‘Very Consistent’ Keepmeinmind Fires Another Bullet Toward Southwest Stakes

Keepmeinmind is coming into the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn firing bullets. The stakes winner did it again Tuesday morning, completing major preparations for the Southwest with a swift 5-furlong workout under regular rider David Cohen.

Keepmeinmind was timed in :59 – fastest of 17 works published at the distance – and, following a final quarter-mile in a sharp :22.80, galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:11.80, 7 furlongs in 1:25.40 and a mile in 1:40.40, according to the clockers. Keepmeinmind worked over a fast track following the second break to renovate the racing surface.

It marked Keepmeinmind’s fifth published workout this season at Oaklawn and second to receive a bullet designation (fastest of the day at the distance), following a 5-furlong move in 1:00 Jan. 19. A late-running son of Laoban, Keepmeinmind closed his 2-year-old campaign with a last-to-first maiden-breaking victory in the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs.

“Did it the right way again,” said Robertino Diodoro, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2020. “I love that his works have been very consistent. Again, I always say take each day at a time, but his works have been very consistent – consistently good – since he’s been here.”

Diodoro said he plans to come back with an easy half-mile work and a “couple of stiff gallops” next week leading up to the Southwest, Oaklawn’s second of four Kentucky Derby points races.

“I’d like it to be Tuesday,” Diodoro said of the maintenance breeze. “But it could be adjusted by a day or two because it looks like a little bit of (weather).”

The 1 1/16-mile Southwest will offer 17 points (10-4-2-1, respectively) to the top four finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. Post positions will be drawn Feb. 11. Prior to the Kentucky Jockey Club, Keepmeinmind finished 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.

Unbeaten Essential Quality also is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest, trainer Brad Cox said. Essential Quality (3 for 3) was the country’s champion 2-year-old male after winning the Breeders’ Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Essential Quality has been based this winter at Fair Grounds.

Essential Quality (30) and Keepmeinmind (18) rank 1-2 on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard, according to Churchill Downs.

The post ‘Very Consistent’ Keepmeinmind Fires Another Bullet Toward Southwest Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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