Keepmeinmind Gearing Up For 2020 Debut In Southwest Stakes

Keepmeinmind moved closer to his 2020 debut with a half-mile workout late Tuesday morning at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., going in :48.80 just after the first surface renovation break under regular rider David Cohen.

Keepmeinmind was breezing locally for the second time since winning the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs. The track was rated fast after training was delayed 3 ½ hours because of freezing temperatures early Tuesday morning.

The $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn, trainer Robertino Diodoro said Tuesday afternoon, remains a target for Keepmeinmind, who was among the country’s leading 2-year-olds.

“That’s the rough plan,” Diodoro said.

Keepmeinmind’s time ranked fifth among 55 half-mile works published. Clockers caught Keepmeinmind galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 and 6 furlongs in 1:15.60. Diodoro said Keepmeinmind was to breeze alone, but he received some unexpected company in the final quarter-mile of the work from a Chris Hartman trainee who shadowed the late-running son of Laoban on the outside approaching the regular finish line.

“He never did let that horse pass him, even on the gallop out,” said Diodoro, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2020. “Worked good. It was a very strong gallop out. Like I said, the plan was just to work by himself, but he hooked into another horse. That made him probably finish up a little stronger than needed to be. But at the same time, it was good for us.”

Keepmeinmind breezed a half-mile in :50.20 Jan. 6 under Cohen, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2019. The colt arrived Dec. 27 after previously being in light training at WinStar Farm in Kentucky following the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Diodoro said.

The 1 1/16-mile Southwest is Oaklawn’s second of four Kentucky Derby points races. Keepmeinmind raced four times (all routes) last year, finishing second in the $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) Oct. 3 at Keeneland and third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 6 at Keeneland before breaking his maiden as the 2-1 favorite in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes under Cohen.

Keepmeinmind ranks second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 18 points, according to Churchill Downs. Unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Essential Quality has 30 points to top the standings. Essential Quality, the probable 2-year-old male champion, is under consideration for the Southwest, trainer Brad Cox said.

The post Keepmeinmind Gearing Up For 2020 Debut In Southwest Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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