Kellyn Gorder - Anne M. Eberhardt
By Claire Novak
Trainer Kellyn Gorder got the Autumn meet off to a good start on Friday, Oct. 3, when he took the first race of the season with WinStar's Race Day and brought back grade II winner Bourbon Courage to take the sixth for Bourbon Lane Stable.
"It was nice to get a couple wins for some of my biggest clients, and to get Bourbon Courage back to the winner's circle," Gorder said. "It had been a long time for him, so that was very rewarding."
Bourbon Courage, a 5-year-old by Lion Heart, was last seen winning the Super Derby (gr. II) on Sept. 9 of 2012. He returned to victory in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance and won by a widening 3 1/4 lengths. Although it had been more than two years since his last score, the hard-knocking runner has placed in graded stakes such as the Donn Handicap (gr. I), Clark Handicap (gr. I), New Orleans Handicap (gr. I), and Indiana Derby (gr. I). He will now target the Nov. 29 Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct Racecourse.
Bourbon Courage - Hodges Photography / Lynn Roberts
"He's getting close to the million dollar mark (in graded earnings)," Gorder said. "He's a little spoiled. He definitely knows he's the king of the barn."
Gorder, a native of Worthington, Minn., bases his string in Kentucky. But his impact stretched across the pond and back last weekend, when trainer Olly Stevens sent Peace and War to win the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) at Keeneland. Stevens, who took out his training license in his native England last season and operates Robins Farm Racing there with the backing of Sheikh Fahad al Thani, spent five years with Gorder before going out on his own. Following her Alcibiades win, Peace and War is bound for the Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
"To have Olly back in the barn and to see him win the big race really made for a great start to the meet and an exciting weekend," Gorder said.
Team Gorder has Reality, Announcement, and Playful Love entered for Oct. 8, with Bourbon Sense and Tiger Bourbon in on Oct. 9 and Kilted entered for Oct. 10.
The connections of Peace and War after the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) - Anne M. Eberhardt Photo
Apprentice Jack Gilligan will make his Keeneland debut Oct. 9, named on Bull
Dance for trainer Pavel Matejka in the third, Griffins Magic for Emilie Fojan
in the fourth, and Goodtime Wilson for Glenn Brookfield in the fifth.
The son of a trainer based at Newmarket, 18-year-old Gilligan started riding horses at the age of 5.
"I always wanted to be a jockey," said Gilligan, who apprenticed with Sir Mark Prescott, riding four winners from 26 mounts. "I had a chance to come over to the North American Racing Academy for a week and fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to come back when I finished my schooling."
Gilligan made the move here in August and has notched three victories from his 20 mounts.
"I think the racing here is more challenging because you have to be exact with the pace of the race," Gilligan said. "In England it is not so much about speed in the race as it is the positioning. Here it is a lot more different and I am enjoying the challenge. It has been a good experience.
"I am getting used to getting out of the gate quick."
On the worktab Oct. 8 was Fox Hill Farms' Cassatt, winner of the Monmouth Oaks (gr. III), who went a half-mile in :47.80 over a good track after the renovation break. Trained by Larry Jones, the 3-year-old Tapit filly is nominated to the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (gr. II) to be contested Oct. 18.
Cassatt - Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Wes Welker's Undrafted, winner of Belmont Park's Jaipur Invitational (gr. IIIT), worked five furlongs on the main track in 1:00.40. Trained by Wesley Ward, Undrafted is being pointed to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
Don't forget College Scholarship Day is Friday, Oct. 10, when admission is free with a college ID. Full-time students can register in the North Terrace to win one of ten $1,000 scholarships and prizes from local vendors after each of the day's races. The first 2,000 students to register will receive a Keeneland College Scholarship Day T-shirt courtesy of Kennedy's Wildcat Den or a Vineyard Vines hat.