‘One Step At A Time’: Derby Hopeful Keepmeinmind Heads To Oaklawn, Will Aim For Southwest Stakes

Keepmeinmind, among the country’s leading 2-year-olds, is scheduled to arrive at Oaklawn between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day to begin preparations for a 2021 campaign, the colt’s trainer, Robertino Diodoro, said Saturday morning.

Diodoro said Keepmeinmind has been in light training at WinStar Farm in Kentucky since breaking his maiden in the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs. The trainer said he hasn’t mapped out an early 2021 race schedule for Keepmeinmind, but he likely isn’t a candidate for the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 22, a one-mile opening-day event that is Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races.

“Probably too short for him, especially with the mile here,” Diodoro said. “It’s a short lane and stuff.”

Oaklawn’s mile races begin and end at the sixteenth pole in the stretch. Diodoro said Keepmeinmind will be considered for the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 15 at Oaklawn. The late-running son of Laoban has raced four times this year (all routes), 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 his breakthrough victory as the 2-1 favorite. His last three starts have been at 1 1/16 miles.

Diodoro said Keepmeinmind is jogging at WinStar in advance of shipping to Oaklawn. Keepmeinmind has already banked 18 points to rank second on the early Kentucky Derby leaderboard, and the goal, Diodoro said, is a return to Churchill Downs this spring for the first leg of the Triple Crown. The colt also ran second at Churchill Downs in his Sept. 2 career debut.

“Just one step at a time,” Diodoro said. “It’s easier said than done, keeping these horses happy and healthy. It’s the same with all horses, but, obviously, our long-term plan is, hopefully, live the dream of being at Churchill in May. But that’s a ways out. I won’t say anything. Let the horse tell us. We’re not going to force anything. He came back really good out of his race and is doing well at WinStar, so we’ll just play it by ear.”

David Cohen, Oaklawn’s leading jockey in 2019, has ridden Keepmeinmind three times, including his victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club.

Silver Prospector won the 2019 Kentucky Jockey Club before finishing fourth in the Smarty Jones – his 3-year-old debut – and capturing the Southwest.

Diodoro said Dreamer’s Disease, who finished sixth in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is scheduled to arrive at Oaklawn in early January. Dreamer’s Disease, also by Laoban, closed his 2-year-old campaign with a seventh-place finish as the heavy favorite in the $250,000 New York Stallion Series Stakes Dec. 6 at Aqueduct after stumbling badly at the start.

Diodoro, who has never had a Triple Crown starter, already has horses training at Oaklawn.

The post ‘One Step At A Time’: Derby Hopeful Keepmeinmind Heads To Oaklawn, Will Aim For Southwest Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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