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Can Live In The Dream Repeat UK Shocker in Woodford?

A tough field of 12 comes from as far off as England and California to go just 5 1/2 furlongs over the Keeneland turf Oct. 7 in the Woodford Stakes (G2T).

It’s the usual Keeneland handicapping puzzle as 10 of the dozen posted top-three finishes in their last races and four come from graded stakes at the various points of the compass.

The longest-traveled, and one of the most interesting prospects, is Live In The Dream . The 4-year-old gelding, by Prince of Lir , was putting together a nice, if modest, little career for owners Steve and Jolene De’Lemos until trainer Adam West ambitiously slotted Live In The Dream in the Aug. 25 Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) at York in the north of England, one of top events on the European sprint calendar.

Live In The Dream responded with an all-the-way victory for West and jockey Sean Kirrane, both rank novices at the top levels of British racing. Racing Post quoted the trainer about his thoughts during the race: “I’m going to swallow my chewing gum! I was waiting for them to come to him and he just found a little bit more. It was amazing.”

Solid as it is, the field Live In The Dream faces in the Woodford doesn’t have the chops the Nunthorpe did, as the likes of top-shelf group 1 winners Highfield Princess  and Bradsell  finished behind him that day.

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The Woodford does have two trained by Wesley Ward, always a danger at Keeneland and doubly so in turf sprints. His charge Golden Pal   won the race in both 2021 and 2022, following the 2021 win with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

Kaufymaker , a 4-year-old Jimmy Creed   filly, finished third for Ward and owner Gregory Kaufman in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2T), missed most of 2022, and has been climbing back slowly in three starts this season. Ward also saddles Eye Witness , who had three straight wins before finishing third with a rough trip in the Mahoney Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 13.

West Coast turf kingpin Phil D’Amato sends Beer Can Man  to contest the Woodford. The 5-year-old son of Can the Man  was last seen at Keeneland April 22, finishing fifth in an allowance in his first start after being gelded. He won the listed $100,000 Turf Sprint at Pimlico in May and got home third in the Green Flash Handicap (G3T) at Del Mar in his last start Sept. 2.

Bad Beat Brian  and Olympic Runner  enter after settling for third and fourth in a blanket finish in the $1 million Ainsworth Turf Sprint (G2T) at Kentucky Downs. Coppola  and Kavod  return on short rest after taking first and third in a Churchill Downs allowance Sept. 20.

Entries: Woodford S. Presented by FanDuel (G2T)

Keeneland, Saturday, October 07, 2023, Race 6

  • Grade IIT
  • 5 1/2f
  • Turf
  • $350,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 3:40 PM (local)

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