Keepmeinmind is a maiden no more after launching from dead last and rallying down the middle of the stretch to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Keepmeinmind, who was exiting a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, broke slowest of all in the 1 1/16-miles test and remained at the back of the pack as Smiley Sobotka carved moderate fractions of 24.11, 48.24 and 1:12.81 for three-quarters of a mile. As the field reached the quarter pole, Keepmeinmind had just one horse beaten as Smiley Sobotka smartly cut the corner into the stretch and spurted clear of the field.
However, it wasn't over as 2-1 favorite Keepmeinmind was angled out wide and found his best stride late to reel in the leader and score by three quarters of a length. Trained by Robertino Diodoro and patiently handled by David Cohen, Keepmeinmind completed the trip on a fast track 1:44.52.
“He’s had a lot of rough trips from the start of his career,” said Cohen, who won his first graded stakes race at Churchill Downs. “The slow pace today actually worked out for him; he didn’t seem to mind it at all. We saved ground going into the first turn and got into a nice rhythm. I let him gather himself up around the turn and didn’t want to swing too wide.”
His #KyDerby Future Wager Pool 1 odds currently sit at 26-1.
Get him at a price while you can! pic.twitter.com/QB5kEAtKM6— TwinSpires ?? (@TwinSpires) November 28, 2020
As an official stop on the road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby, Keepmeinmind collects 10 qualifying points to give him 18 in total toward next year's Run for the Roses. Smiley Sobotka held second to earn four points for trainer Dale Romans. He was followed across the wire by Arabian Prince (2) and Swill (1).
This is the first win in the Kentucky Jockey Club for both Diodoro and Cohen.
By Laoban, Keepmeinmind had been winless in three prior starts. After finishing second on debut Sept. 2 at Churchill Downs, he came back to be second in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, both won by de-facto champion 2-year-old Essential Quality.
“He showed his talent today,” said Diodoro, who collected his first graded stakes win in the U.S. since Inside Straight won the 2017 Oaklawn Handicap (G2). “He’s had some tough trips previously and even though he was a maiden, we knew he’d fit with this field. I think he’ll be a horse that’ll run all day.”
Keepmeinmind. who paid $6.00, is owned by Cypress Creek LLC and Arnold Bennewith. Diodoro said the colt would next receive a break for a couple of weeks at WinStar Farm before heading to Oaklawn Park for the winter.