LEXINGTON, KY (Sept. 29, 2012) -- A spectacular menu of nine graded stakes, five of them Grade 1s, figures to whet the appetite of racing fans as Keeneland opens its 17-day Fall Meet with Fall Stars Weekend October 5-7.
For racing secretary Ben Huffman, the fields for those races, seven of which are “Win and You’re In” contests for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on November 2-3, are coming into focus.
Here are the races with probable starters:
Darley Alcibiades (Friday, Grade 1, $400,000 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In): Daar Zayed, Fully Living, Arlington-Washington Lassie (G3) winner Gold Edge, Kitten’s Dumplings, Pure Indy, two-time Calder stakes winner Rose to Gold, Roveing Patrol and Spring in the Air.
Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (Friday, Grade 3, $175,000, 3-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs, Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In): Aikenite, Delaunay and Doctor Chit are probables. Possible starters include Hamiltonian, Lonesome Street, Night Party, Noble’s Promise, Upgrade and Will’s Wildcat.
Shadwell Turf Mile (Saturday, Grade 1, $750,000, 3-year-olds and up, Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In): Corporate Jungle, Data Link, Doubles Partner, Silver Max, Willcox Inn, Worthadd (IRE) and possibly Wise Dan.
Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (Saturday, Grade 1, $400,000, 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In): Charming Kitten, Dynamic Sky, He’s Had Enough, Joha, Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3) winner Pataky Kid, Tizracer and Tree of Life.
First Lady (Saturday, Grade 1, $350,000, 3-year-olds and up fillies and mares, 1 mile on the turf): 2012 Jenny Wiley (G1) winner Daisy Devine and Summer Soiree.H
Thoroughbred Club of America (Saturday, Grade 2, $200,000, 3-year-olds and up fillies and mares, 6 furlongs, Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In): 2012 Vinery Madison (G1) winner Groupie Doll, Mega Dream, Rumor, Sally Sally and Third Chance.
Woodford Stakes presented by Keeneland Select (Saturday, Grade 3, $150,000, 3-year-olds and up, 5 ½ furlongs on the turf): Chamberlain Bridge, Credit Report, Great Attack and Great Mills.
Juddmonte Spinster (Sunday, Grade 1, $500,000, 3-years-old and up fillies and mares, 1 1/8 miles, Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In): 2011 Juddmonte Spinster winner Aruna, Cathy’s Crunches, Karlovy Vary, Kitty in a Tizzy, Tiz Miz Sue and Upperline. Smart Sting is considered as possible.
Bourbon (Sunday, Grade 3, $150,000, 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles on the turf, Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In): I’mboundtoscore and Slamarama.
Wise Dan “110 Percent” After Friday Work
Morton Fink’s Wise Dan, winner of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) in his most recent start on September 16, was doing well Saturday morning after working a best-of-25 half-mile in :47.40 at Keeneland on Friday.
“I just did a little something with him yesterday,” trainer Charlie Lopresti said. “He’s 110 percent. He just does it so easy.”
The victory at Woodbine earned Wise Dan a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to be run November 3 at Santa Anita. The decision on whether Saturday’s $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) will serve as Wise Dan’s final prep for the Breeders’ Cup will come early next week.
“Mr. Fink and I will talk the first of the week, weigh the options and make a plan,” Lopresti said of Wise Dan, who shattered the Keeneland track record for 1 1/8 miles on the main track (1:46.63) with his 10 ½-length victory in the Ben Ali (G3) in April.
“There’s a good chance he’ll run. If he wins, it will be like a workout for the Breeders’ Cup, but if he struggles, then I’ve blown the Breeders’ Cup. Plus, Johnny (jockey John Velazquez) can’t ride because he has a commitment in the Champagne (G1) that day at Belmont. That’s a negative.”
Groupie Doll Tunes up for TCA with Bullet Work at Churchill
Fred Bradley, Buff Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns’ Groupie Doll, winner of the Grade 1 Vinery Madison at Keeneland in April, tuned up for an expected run in next Saturday’s $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) by working a half-mile in :46.20 over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
“She went really well,” trainer Buff Bradley said of the work that was the fastest of 63 at the distance and nearly three seconds faster than the next quickest clocking. “She went a little faster than I wanted; I wanted :48, but three horses broke off behind her and she got engaged early. But John (rider John McKee) said she was in hand all the way.”
The Thoroughbred Club of America at six furlongs is a “Win and You’re In” race for the seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) scheduled for November 2 at Santa Anita.
Since winning the Vinery Madison by three lengths, Groupie Doll took the Humana Distaff (G1) by 7¼ lengths on Derby Day at Churchill Downs and three weeks ago won the Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) by 3¾ lengths. Rajiv Maragh, who has been aboard for those three wins, will have the riding assignment in the TCA.
“She has held her weight and not backed up at all,” Bradley said. “We will go easy with her next week and bring her over Saturday.”
Some works of note on a warm Saturday morning at Keeneland included Stephanie’s Kitten, winner of the 2011 Darley Alcibiades (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2), covering six furlongs in company in 1:14. … Doctor Chit, a candidate for Friday’s Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3) and a daylight maiden winner here in the spring, worked a half-mile in :47.40. … Donegal Racing, which won last fall’s Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and the 2012 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) with Dullahan, has two nominees for next Saturday’s Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity in Craving Carats and Roman’s Avenue. The duo made the trip to Keeneland from their base at Churchill Downs and worked five furlongs together with Craving Carats timed in :59.80 and Roman’s Avenue in 1:00.40.
The extended forecast for Fall Stars Weekend definitely offers a taste of fall with highs expected to be in the low to mid 60s. Rain is forecast for Monday and Tuesday with little precipitation expected for the weekend. Friday: High 62, Low 44, 20% chance of rain; Saturday: High 63, Low 45, 0% chance of rain; Sunday: High 65, Low 47, 0% percent chance of rain.