Catapult, Converge top Keeneland meet-opening Transylvania

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

April 4th, 2016

Six months after being a successful and well-received host of the Breeders' Cup, Keeneland welcomes back racing to the Bluegrass on Friday for its ever-popular Spring Meet, a 16-day stand that runs through April 29.

The meet centerpiece will again be the $1 million Blue Grass (G1) for three-year-olds on Saturday. The nine-furlong Blue Grass highlights a stakes-laden program that will include a vintage renewal of the Ashland (G3) for three-year-old fillies, the Madison (G1) for older filly and mare sprinters, and two other graded stakes.

Other Grade 1 highlights of the meet are two turf events, the Maker's 46 Mile (G1) on April 14 and the Jenny Wiley (G1) for fillies and mares the following day.

Nine three-year-olds were entered for the opening day feature, the $100,000 Transylvania (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Vying for favoritism will be the Chad Brown-trained Catapult, a sharp debut winner at Belmont last fall. The son of Kitten's Joy came home fast to notch that one-mile maiden on the Widener turf in 1:34 2/5.

The form of that maiden has been flattered by runner-up Giant's Run, subsequently a close second to Converge in the Palm Beach (G3) and a recent winner of the $75,000 Cutler Bay, both at Gulfstream.

Converge came from near the back to prevail in the February 27 Palm Beach as the favorite. Also trained by Brown, the New York-bred had won a state-bred maiden first out and finished second in the $100,000 Awad at Belmont in a brief juvenile campaign.

Also exiting the Palm Beach are J R's Holiday, fourth after taking the $100,000 Kitten's Joy in January, and Urban Bourbon, who was up the track despite a decent third in the Dania Beach (G3) in his previous outing.

Others likely to attract play are Inspector Lynley, a maiden winner at Gulfstream in his fourth start for Shug McGaughey; Shakhimat, blowout winner of the Coronation Futurity on Woodbine's Polytrack when last seen in November; and One Mean Man, who traded decisions with last weekend's Spiral (G3) hero Oscar Nominated in a pair of Fair Grounds grass stakes over the winter.

(Converge photo: Adam Coglianese Photography)