FALL STARS WEEKEND OPENS KEENELAND’S 2012 FALL MEET
Racing is the star as Keeneland kicks off its 2012 fall race meet with Fall Stars Weekend, highlighted by nine graded stakes worth more than $3 million. Seven Fall Stars stakes are Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in which the winners automatically qualify for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held November 2-3 at Santa Anita Park.
Keeneland features racing on Wednesday through Sunday with the final day of the fall season on Saturday, October 27. Gates open at 11 a.m. each day; post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m. (ET).
The Shadwell Turf Mile, which carries purse money of $750,000, is one of six Grade 1 stakes at Keeneland this fall, joining the Darley Alcibiades, Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity, First Lady, Juddmonte Spinster and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.
Fans can follow all the racing action via free live streaming at Keeneland’s newly redesigned website, www.keeneland.com, and on TVG Network, which offered expanded daily coverage of the fall meet.
Handicappers will find plenty of action to challenge their skills during the fall season. Keeneland will introduce $1 win, place and show bets in addition to its 50-cent Pick Three, 50-cent Pick Four, 50-cent Pick Five, 50-cent Trifecta and 10-cent Superfecta.
Other wagering opportunities available this fall are the Friday Pick 4 presented by TVG, with a guaranteed pool of $200,000, offered on the first three Fridays of the meet, and the $250,000 All Stakes Pick 4 presented by TVG, on Saturday, October 6, which challenges patrons to handicap the day’s biggest races.
Keeneland fans can turn to several resources for help with handicapping and wagering questions, expert selections and statistical information.
Jeremy Plonk and Joe Kristufek will once again host live chats on Keeneland.com each race day, giving selections and answering questions. Keeneland.com also offers a wealth of free handicapping information that will appeal to novice and experienced fans alike. Fans on Twitter can get real-time selections with @keenelandracing.
Keeneland’s Wagering Central, located on the first floor of the grandstand, has been expanded this fall to serve as a wagering information and social media hub. Wagering Central staff can answer basic betting questions, provide free daily selections and register fans for Keeneland’s FastBet card or a Keeneland Select account. A new social media display will feature the @keenelandracing Twitter feed and Instagram photos submitted by fans.
Keeneland Fans Stay Connected through Social Media
Fans can follow Keeneland on Facebook at www.facebook.com/keeneland and on Twitter @keeneland for news about special events at the track and @keenelandracing for the latest racing updates, using the #fallstars hashtag.
Keeneland will also offer a Keeneland #fallstars Instagram Contest. To enter, simply take a photo that you feel embodies the essence of Keeneland, post to your public Instagram account and tag with #fallstars to enter.
Fans can nominate a “Fall Star” – someone whose love of Keeneland runs deep – as “Fan of the Week” at http://www.keeneland.com/fan-of-the-week. Keeneland will share the weekly winner’s story on Facebook and award him or her with a gift basket. One grand prize winner will be selected to receive a table for four to the 2013 Toyota Blue Grass (G1). The person who nominates a winner also will earn a Keeneland gift.
DARLEY ALCIBIADES CONTENDER GOLD EDGE CATALOGED FOR NOVEMBER SALE
Dolphus Morrison’s undefeated homebred Gold Edge, winner in her most recent start of the Arlington-Washington Lassie (G3) and entered in today’s Darley Alcibiades (G1), will be offered for sale as part of Morrison’s dispersal at Keeneland’s 2012 November Breeding Stock Sale. The sale will be held November 6-16.
The filly is one of 21 horses cataloged in the Morrison dispersal, which includes seven broodmares, six weanlings, four 2-year-olds and four yearlings. Among the yearlings offered is Samantha Nicole, a full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.
Gold Edge, a daughter of Eddington, is perfect in three career starts, having won her maiden by 3½ lengths in her first start in June at Churchill Downs, followed by a win in the Lisa M at Arlington Park in August. She won the Arlington-Washington by a neck over La Song, one of her rivals in the Darley Alcibiades.
Also cataloged in the Morrison dispersal is Gold Spike, dam of Gold Edge, who is in foal to Flashy Bull.
Gainesway will act as agent for the Morrison consignment at the November Sale.
STOLL KEENON OGDEN PHOENIX HAS RICH HISTORY
Today’s eighth race is the 160th running of the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3), the oldest stakes race in the United States. Originally named for the Phoenix Hotel, the race was first run in 1831 at the Kentucky Association track – two entities that once were downtown Lexington landmarks.
The race has been known as the Brennan, Chiles, Phoenix, Association, Phoenix Hotel Stakes and Phoenix Handicap. Last run at the Kentucky Association track in 1890, it was revived at Keeneland during the track’s inaugural spring season of racing in 1937. The race was run during the spring season through 1988.
Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC, one of Keeneland’s largest and most established law firms, became the race’s sponsor in 2011. The sponsorship represents one of Keeneland’s longest associations. In 1937, Judge R.C. Stoll, who co-founded the firm, presented the Phoenix Stakes trophy – a silver plate – to Hal Price Headley after Headley’s Preeminent won the race. Headley also was Keeneland’s first President.
In 1943, Keeneland was classified as a “suburban” plant and requested not to operate because of shortages caused by World War II, specifically gasoline and rubber. Keeneland leased the facilities at Churchill Downs, where streetcars were able to transport fans to and from the track, and conducted its Spring Meets there in 1943-45. The Phoenix was run at Churchill during those years.
Among the horses that have won the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix are Racing Hall of Fame members Devil Diver (1942) and Coaltown (1948). Other standouts include Hill Gail, who won the Phoenix and next won the Kentucky Derby; Moccasin, who won the race in 1967, two years after being recognized as Horse of the Year; and champion Xtra Heat (2002). Wise Dan, the 2010 winner, will race in Saturday’s Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).
FALL HAS BEEN WINNING SEASON FOR McPEEK
Ken McPeek’s career past performances at Keeneland bode well for his success during the 2012 Fall Meet, which opens today for 17 days of racing. After all, he has been the leading trainer for each of the past three Fall Meets. In his career, McPeek has 161 wins here, placing him fourth on the list of the track’s all-time winningest trainers behind D. Wayne Lukas (279), Bill Mott (245) and Rusty Arnold (243).
“We didn’t run that many horses in September, and we kinda waited for here and hope the condition book suits us and the timing is right,” said McPeek, who also was the 2011 Spring Meet’s leading trainer. “We’ve got a lot of horses doing well. Looks like we have a loaded gun, anyway.”
McPeek has seven horses entered today, including Noble’s Promise in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3) and Fully Living in the Darley Alcibiades (G1), a race he has won three times. In 2009, Noble’s Promise won the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and next was third behind Vale of York (IRE) and eventual champion Lookin At Lucky in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Noble’s Promise was fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) the following May. With five wins in 24 career starts, the 5-year-old son of Cuvee has earned $1,112,576, more than any of his rivals in today’s stakes.
McPeek has two starters in the Saturday renewal of the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity, Saratoga Special (G2) runner-up He’s So Fine and Sunday Silence winner Java’s War.
“It’s wide open,” he said about the race, which has an overflow field of 16 horses. “It’ll be interesting to see how either one of my horses handles the Polytrack. But of course a lot of others have the same question.”
McPeek’s other stakes horses during the fall season are Sonofasamurai in the Bourbon presented by Keeneland Select (G3) on Sunday, Tahoe Lake (BRZ) in the Sycamore (G3) on October 18, Volcat in the Pin Oak Valley View (G3) on October 19 and Bizzy Caroline for the Rood & Riddle Dowager on October 21.
“Other than that, I don’t have anything going on,” he said with a grin.
Riding the bulk of the McPeek horses will be David Cohen, who will make his Keeneland debut in today’s first race aboard Eight Shooters. On August 25, Cohen and McPeek teamed up to score a dead-heat victory in the $1 million Travers (G1) at Saratoga with Golden Ticket.
WORTHADD SEEKS TO ENHANCE INTERNATIONAL RESUME IN SHADWELL TURF MILE
Worthadd (IRE) did not fare well in his North American debut three weeks ago, but he did make a favorable impression on new trainer Brian Lynch with his effort in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1).
“I thought he put in a game effort and hung in quite well,” Lynch said of the 5-year-old Worthadd, who set the pace before finishing seventh, 9¾ lengths behind Wise Dan. “The other horse that contested the pace early (Artic Fern) finished far back (36¼ lengths).”
Owned by Diego Romeo, Worthadd was the champion 3-year-old in Italy for a 2010 campaign that featured victories in the Italian Derby (Group 2) and Italian 2,000 Guineas (Group 3).
In 2011 after starting the year in Italy, Worthadd went to England, where he ran second to the highly regarded Canford Cliffs in the Group 1 JLT Lockinge Stakes. The son of Dubawi also challenged Goldikova (IRE) twice.
A Group 3 winner this year and an unsuccessful challenger to Frankel, Worthadd headed to Woodbine last month and was turned over to Lynch.
“(Former trainer) Mark Prescott filled me in on him and I watched his races,” Lynch said. “He came out of some tough races and he was well beaten by Frankel, but then a lot of them were.”
Worthadd worked a half-mile in :50 here Tuesday for the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) in which he will be ridden by Luis Contreras, who was aboard in the Woodbine race.
Lynch was not dismayed by the weather forecast that called for rain Friday night into Saturday.
“At Woodbine that day, the course was a little soft,” Lynch said. “I think he’ll like it (if it is less than firm) because I’m sure since he has trained at Newmarket, he has seen his share of soft courses.”
ARUNA COULD JOIN ELITE GROUP OF JUDDMONTE SPINSTER WINNERS
Flaxman Holdings’ Aruna arrived at Keeneland on Wednesday with a shot at history awaiting her in Sunday’s 57th running of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
The Graham Motion trainee will attempt to become the fourth horse to win the race in consecutive years, a feat most recently accomplished in 2002-03 by Take Charge Lady.
“I think she is as good as ever,” said Dave Rock, assistant to Motion who has been with Aruna most of the year at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. “The field this year looks tough with a little more depth than last year.”
Aruna began her 2012 campaign here in April, finishing sixth in a paceless Jenny Wiley (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. A victory in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) and a runner-up finish in the New York (G2), both at Belmont Park, followed before a disastrous run in the Beverly D. at Arlington Park seven weeks ago.
“She stumbled at the start and it was basically game over, especially with those kind,” Rock said of Aruna, who also clipped heels at the quarter pole and finished 10th. “She came out of the race with some little nicks that were superficial, but did not miss any time.”
Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard for last year’s Juddmonte Spinster victory, will have the riding assignment Sunday and break from post position three in the 13-horse field.
Other horses to win the Spinster in consecutive years are Bayakoa (ARG) (1989-90) and Bornastar (1957-58).
FALL STARS WEEKEND SPECIAL EVENTS
Friday, October 5
Friday Pick 4, presented by TVG. Guaranteed pool of $200,000.
Friday Happy Hour. The fun doesn’t end with the last race. Start the weekend with live music and simulcast wagering in the Paddock.
Saturday, October 6
Sunrise Trackside at Keeneland. Fans can experience the sights and sounds of Keeneland even before the gates open for the race day. It’s a morning filled with fun for family or out-of-town guests featuring:
Breakfast with the Works Sponsored by Dunkin Donuts and WLEX 18. Watch the horses during their morning works while enjoying a Southern-style breakfast buffet in the trackside Equestrian Dining Room from 7-8:30 a.m. Breakfast is $7; children 3 and under free.
Kid’s Club – Join us in the Kid’s Club Corner from 7– 9 a.m. for free children’s activities, including photos in jockey silks, face painting and more. Sign up for the Keeneland Kid’s Club and meet Kid’s Club mascot Buckles. Enjoy crafts and exhibits from the Explorium of Lexington in the tent adjacent to Equestrian Room.
Paddock Demonstration – Each week, Keeneland highlights a different aspect of the equine industry with demonstrations in the Paddock at 8:45 a.m.
Tours – Pick up a walking tour guide in the Paddock between 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. to learn more about Keeneland’s historic grounds. Guides will be positioned throughout the property to answer questions.
Photos with Bucky – Have your picture taken with Keeneland’s legendary bugler, George Sallee, or ‘Bucky’ as fans know him. Bucky will be in the Paddock for photo opportunities from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Handicapping Seminar – Join us trackside at 11:30 a.m. for a free handicapping seminar.
Jockey Q&A – Learn more about favorite jockeys – from their most memorable ride, to how they prepare for a race, to what’s on their iPod – at 12:05 p.m. in the Paddock.
$250,000 All Stakes Pick 4, presented by TVG. Covers the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), First Lady (G1), Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).