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Speech, winner of last summer's Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland, will kick off her 2021 campaign Friday when she headlines a field of seven fillies and mares for the 26th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Baird Doubledogdare Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The Baird Doubledogdare will go as the ninth race on Friday's 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. post time. This year's renewal marks the 10th running of the race as sponsored by Baird (formerly Hilliard Lyons).
Race 9 at Keeneland on Friday, April 16 - Post 5:30 PM
|1||Royal Flag||5-2||Joel Rosario
|2||High Regard||20-1||Rafael Bejarano
|3||Graceful Princess||12-1||Luis Saez
|4||Eres Tu||4-1||Tyler Gaffalione
|5||Bonny South||3-1||Florent Geroux
Trained by Michael McCarthy, Speech closed her 2020 campaign by finishing sixth behind eventual champion Gamine in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) here. Javier Castellano will be aboard Friday and break from post six.
Also making her 2021 debut Friday is Juddmonte Farms' Bonny South.
Trained by Brad Cox, Bonny South won the Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) before finishing fourth behind Speech in the Central Bank Ashland. She closed the year with three consecutive runner-up finishes, including the Alabama (G1) and the Falls City (G2) against older horses.
Florent Geroux has the mount and will break from post five.
Two years ago at this time, Beverly Anderson and Edward Seltzer's homebred Eres Tu was on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail following a winter campaign at Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Asmussen.
The trail ended in New Orleans.
"They did the right thing and gave her plenty of time, and I get the benefit," said trainer Arnaud Delacour, who welcomed Eres Tu in his barn at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland last summer after the filly had been away from the races for more than a year.
"She is a big filly and needed time to mature," Delacour continued. "She was fit when she came to us at Fair Hill from the farm in Florida. We breezed her once a week, and she took everything in stride."
Eres Tu has won three of four starts since joining Delacour. Her first victory came last fall at Keeneland, where she won an allowance race by 2¼ lengths going 1 1/16 miles, the same distance she will travel Friday in the 26th running of the $100,000 Baird Doubledogdare (G3).
"She was ready to go in September but we decided to wait a couple weeks for the meet here, and she was impressive when she won," Delacour said.
Eres Tu followed the Keeneland victory with stakes triumphs in Maryland in the Thirty Eight Go Go and Allaire duPont (G3). She was second in the Royal Delta (G3) at Gulfstream in February in her most recent start.
"I had hoped this race would come lighter with the ($500,000) La Troienne (G1) coming up in a couple weeks (at Churchill Downs)," Delacour said of the Baird Doubledogdare Stakes, which also attracted the likes of 2020 Central Bank Ashland (G1) winner Speech and Grade 2 winner Bonny South. "The timing is perfect for her. This race, then the duPont (on May 14) and a race (after) that and maybe the ($400,000) Delaware Handicap (G2 on July 10)."
Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard for the first time Friday at Keeneland Race Course.
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