In a very typical first race of the annual spring meet at Keeneland, they opened with a maiden special weight event going 4 1/2 furlongs for two-year-olds. An outstanding duel between Wetzel (Bridgmohan/Asmussen) and Weekend Wildcat (V.Lebron/L.Demerritte) came down to the wire.
After out-pacing the favorite in the race, the two horses were neck and neck through the entire home stretch. Wetzel snuck back ahead by a nose in the final yards of the race. One of the most anticipated meets in the country could not have opened any better than it did on Friday afternoon. Great weather, great national coverage from TVG, and the top horses have all made it Lexington this spring.
With the $400,000 Grade 1 - Central Bank Ashland Stakes set to highlight an opening weekend of very good racing, Saturday is full of nice maiden races and some very good allowance races in addition to the stakes race. It will be like that for the majority of the meet.
Today's card was a good preview of what's to come in spring 2010 from Keeneland. The meet will likely be highlighted by the Kentucky Derby prep, the $750,000 Grade 1 - Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on April 10th.
Today, in the first graded stakes race of the meet, Nordic Truce took down the $100,000 Grade III Transylvania Stakes. The Christophe Clement trained colt went off as the even money favorite, and won relatively easily under confident handler Julien Leparoux.
Also a good sign for horse lovers, 24,734 patrons showed up for opening day at the spring meet according to Keeneland.com. It is a record for attendance for the spring meet that lasted 32 years. It has been consistently voted one of the top tracks in the country to visit every year as well.