to Riches beats Curlin in the Test of Champions. Zarkava wins the
Arc. Rachel Alexandra wins the Preakness, Haskell, and Woodward.
Vodka wins the Japan Cup. Zenyatta comes within inches of two
consecutive Breeders' Cup Classics. Goldikova takes home three
straight BC Miles. The list of fantastic females beating the boys
goes on, and now Saturday at Churchill Downs, Keertana will attempt
to turn the trick in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap. OK, so maybe
this would not be as epic as the feats of the aforementioned greats,
but still a win by the Tom Proctor trained mare would make history by
becoming the first female ever to win the 1 ½ mile test in the 74th
edition of the turf race.
is confident in Keertana's ability to compete against the boys, and
is using the great mare in France as inspiration.
“There’s a pretty
good mare that’s won the last few Breeders’ Cup Mile races
(Goldikova),” Proctor said. “If a mare is good enough then she
can beat the boys. I could have shipped her and not run against the
males, but I wanted to run her where I’m based; here at Churchill
She may not be quite
the class of Goldikova, but Keertana, a 5-year-old daughter of Johar
has proven to be of high quality. Listed #3 on my latest rankings of
American female turf horses, Keertana was last seen on the Churchill
Downs' turf course in November. That day she made a strong rally to
fall just a half-length short in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare
Turf. Since then she has backed up that form by winning 3 of 4 races
this year, including a score in last month's Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes
at Keeneland in her last start.
up to challenge the mare in the Louisville Handicap will be a cast of
nine male rivals, including the nine-year-old German import,
Musketier. Trained by Roger Attfield, he will be ridden by recent
Preakness winning jockey Jesus Castanon, and is also coming off a
score at Keeneland, as he won his second straight running of the
Elkhorn Handicap at the 12 furlong distance. Musketier is the 122
pound highweight and is listed as the 9-5 morning line favorite,
compared to his female rival who gets in at 117 and is listed at 2-1,
under rider Jose Lezcano. Another major contender for the top prize
Saturday should be Guys Reward, a four-year-old colt from the Dale
Romans barn. The Louisville will be the son of Grand Reward's first
try at the distance, but he has a good record over the Churchill
Downs' turf course and is coming off an impressive allowance win on
the Kentucky Oaks Day card.
knows beating the boys will not be easy. “It’s
definitely a tough race,” Proctor said. “But she’s fit and
she’s ready to ready to go.” He should know about pulling off a
big win at Churchill, as the trainer of One Dreamer who shocked the
world with a win in the 1994 Breeders' Cup Distaff. The trainer of
many good turf horses over the years, Proctor may be primed to have
one of his best ever years, with the likes of Banned, Snow Top
Mountain, and of course, Keertana. And make no mistake, Keertana is a
21 races on the grass, Keertana has never run a dull race. She fires
every time, can handle any distance and any condition of turf course.
She's all class, and in the Louisville, I expect nothing less than a
trip to the winner's circle. Good luck boys, you're going to need it!