Race of the Week 2017

Daddys Lil Darling being pointed to Keeneland's QEII

Daddys Lil Darling_Dueling Ground Oaks 2017_615x400
Photo: Reed Palmer/Kentucky Downs

Trainer Kenny McPeek watched Kentucky Oaks runner-up Daddys Lil Darling set a course record (2:10.97 for 1 5/16 miles) in taking Sunday’s $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks on his phone. Then he boarded a plane back to the United States from Korea. 

McPeek was in Seoul to run his horse The Truth Or Else, who finished fourth in the $610,000 Keeneland Sprint. He watched the Kentucky Downs race on his phone’s Horse Races Now app that he developed, immediately thereafter boarding his flight.

“The app worked perfectly,” he said, saying of Daddys Lil Darling, “It was hard not to be thrilled with her. She was dominate. It was a good spot for her. She’d just been wrestling bigger bears, and that’s no disgrace. She needed a confidence booster, and I think this proved she does like the grass.”

Next stop: Keeneland’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies on grass. “I think it’s pretty obvious, the good next step,” McPeek said. “She came out of the race really well. It certainly proves she fits, but we didn’t have any doubt that she did. She’s a good filly, pretty special.

“The next race will be a challenge. But that’s been our goal, to get a Grade 1.”

As far as running a horse in Korea, McPeek said, “It was interesting. It was not a very complicated ordeal like people might think. The shipping company arrangements were perfect. We basically trained in quarantine on the racetrack. We had to go out between 4 a.m. and 4:50 every day. The scenario is basically American: a mile and an eighth race track, sand, left-handed. The grandstand is very similar to a U.S. racetrack. The accommodations were fantastic. They rolled out the red carpet. We had a wonderful gala dinner the night before the race. They had arms wide open. It was very impressive. I encourage American and international horsemen to go. They’ve made big forward movement in their racing.”

Source: Kentucky Downs


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