LAUREL, MD. 01-20-12---Eighttofasttocatch and Red’s Round Table, who combined to win seven stakes races for trainer Tim Keefe last year, will make their 2012 debuts Saturday afternoon.
Eighttofasttocatch is the second choice on the morning line in the $75,000 Evening Attire Stakes at Aqueduct. Keefe put three solid works into his now 6-year-old since a wire-to-wire score in the Jennings Handicap at Laurel Park on December 3. Sheldon Russell will make the trip to ride.
“He is in very good form and has been awesome in training,” Keefe said. “Dutrow’s horse (I Want Revenge) looks tough and drawing the one-hole wasn’t what we were hoping for but fortunately Sheldon knows him well. We have been trying to get him to relax but if he breaks sharp and is the only one there he will set the early pace and hopefully it will be slow enough to have a lot left.”
Keefe is planning to use the race as a prep for the $200,000 General George Handicap (G2) at Laurel Park on Monday, February 20. The son of Not For Love won five races at Laurel Park in 2011, including four stakes races, with an average Beyer Speed figure of 100.
“He has run his best races at Laurel but he has run some good races out of town, too,” added Keefe. “He ran fourth in both the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland against an incredibly tough horse in Wise Dan where with a little racing luck we could have been second and the West Virginia Governor’s Handicap where he was beaten just a length.”
Red’s Round Table, who won three stakes races during her 3-year-old campaign, is the 7-5 morning line choice in a $41,000 allowance race at Laurel Park. The daughter of Cuvee is 3-of-4 lifetime at Laurel, including victories in the Marshua and Wide Country Stakes. With Russell in New York to ride Eighttofasttocatch, Mario Pino picks up the mount.
“She cracked an ankle after winning the Wide Country but has two races under her belt since returning,” added Keefe. “It looks like she has come back just as strong, if not better than when she was injured. Tomorrow’s race is not easy. Magical Feeling won five of seven last year and Howard Wolfendale has a stakes winner in Bold Affair.”
The 44-year-old conditioner enjoyed a career-year in 2011, setting career-highs in wins (43) and earnings ($975,712). He has five victories from 19 starters so far this year.
“Fifty wins and a million dollars is this year’s goal,” said Keefe, who won his first race in 1994. “As the years have gone by I have gotten some higher profile owners which has increased the quality of horses in the barn. I also have great help. They are wonderful.”
Keefe will saddle Red’s Round Table at Laurel (post time 3:12 Eastern) then watch Eighttofasttocatch via simulcast (3:37 Eastern post).