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Morpheus Works for U.S. Debut

Morpheus, a 4-year-old half-brother to British superstar Frankel, worked a half-mile in :46.20 on Sunday morning as he continues training for his North American debut. The son of Oasis Dream (GB) is a homebred racing for Khaled Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms and is trained by Racing Hall of Famer Bill Mott.

“We’re trying to make a plan for him at the moment,” said Garrett O’Rourke, manager of Juddmonte’s U.S. operation. “Obviously, he’s a very well-bred horse and there’s been a lot of scrutiny on him because of his pedigree. Last year he ran some nice races. The horse has some talent, and we thought we’d bring him over here to see if running on the firmer tracks might make a difference to him.”

Morpheus, who began his career in England and won three races in eight starts, was sent to Mott around last Christmas. The colt was scratched from Thursday’s eighth race because of a minor cut on a hock, O’Rourke said, and is likely to race at Keeneland in an upcoming 1 1/16-mile race on the Polytrack.

“There’s no rush with him,” O’Rourke said. “I hope he gets to the graded stakes level, and we have some fun with him this year.”

Frankel, considered one of the finest horses to race in Britain in recent years, at 6 is in his first season at stud at Abdullah’s Banstead Manor Farm in Newmarket, England.

Another Juddmonte runner, Emollient, arrived at Keeneland about 6 a.m. today and is being pointed to Friday’s Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3). Last year, she won the Central Bank Ashland (G1) during the Spring Meet and the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) in October.

Juddmonte’s Group 2 winner Romantica (GB), runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), also is at Keeneland, where the Bewitch (G3) on April 24 is her next target.

“It’s a distance grass race to get her started,” O’Rourke said about the 5-year-old Galileo (IRE) mare who is out of European and North American champion Banks Hill (GB). “We’ll see what direction we go in after that. We’ve got a lot of talent in the barn this year with grass fillies, and we’ve got to find spots for Emollient. She might even take on the colts.”

 

THIRD-WEEK STAKES TAKING SHAPE

A trio of Grade 3 winners is considered as probable entrants for Saturday’s 33rd running of the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, according to Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Scott Jones.

The Coolmore Lexington, which offers 17 points (10-4-2-1) toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), is expected to attract the likes of Ivan Dalos’ Ami’s Holiday, winner of the Grey (G3); Phipps Stable’s Mr Speaker, winner of the Dania Beach (G3); and Susan Moulton’s Solitary Ranger, winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3).

Other probable starters include Divine Oath, Dynamic Impact and Ride Away. Entries for the race will be taken Wednesday.

Also scheduled for Saturday are the 84th running of the $150,000 Ben Ali (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track and the 18th running of the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway for fillies and mares going 5 ½ furlongs on the turf.

Probables for the Ben Ali are Farhaan, Frac Daddy, Hattaash, Joha, Nikki’s Sandcastle, Red Rifle and Stealcase.

Probables for the Giant’s Causeway are Ageless, Allwewantforxmas, Believe in Charlie, Free as a Bird, Point to the Wild, Queen’s Award, Saturday Nthe Park, Sweet Cassiopeia and To My Valentine (FR).

Friday’s feature will be the 20th running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares on the main track.

Among the names expected in the entry box Tuesday is Juddmonte Farms’ Emollient, winner of last year’s Central Bank Ashland (G1) and Juddmonte Spinster (G1). Other probables are Gold Medal Dancer, Moment In Dixie, Sisterhood, Solid Appeal and Strathnaver (GB).

 

 

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