It has been awhile since jockey Steve Bahen rode at Keeneland, but
Friday morning he was aboard the reason for coming back to Kentucky
after driving here from Toronto.
“I have not been here for more than 20 years,” said Bahen, after dismounting from Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) hopeful Nipissing for trainer Rachel Halden. “I won a stakes (the inaugural running of the Rood & Riddle Dowager in 1992) on Green Noble.”
Bahen has been aboard the undefeated Nipissing for all four of her starts.
“Her first five-eighths work really impressed me and she showed a lot
of talent,” said Bahen, who is based at Woodbine. “The first stakes she
won (the Princess Elizabeth Stakes), a horse passed her and she beared
down and went after her. She wants to do it.”
Nipissing closed her 2012 campaign with a four-length victory in the
South Ocean Stakes at Woodbine, going off at odds of .15 to the dollar.
“Now that was pressure,” Halden said with a laugh. “She was 1-to-9 on the board.”
Nipissing, a homebred owned by Chiefswood Stables, will not be 1-9
Saturday against a full field of fillies racing over Keeneland’s
Polytrack, a surface she raced exclusively on last year at Woodbine.
“She really liked it out there this morning,” Bahen said. “She gets
over the Polytrack better compared to when she was in Florida (at Payson
Park). Her stride is much better.”
Nipissing will break from post position two, a spot Bahen does not believe will be an issue.
“She is very tactical and she will wait until you call on her,” Bahen
said. “We just need to have a good trip and have some luck.”