Keep Up surges to win the G3 River City H.
Keep Up held off 4-5 favorite Boisterous in the $115,700 River City H. (G3) on closing day of the Churchill Downs Fall meet to give Unbridled's Song his fourth graded stakes winner of 2012. Unbridled's Song has seven stakes winners overall for the year, with $5.3 million in progeny earnings.
The River City was Keep Up’s first try against stakes company after winning his last two starts, including an allowance/optional- claiming event over the Churchill Downs turf course just nine days ago.
Keep Up was unhurried for the first six furlongs, sitting tenth in the field of 12. Entering the turn for home, he trailed the leader by some nine lengths, but began to advance from the outside and swung out eight-wide with a ferocious late run. Closing extremely fast, he ran by Boisterous in the final fifty yards to win by a half-length in 1:48.05 on the “firm” turf.
“He was far back, but it was a pretty solid pace and he was traveling nice,” said winning rider Miguel Mena. “When I rode him in the mile race (on Nov. 16), he was pretty far back, too, and I didn’t want to rush him off his feet. I rode him with patience and from the quarter pole he flew home.”
Keep Up, owned and co-bred by John and Alice Chandler’s Mill Ridge Farm, the regally-bred 5-year-old is out of 1998 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Keeper Hill. In an interesting twist, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey III, who conditioned the runner-up, is the co-breeder of Keep Up.
Keep Up banked $66,713 while improving his record to 11-5-1-4 and earnings of $213,623.
The victory was the first official stakes win for 63-year-old trainer Alex Clarkson, who spoke about the quick nine-day turn-around for Keep Up. “There was a lot of concern before and I was cautious and I wasn’t too confident, but he was doing great. We had him nominated to this race just in case the prep (on Nov. 16) didn’t go and he came out of the race so well and Miguel emphasized that he never hit him.
“He’s a well-bred horse and he’s fully developed now. He’s sound and he’s lightly raced. It’s an advantage for us now going forward.”