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0000017c-9d77-d6fa-a57f-ff7726d30000Veteran reporter Samantha Lederman's beat is all things equine - from trail riding to top-level competition and everything in between.Samantha's reports provide a vital window into Lexington's reputation as the "Horse Capital of the World."

Twizz Connections Thrilled For Chance At Stakes Glory

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Samantha Lederman
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When Twizz breaks out the gates for the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday he’ll carry a whole lot of local hope with him. Samantha Lederman caught up with a couple of his owners.

Jim Setzer of Lexington and Kevin Warner from Somerset met on the golf course when they were 16 year olds in high school, and have been friends ever since. They both turned 50 recently within three days of each other, and are now partners in Twizz, a three year old colt that Kevin picked out with trainer Mike Maker at the Ocala Breeder Sales last April.  Warner put his sports management degree to good use to pick out Twizz and one other horse from 200 horses selected out of a thousand in that sale, and should Twizz finish first or second on Saturday, he’ll be headed to the Kentucky Derby.

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Credit Samantha Lederman
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21 year old jockey Mitchell Murill will be aboard Twizz on Saturday

Both Warner and Setzer have lived in Lexington all their lives, and Twizz trains out of Churchill Downs, so both attest that to have a run at their local meet here at Keeneland, in such a prestigious race is something pretty special.  Add to that the fact that Twizz is something of a family horse, owned by brothers and long-time friends that came about almost by accident and you can understand why they’re almost giddy with excitement.

Twizz is a bit of a long shot on Saturday with odds of about 30-1 and was the last horse to get in to the 14 strong field, but Warner and Setzer are delighted to be there, and say any success will be a bonus.

The rest of the horse is owned by Justice racing, a group of retired prison workers and a couple of other partners, although should Twizz cross the line first you may well see many more than the in the winner’s circle.

The Toyota Bluegrass Stakes is scheduled to run at 6pm Saturday at Keeneland. Twizz will break from the number 8 spot, trained by Mike Maker and ridden by 21 year old Mitchell Murill for the first time in the biggest race of his career, but no matter the outcome, Warner says he’ll enjoy the ride.

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