GROUPIE DOLL TOPS FIELD OF NINE FOR SATURDAY’S THOROUGHBRED CLUB OF AMERICA
Fred Bradley, trainer Buff Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns’ Groupie Doll, a dominating graded stakes winner in her past three starts, heads a field of nine fillies and mares entered Wednesday morning for Saturday’s 32nd running of the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).
The six-furlong sprint on the main track, a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint to be run November 3 at Santa Anita, will go as the sixth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 3:45 p.m. (ET) post time. First post time Saturday is 1:05 p.m.
Groupie Doll started her win streak here in April with a three-length victory in the Vinery Madison (G1). She followed that three weeks later with a 7¼-length score in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs in track record time and in her most recent start won the Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) by 3¾ lengths.
The only filly to win the Vinery Madison and Thoroughbred Club of America in the same year is Informed Decision in 2009.
Rajiv Maragh, who has been aboard for three victories by Groupie Doll, has the call on the Bowman’s Band filly, who will break from post position six.
Groupie Doll is not the only Grade 1 winner in the Thoroughbred Club of America field.
Brenda Mercer’s Emma’s Encore, winner of the Grade 1 Prioress at Saratoga in August, returns to Keeneland where she ran last fall as a maiden. Trained by Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens, the 3-year-old Congrats filly also won the Victory Ride (G3) at Belmont Park in July. Junior Alvarado, who was aboard for both victories has the mount Saturday on Emma’s Encore and will exit post position four.
The field for the Thoroughbred Club of America, from the rail out, is as follows: Giant Sensation (James Graham, 120 pounds), Honey Chile (Robby Albarado, 120), Newstouse (Julien Leparoux, 120), Emma’s Encore (Junior Alvarado, 122), Mega Dream (Jon Court, 120), Groupie Doll (Rajiv Maragh, 124), Strike the Moon (Joze Lezcano, 120), Zermatt (Javier Castellano, 120) and Sally Sally (Willie Martinez, 120).
MILLIONAIRE CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE FACES SIX FOES IN SATURDAY’S WOODFORD
Carl R. Moore Management’s veteran Chamberlain Bridge, a 13-time stakes winner and earner of $1,875,135, will face six rivals Saturday as he attempts to win the $150,000 Woodford Stakes presented by Keeneland Select (G3) at 5½ furlongs on the turf for a second time.
The Woodford Stakes presented by Keeneland Select is scheduled as the fifth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 3:13 p.m. (ET) post time.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, Chamberlain Bridge won the 2008 Woodford and finished fourth in the race in 2009. Also on his resume is a victory in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Second in the Turf Monster Handicap (G2) at Parx in his most recent start, Chamberlain Bridge will break from post position three and be ridden by Paco Lopez on Saturday.
Chief among the opposition for Chamberlain Bridge are Great Attack and Bridgetown, the respective 1-2 finishers in the Turf Sprint (G3) on May 5 at Churchill Downs, and Great Mills, runner-up by a nose in the Shakertown (G3) here this spring.
The field for the Woodford Stakes presented by Keeneland Select, from the inside out, is as follows: Ginplay (James Graham, 120 pounds), Bridgetown (Javier Castellano, 120), Chamberlain Bridge (Paco Lopez, 120), Icon Ike (Robby Albarado, 118), Wekiva Wachee (Jose Lezcano, 120), Will’s Wildcat (Calvin Borel, 120) and Great Mills (Julien Leparoux, 120).
LOPEZ MAKES KEENELAND DEBUT ON FRIDAY
The first race on Friday marks the Keeneland debut of Paco Lopez, who won the 2008 Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice. A two-time leading rider at Gulfstream Park who has titles at Calder, Monmouth Park and The Meadowlands, Lopez comes to Keeneland after success at Monmouth, where he won 10 stakes and remains second in victories.
“I’m excited to be here. It’s beautiful at Keeneland,” said Lopez, who turns 27 on October 18.
Lopez had planned to make his Keeneland debut in April but was injured in a spill at Gulfstream in March that sidelined him for a time. He also has a mount in Friday’s second race and a much busier schedule on Saturday when he will ride Corporate Jungle in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), Pataky Kid in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Chamberlain Bridge in the Woodford presented by Keeneland Select (G3).
From Mexico, Lopez began riding Quarter Horses as a youngster and won more than 5,000 races aboard the sprinters at unsanctioned racetracks in that country. He moved to the United States in 2006 and began his pursuit of riding professionally by exercising horses at Palm Meadows Training Center.
Lopez won his first race in July 2007 at Calder and scored his 1,000th victory at Monmouth in August. He has career earnings of nearly $29.4 million. Lopez’s richest win came aboard Headache in the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2) in 2011.
Moran said Lopez will ride at Keeneland the entire meet, missing only October 13 to return to Calder for the Festival of the Sun which features five stakes races.
“We just need opportunities,” Lopez’s agent, Cory Moran, said about competing at Keeneland. “We love being here. Everyone’s so friendly.”
LA SONG BUILDS ON EXPERIENCE IN DARLEY ALCIBIADES
Trainer Wayne Catalano couldn’t help but break out in a little song when asked about Darrell and Evelyn Yates’ La Song, who will start in Friday’s $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1). The daughter of Unbridled’s Song is coming off a second in the one-mile Arlington-Washington Lassie (G3) on September 8, when Gold Edge caught her in the last few jumps to win by a neck. The rivals will meet again in the Darley Alcibiades, when Gold Edge breaks from post seven with La Song in post eight.
“She’s run a very nice race for us, and she’s doing very good,” Catalano, the leading trainer at Arlington Park, said about La Song. “We expect a big race out of her. That last race is going to help her a lot. She’s got that route race, that mile, under her belt.”
La Song, a graduate of the 2011 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and the Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, was third in her career debut at Arlington on July 26 while going 5 ½ furlongs. She then won a maiden claiming race at the same distance on August 12.
She will be ridden in the 1 1/16-mile Darley Alcibiades by Jeffrey Sanchez, who has been aboard in her previous races.
On Saturday, Catalano will send out James F. Miller’s Honey Chile in the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). His Keeneland string also includes last year’s Darley Alcibiades winner, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Stephanie’s Kitten, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) in her next start. The 3-year-old Kitten’s Joy filly won the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga on August 19 in her last race, and is pointed at the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) here on October 13.
“We’re going to treat this like our Breeders’ Cup,” Catalano said about the QE II. “If she can get lucky and do well then on to the Breeders’ Cup and run against the older fillies (in the Grade 1 Filly and Mare Turf).”
HE’S HAD ENOUGH FOLLOWING IN FOOTSTEPS OF I’LL HAVE ANOTHER
Reddam Racing reached the top of the racing mountain this spring with victories in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) by I’ll Have Another.
The quest to find the next I’ll Have Another enters a new phase at Keeneland Saturday when the stable’s He’s Had Enough goes postward in the 99th running of the $400,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
A winner in his first start in August at Del Mar and then sixth as the favorite in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar on September 5, He’s Had Enough arrived at Keeneland from his Southern California base on Tuesday . The Tapit colt galloped on the main track Wednesday morning under exercise rider Humberto Gomez.
“We didn’t want to run two of our horses in the same race,” trainer Doug O’Neill said Wednesday morning from Hollywood Park of the decision to ship He’s Had Enough to Keeneland. “We had Know More for the FrontRunner (G1) (in which he finished second) and this horse ran well on the Polytrack at Del Mar and that factored in the decision.”
O’Neill said that Mario Gutierrez, the rider this spring for I’ll Have Another, would have the riding assignment Saturday.
“He’s Had Enough has got talent and I think he has a good chance, although looking at the race there are a lot of good horses in there,” said O’Neill, who won the race in 2006 with Great Hunter for Reddam and took over the training of Square Eddie for Reddam after the colt’s win in the race in 2008.