Modern Games has started three times in North America. He has notched a Grade 1 win in each of those starts.
The champion turf runner aims for a fourth such victory in as many starts Friday at Keeneland.
Modern Games is the 3-5 morning-line favorite for the Grade 1, $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes. Post time is 5:16 p.m. EDT, with FanDuel TV showing the eight-furlong turf event for 4-and-up runners.
The Maker’s Mark Mile drew a field of eight, including other Grade 1 winners Speaking Scout (15-1) and In Love (30-1). The latter’s top-level score came over this same course in the 2021 Keeneland Turf Mile (G1).
Modern Games makes his 4-year-old debut in this spot. Jockey William Buick, trainer Charlie Appleby and owner-breeder Godolphin team up with the Dubawi colt.
In his most recent effort, Modern Games won the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 5 at Keeneland. The 7-5 favorite rallied from eighth in a field of 14, scoring by 3/4 of a length over 2022 Maker’s Mark Mile hero Shirl’s Speight.
Modern Games’s other North American starts were wins in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar and the 2022 Woodbine Mile Stakes (G1). He also won a Group 1 stakes last year at Longchamp.
Emmanuel (4-1) climbs to Grade 1 company for trainer Todd Pletcher off back-to-back Grade 3 wins in Florida. He took the Tampa Bay Stakes in February, then scored in the Canadian Turf Stakes on March 4 at Gulfstream Park.
Friday marks the North American stakes debut of Dr Zempf (6-1), who has joined trainer Chad Brown’s barn. A Group 3 victor in Ireland, his first U.S. start came against allowance foes March 10 at Gulfstream.
Up to the Mark (10-1) is a second Pletcher entry in the Maker’s Mark Mile field. He has never raced in stakes company but has won two straight allowance races, the last of which was March 4 at Gulfstream.
Pletcher has won this event twice, with American Patriot (2017) and Jack Milton (2015). Brown and Speaking Scout trainer Graham Motion have one Maker’s Mark Mile win apiece, coming with Raging Bull (2021) and Miss Temple City (2016), respectively.
Here is a look at the field for the 2023 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (trainers and jockeys in parentheses) with morning-line odds:
1. Speaking Scout (Graham Motion, Luis Saez), 15-1
2. Up to the Mark (Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz Jr.), 10-1
3. Chez Pierre (Arnaud Delacour, Flavien Prat), 12-1
4. Emmanuel (Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano), 4-1
5. Dr Zempf (Chad Brown, Tyler Gaffalione), 6-1
6. In Love (Paulo Lobo, Vincent Cheminaud), 30-1
7. Modern Games (Charlie Appleby, William Buick), 3-5
8. Cabo Spirit (George Papaprodromou, Umberto Rispoli), 20-1
TimeformUS pace projections show long shot Chez Pierre going out front Friday under jockey Flavien Prat in a race that could favor a runner on or near the early lead. Modern Games is projected to be closer to the front than he was in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Other Friday stakes
Here is a look at the other stakes race on Friday’s Keeneland card, which can also be seen on FanDuel TV.
4:12 p.m. – $250,000 Limestone Stakes, 3-year-old fillies, 5 1/2 furlongs (turf)