On another so-cold-you-can-see-your-breath morning at Keeneland, David Fawkes was holding the shank on one of his runners at the east end of the Keeneland stakes barn.
“I haven't raced here in three years since Sheer Drama won the Madison (G1),” Fawkes said Tuesday morning. “The morning after was like this and (jockey) Joe (Bravo) was her hot walker.”
Fawkes has returned with two horses, headlined by Sandra New's Louder Than Bombs, who figures to be one of the favorites in Friday's 31st running of the $150,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) going 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
“He is a high energy horse and full of life,” said Fawkes of the Violence colt, who was purchased at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $37,000. “We had a choice of the (Cutler Bay) stakes last Saturday at Gulfstream or here. He needs them to back up, and I thought there was a better chance of that here.”
Third in the Palm Beach (G3) in his most recent start, Louder Than Bombs figures to stay in Kentucky after Friday's race.
“We have two targets,” Fawkes said. “After this race, he will either stay here or go over to Churchill Downs for the ($400,000) American Turf (G2) on Derby Day (May 4).”
Rain is in the forecast for Friday, and Louder Than Bombs might encounter conditions he has not faced.
“I think he needs a little give in the ground and he has never had that,” Fawkes said.
Bloom Racing Stable's Henley's Joy is the favorite in the well-balanced field of 11 runners entered Tuesday for the Transylvania.
Trained by Mike Maker, Henley's Joy has compiled a 6-3-2-0 mark on the grass. In his lone Keeneland appearance, he finished second beaten a nose in last fall's Dixiana Bourbon (G3).
Tyler Gaffalione has the mount on Henley's Joy, who will break from post position 10.
The field for the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania, with riders and weights, from the rail out is: The Black Album (FR) (Jose Ortiz, 120 pounds), Onthewaytonevrland(IRE) (John Velazquez, 118), Go Away (Feargal Lynch, 118), Avie's Flatter (Javier Castellano, 120), Weekly Call (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Dunph (Julien Leparoux, 118), Louder Than Bombs (Saez, 120), War Film (Florent Geroux, 118), Hawaiian Noises (Rafael Bejarano, 118), Henley's Joy (Gaffalione, 120) and LifeMission (James Graham, 118).
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