SPRING IN THE AIR EXITS DARLEY ALCIBIADES VICTORY IN GREAT SHAPE
John Oxley’s Spring in the Air returned to Churchill Downs on Friday night after her one-length victory in the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) and “is great this morning,” trainer Mark Casse said from Louisville.
Casse will head back to Keeneland this afternoon to saddle Dynamic Sky for Oxley in the $400,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
A Dynamic Sky victory would make Oxley the first owner to sweep the Alcibiades and Breeders’ Futurity the same year and make Casse the fourth trainer to do it and first since Pat Byrne swept the races in 1997 with Countess Diana and Favorite Trick. Other trainers to accomplish the feat are D. Wayne Lukas in 1995 with Cara Rafaela and Honour and Glory, and Carl Nafzger in 1986 with Zero Minus and Orono.
The victory Friday earned Spring in the Air a spot in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run November 2 at Santa Anita. Casse said her travel itinerary to California has not been set.
“I’m not sure when she will go out,” Casse said. “It depends on a couple of other horses that are running. I have a filly running today at Woodbine (Spring Venture in the $200,000 Grade 3 Mazarine) and a colt that is 4-for-4 (Uncaptured in the $200,000 Grade 3 Grey).”
The victory was the first in a Keeneland stakes for Casse.
“I have not raced that often at Keeneland,” Casse said. “When I was the leading trainer the one year at Churchill Downs, most of my horses were claimers.
“But when I was riding, I won my first real race at Keeneland. I had won a couple races at the Great Barrington Fair (in Massachusetts) but my first win at a major track was at Keeneland. It was a $5,000 claimer and the race was a mile and an eighth. The jockey on the other horse misjudged the finish line and we won by a nose.”
AMOSS WEIGHING BREEDERS’ CUP POSSIBILITIES WITH PHOENIX WINNER SUM OF THE PARTS
Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Sum of the Parts exited his 1¼-length victory in Friday’s $175,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3) in good shape, according to trainer Tom Amoss.
“He will stay at Keeneland no matter what because he gets over the Polytrack so well,” Amoss said of Sum of the Parts, who earned a berth in the $1.5 million Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) with his victory Friday.
Amoss said he will get with Seth Klaman of Klaravich and Lawrence next week to talk Breeders’ Cup.
“It is awfully tempting with everything all taken care of,” Amoss said of the fees-paid win. “But one thing we are not losing sight of is he is just a 3-year-old and he has a lot of races ahead of him. We will weigh all those things and pay attention to the race (the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship featuring defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Amazombie) today.”
DATA LINK READY TO GO ANOTHER MILE
With a victory in today’s $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), Stuart S. Janney III’s homebred Data Link will become the first horse to win the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) and Shadwell Turf Mile in the same year. After his successful Keeneland appearance in April, Data Link was fifth in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs, won the Monmouth (G2) and was second in the Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga.
“He’s trained really well since his last race, and I think he’ll make a good showing today,” trainer Shug McGaughey said about the 4-year-old War Front colt who will be ridden by Alex Solis.
Among Data Link’s 11 opponents in the Shadwell Turf Mile is Mort Fink’s favored Wise Dan, who represents a rivalry for McGaughey off the racetrack. McGaughey’s 23-year-old son, Reeve, works for Wise Dan’s trainer, Charlie Lopresti. Wise Dan enters the Shadwell Turf Mile off six wins in his last seven races.
“Obviously we’d be better off if he wasn’t in there, but I think he’s going to see a little different group of horses than he’s seen at Saratoga and in Canada,” McGaughey said, referring to the standout field in today’s race.
Two races before the Shadwell Turf Mile, McGaughey will send out Emory Hamilton’s homebred Hungry Island in the First Lady (G1). The 4-year-old More Than Ready Filly won the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G1) on May 5 and is coming off a second to Zagora (Fr) in the Balston Spa (G2) at Saratoga on August 25.
“This is a good spot for her, a good race,” McGaughey said about the First Lady. “We’ll see how she does. This might be her last one, but we’ll see.”
Hungry Island, the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the First Lady, has five wins in 15 starts and earnings of $508,770.
SWIFT WARRIOR FINALLY GETS KEENELAND SHOT IN SHADWELL TURF MILE
James Covello and James Dolan’s Swift Warrior is back at Keeneland 18 months after his previous stay, and the connections are hoping for a much better outcome.
Trained by John Terranova, Swift Warrior came to Keeneland in the spring of 2011 after a wire-to-wire, two-length victory in the Rushaway at Turfway Park. The Keeneland target was the Toyota Blue Grass (G1).
However, on the day entries were to be taken for the race, Swift Warrior suffered a lateral, nondisplaced condylar fracture of his right foreleg.
“He did not come back to the barn until December,” said Reynaldo Abreu, assistant to Terranova.
“We knew we would get him back but it was a question of if he would be as good as he was. After his second breeze, we knew he was back.”
Swift Warrior, a 4-year-old son of First Samurai, returned to the races in February at Tampa Bay Downs and followed that with solid showings in the Tampa Bay (G3) and Melvin Muniz Jr. (G2) at Fair Grounds. After a four-month break, Swift Warrior took a restricted stakes at Saratoga.
“He runs better fresh,” Abreu said of Swift Warrior, who will break from post position 12 under Jose Espinoza in today’s $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). “This is a tough race and everybody is trying to beat one horse (Wise Dan).”
NOBLE’S PROMISE MIGHT BE HEADED TO BREEDERS’ CUP
Running second by 1¼ lengths to Sum of the Parts in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3) might have earned J C M Racing’s Noble’s Promise a trip to California for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, trainer Ken McPeek said today.
“That’d be nice,” McPeek said. “He’s been running some really good numbers. He’s going to have to run the race of his life. We’ll see who’s going in. We’re going to analyze it.”
Winner of the 2009 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1), Noble’s Promise ran third in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). The 5-year-old son of Cuvee is winless in eight starts this year but has three seconds in stakes company at six furlongs to seven furlongs.
One McPeek runner who is headed to the Breeders’ Cup is Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket, dead-heat winner of the Travers (G1) on August 25. On Saturday at Keeneland, the 3-year-old Speightstown colt breezed a half-mile in :52.80.
“It’s what I’d call ‘a happy half,’ ” McPeek said. “He is probably going to have another one of those next weekend and then fly to California. It looks like he is set for the Classic (G1).”
KENTUCKY DOWNS JUVENILE FILLIES WINNER OSCAR PARTY TOPS NOMINEES
FOR JPMORGAN CHASE JESSAMINE
The top three finishers from the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, run on September 15, headed by the victorious Oscar Party, top a list of 42 fillies nominated to Thursday’s 22nd running of the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass.
The race is a “Win and You’re In” contest for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run November 2 at Santa Anita. Entries for the race will be taken Sunday.
Owned by James Covello and trained by Wayne Catalano, Oscar Party broke her maiden by three lengths in the Kentucky Downs victory. Ron McCauley’s Zip Cash Back finished second, a beck ahead of Spendthrift Farm’s Moonwalk.
Also included in the nominees are Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Always Kitten, winner of the one-mile Happy Ticket on grass at Louisiana Downs on September 8; Repole Stable’s Coconut Shrimp, who finished fifth in Natalma (G2) at Woodbine less than a length behind Darley Alcibiades (G1) winner Spring in the Air; and GEM Racing Stable’s Renee’s Queen, winner of last month’s Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar.
BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY ATTRACTS 46 NOMINATIONS
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Holiday for Kitten, winner of the 2011 Giant’s Causeway on turf here and the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) on the main track, headlines a list of 46 fillies and mares nominated to the 16th running of the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County to be contested on Friday.
Also on the nominee list and expected to run is Peter Blum’s Inspired. Trained by Allen Iwinski, Inspired won the Turf Amazon Handicap at Parx on September 3 in her most recent start and finished fourth as the favorite in this April’s Giant’s Causeway here. Bounding Bi and Sensible Lady, the 2-3 finishers in the Turf Amazon, also are nominated.
Entries for the 5½-furlong grass sprint, won last year by Wild About Marie, will be taken Tuesday.
Trainer Al Stall Jr. said that third-place Darley Alcibiades (G1) finisher Magical Moon will be headed to Camden, S.C., on Monday night for a short break.
“No more races for her this year,” Stall said of the filly, who is owned by Columbine Stable. “She came back tired yesterday. The track was quite a bit different yesterday than what we had trained on. The last eighth and sixteenth of a mile were not pretty, but clearly the talent is there.”
Jockey Scott Spieth scored his first Keeneland victory when he rode Lynda G. Lail’s Kabob to win the third race on Friday. Trained by Bill Helmbrecht, the 7-year-old Labeeb (GB) gelding won the 1 1/8-mile claiming race by a length in 1:53.13. Spieth, who scored the win in his 10th career race at Keeneland, scored the 4,000th victory of his career in April at Tampa Bay Downs.
Caroline Forgason’s Somali Lemonade, an invitee to next Saturday’s $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), worked a half-mile in :49.20 in company with Welcome Dance for trainer Michael Matz. … Ten Broeck Farm’s Nechez Dawn, expected to run in Friday’s $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County, worked a half-mile in :48.20 for trainer Jeff Bonde. … Judy the Beauty, being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), worked five furlongs in 1:02 for owner-trainer Wesley Ward.
KEENELAND TO SIMULCAST ARC DE TRIOMPHE SUNDAY MORNING
Keeneland will offer simulcast wagering on France’s premier race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), on Sunday morning. Post time for the first stakes on the Arc card is 9:05 a.m. (ET); post time for the Arc is approximately 10:35 a.m. Mutuel windows on the second-floor grandstand open at 8:50 a.m. Favored in the field of 18 contenders are Camelot, winner of the Group 1 Qipco Two Thousand Guineas and Investec Epsom Derby and Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre.
KEENELAND TO CARRY HOOSIER PARK SATURDAY
Simulcast wagering from Hoosier Park will be available at Keeneland on Saturday. First post for the day’s card, headlined by the Indiana Derby (G2) and Indiana Oaks (G2), is 12:30 p.m. (ET).