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McPeek Seeks Another Fair Grounds Double

31 January 2009: Trainer Ken McPeek at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.

Nine years ago trainer Ken McPeek invaded Fair Grounds twice with double-barreled threats and hit his targets four times for a perfect score unprecedented at the time and unmatched since in Fair Grounds history.


Select Stable’s Repent (trained by McPeek) invaded once to win the 2002 Risen Star as the final prep for the Louisiana Derby and then came back to win that year’s Louisiana Derby. Accompanying that colt both times was Select Stable’s Take Charge Lady, a sophomore filly who took down winning honors in the designed tune-up for the 2002 Fair Grounds Oaks and then returned to win that year’s Fair Grounds Oaks.


“That was nice,” said McPeek earlier this week when asked to recall his unprecedented 2002 double-double. “Now I hope we can do it again.”


A McPeek-trained duo of the colt Rogue Romance, owned by Catesby Clay, as well as the filly Kathmanblu, owned by Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables, arrived Wednesday at Fair Grounds as the respective favorites for Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes and Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes


Prior to their local arrival, McPeek breezed the Risen Star’s 3-1 morning line favorite Rogue Romance in 1:02 flat at Gulfstream Park Feb. 12, while Kathmanblu, 6-5 early choice in the Rachel Alexandra, accomplished the same distance on the same day at Gulfstream in 1:02.20.


“Those were maintenance moves – nothing complicated, very simple,” McPeek said, speaking over the phone from South Florida earlier this week. “I’m every bit as confident in these two horses coming in as I was in Repent and Take Charge Lady nine years ago. We’ll see what happens. I’m looking forward to it.”


Rogue Romance has not started since a third-place finish in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs Nov. 6 after being forced five-wide on the first turn in that test. Kathmanblu has made one start this year, winning the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes over the Gulfstream grass on Jan. 22.


Rogue Romance and Kathmanblu, along with McPeek’s Pan Zareta Stakes contender Beautician, arrived at Fair Grounds without incident Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. All three are stabled in Barn 15. McPeek will arrive in New Orleans Thursday.



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