizar and Uptowncharlybrown. That’s more of a “brand name” match-up than many stakes races! Uptowncharlybrown was last out in the 2010 Belmont Stakes (replay) where he finished fifth but was disqualified. He scratched out of the 2010 Haskell with a fever and few details have been available since (update: check out this profile by Derek Brown, it fills in a lot of detail!). Boys at Tosconova was last out in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (replay) where he ran second to Uncle Mo. He was taken out of training in February of this year with no specific issue and has slowly made his way back. Tapizar was last out in the 2011 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (replay) at Santa Anita in February and came out of the race with a bone chip that required surgery. While all of the connections were hoping for an easy spot to bring their horses back, it didn’t exactly work out that way.
Today in the 6th at Santa Anita, there’s also a comeback party of sorts. Riveting Reason, who came in second in the 2011 Robert B. Lewis (replay) is also making his first start since the Lewis. He was taken off the Derby trail in mid-March with a hoof injury. Jakesam, who ran second in the 2011 California Derby (replay) and 2011 El Camino Real Derby (replay) makes his first start since an allowance in late May. And Take Control, the son of Azeri (horse profile), who’s been out since December was entered but scratched with a fever. The 2004 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland was Azeri’s final win, the 2011 Spinster Stakes is being run this Saturday… and you have plenty of opportunities to view it!
At Santa Anita Riveting Reason came in 6th and Jakesam came in 8th.
At Belmont it was Tapizar, Uptowncharlybrown and Boys at Tosconova finishing 1-2-3.