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Walsh-Trained First World War Back for Transylvania

Elsewhere, Booth aims for his third win in four starts in the Lafayette Stakes.

First World War wins the Kitten's Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park

First World War wins the Kitten's Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park

Coglianese Photos/Ryan Thompson

First World War, last seen winning the Kitten's Joy Stakes (G3T), returns April 5 in the Transylvania Stakes (G3T) at Keeneland. The $400,000 race is 1 1/16 miles and features a field of 12 3-year-olds.

"He's been doing well. We just backed off a little bit after the Kitten's Joy just to freshen him up for the spring," said trainer Brendan Walsh. "He's been working away on the grass down at Palm Meadows and all went well. We worked him on the turf at Keeneland on Saturday; he worked really nice. He's going into (the Transylvania) in pretty good shape."

Walsh is happy with the draw, which will have the son of War Front  break from post 6.

Bred by Skyfall Thoroughbreds and owned by Qatar Racing and Hunter Valley Farm, the dark brown colt has finished first or second in all but one of his five career starts (2-2-0), with a fourth in last year's Bourbon Stakes (G2T). The two seconds—an allowance optional claimer and the Mucho Macho Man Stakes—were a change for First World War as they were dirt races.

But the Transylvania, like the Kitten's Joy, is on the more familiar turf.

"He seems like he runs well all the time. So you know, hopefully we get a good trip on Friday. I'm sure he'll be right there if he does," said Walsh.

Making his North American debut is Musical Act. The Godolphin homebred is trained by Charlie Appleby and is coming off a two-race stint in Dubai. Most recently, the Dark Angel gelding ran second in the Jumeirah Classic at Meydan Racecourse. 

Stepping into graded company is Guy Named Joe. The son of American Pharoah  has six top-three finishes since a fifth on debut. He broke his maiden to cap his 2-year-old campaign and has been rounding into form since. 

Also worth watching are Lord Bullington and Full Nelson

Entries: Transylvania S. Presented by Keeneland Select (G3T)

Keeneland, Friday, April 5, 2024, Race 8

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $400,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:44 PM (local)
11Oscar's World (KY)Luis Saez118Brian A. Lynch12/1
22Guy Named Joe (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuan Machado118Doug F. O'Neill5/1
33Lagynos (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCristian A. Torres118Steven M. Asmussen20/1
44Neat (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateReylu Gutierrez118Rob Atras10/1
55Tennessee (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz118Brad H. Cox15/1
66First World War (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Gaffalione118Brendan P. Walsh4/1
77Lord Bullingdon (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez118Michael W. McCarthy8/1
88Musical Act (IRE)Lanfranco Dettori118Charles Appleby9/2
99Depiction (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario118Cherie DeVaux15/1
1010Can Group (KY)Flavien Prat120Mark E. Casse12/1
1111Full Nelson (KY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.118Jose Francisco D'Angelo8/1
1212Cugino (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano118Claude R. McGaughey III10/1
1313Royal Majesty (GB)Junior Alvarado118William I. Mott10/1
1414Camaro Z (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.118Gregory D. Foley12/1

Lafayette Stakes

Earlier in the card is the $400,000 Lafayette Stakes, a seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds on dirt.

Favored is Booth. The Kentucky-bred son of Mitole  was purchased by Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt and Jackpot Farms for $225,000 out of the Wavertree Stables consignment at the Ocala Breeders' March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. Now with Whispering Oaks Farm as part of the ownership team, Booth aims for his third win in four starts.

He broke his maiden in dynamic fashion, leading almost from start to finish, winding up more than five lengths ahead of Nash last October. He came back to run a distant fifth to Just Steel in the Ed Brown Stakes. Booth returned to action in a Feb. 11 allowance optional claimer showing the form from his maiden, winning by 4 1/4 lengths.

Joining Booth is Doncho, an undefeated son of Mo Town . Having won both of his starts by at least 4 1/2 lengths, Doncho has shown a knack for running near the front. The question he has yet to have the opportunity to answer is how he responds if he falls behind the likes of Booth, Scatify, and Iowa-bred Glengarry, who all like to set the pace early.

All but one of the runners in the Lafayette have never run a seven-furlong race. The lone exception is Baytown Chatterbox, who is 1-for-3 at the distance. 

Entries: Lafayette S.

Keeneland, Friday, April 5, 2024, Race 6

  • STK
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $400,000
  • 3 yo
  • 3:40 PM (local)
11Frosty Indulgence (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAdam Beschizza118Christopher Davis20/1
22Scatify (KY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.118John W. Sadler7/2
33Doncho (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCristian A. Torres118Michelle Lovell5/2
44Baytown Chatterbox (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAlbin Jimenez118Paul McEntee50/1
55Booth (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario118Steven M. Asmussen9/5
66Glengarry (IA)Luis Saez118Doug L. Anderson8/1
77Who Dey (OH)John McKee118Thomas Drury, Jr.6/1
88Bolt At Midnight (KY)Luan Machado118Robert Medina12/1