Bricks and Mortar, considered the leading Thoroughbred in training, and Rushing Fall, undefeated in four races at Keeneland, are among the multiple Grade 1 winners nominated to this year’s Fall Stars Weekend on Oct. 4-6, opening weekend of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet. The first post each day of the season, which runs through Oct. 26, is 1:05 p.m. ET
Fall Stars Weekend features 10 stakes, nine of which are graded, worth $3.95 million. Five of those races are Grade 1 events, and nine of them are Breeders’ Cup Challenge races that are “Win and You’re In” contests for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on Nov. 1-2.
The richest race of Fall Stars Weekend will be the 34th running of the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up and a Win and You’re In test for the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) on Nov. 2.
Bricks and Mortar, owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, heads the 32 nominees to the Shadwell Turf Mile. Trained by Chad Brown, who also conditions Rushing Fall, Bricks and Mortar is a perfect 5-for-5 in 2019 with four Grade 1 triumphs and earnings of more than $4.5 million.
Also among the nominees are the past two winners of the race: George Turner and Clipper Logistics’ Suedois (FR) and 2018 winner Next Shares, owned in a partnership headed by Michael Iavarone. Also nominated is e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Michael J. Ryan’s undefeated Valid Point, winner of the Secretariat (G1) in his last start.
European nominees to the Shadwell Turf Mile include Godolphin’s Group 2 winner Vintager (GB) and Group 3 winner Wootton (FR); Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Group 2 winner and Secretariat runner-up Van Beethoven and Haven’t A Pot and Richard Foden’s Group 2 winner Robin of Navan (FR).
Opening day, Friday, Oct. 4
Kicking off Fall Stars Weekend on opening day of the Fall Meet is the 167th running of the $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2), a 6-furlong main track test that is a Win and You’re In race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Nov. 1.
The Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix drew 18 nominees headed by defending champion Promises Fulfilled and 2017 winner Whitmore.
Owned by Robert Baron and trained by Dale Romans, Promises Fulfilled could become the seventh runner to win the race in consecutive years. The most recent horse to do that was Sum of the Parts in 2012-2013.
Whitmore, owned by Robert LaPenta, Head of Plains Partners and trainer Ron Moquett’s Southern Springs Stable, was beaten a head last year by Promises Fulfilled in his bid to repeat. Runner-up in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Whitmore has earned more than $2.5 million in his career.
Fall Stars Weekend’s Grade 1 action begins that day with the 68th running of the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. A Win and You’re In race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Nov. 1, the Darley Alcibiades drew 28 nominations headed by Perfect Alibi.
Owned by Tracy Farmer and trained by Mark Casse, Perfect Alibi has two graded stakes victories in the Spinaway (G1) and the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga and three victories in four starts.
Saturday, Oct. 5
The Shadwell Turf Mile headlines a blockbuster Saturday of racing that features an 11-race card with five graded stakes.
The 106th running of the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles drew 38 nominations. The stakes is a Win and You’re In race for the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on Nov. 1.
Topping the nominees are Grade 1 winners Basin and Nucky.
Jackpot Farm’s Basin romped to a 6½-length victory over a sealed, sloppy track to win the Hopeful at Saratoga on Sept. 2. Steve Asmussen trains Basin as well as the second- and third-place Hopeful finishers: Shoplifted, owned by Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables and LNJ Foxwoods, and Zayat Stables and Gary Barber’s Gozilla.
A few hours after Basin’s victory, Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s Nucky pulled a 35-1 shocker in the Del Mar Futurity. Peter Miller trains Nucky.
Other graded stakes winners among the nominees are Anderson Stables’ By Your Side, Albaugh Family Stables’ Dennis’ Moment and Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider and John Xitco’s Collusion Illusion.
Rushing Fall, owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, headlines a roster of 25 fillies and mares for the 22nd running of the $400,000 First Lady (G1) going a mile on the turf. The First Lady is a Win and You’re In race for the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on Nov. 2.
Trained by Chad Brown, Rushing Fall has compiled a 10-8-2-0 record and is a perfect 4-for-4 over the Keeneland turf course. Two of her victories came in Grade 1 tests, the Coolmore Jenny Wiley in April and last fall’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End. Rushing Fall is tied with Take Charge Lady with four stakes victories at Keeneland; they are second behind Wise Dan, who holds the record with seven.
Other prominent nominees to the First Lady include four graded stakes winners at the mile distance on the grass: Robert LaPenta, Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners and Bethlehem Stables’ Uni (GB); All Schlaich Stables, Hollendorfer, Gatto Racing and George Todaro’s Vasilika; Slam Dunk Racing and Medallion Racing’s Beau Recall (IRE) and Sayjay Racing, Greg Hall and Brooke Hubbard’s Ms Bad Behavior.
The 39th running of the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) for fillies and mares going 6 furlongs on the main track attracted 22 nominations headed by LNJ Foxwoods’ Test (G1) and recent Dogwood Stakes winner Covfefe and Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable and Peter Deutsch’s Spiced Perfection, winner of this spring’s Madison (G1) at Keeneland.
The Thoroughbred Club of America is a Win and You’re In race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) on Nov. 2.
Also carded for Oct. 5 is the 23rd running of the $200,000 Woodford (G2) presented by Keeneland Select for 3-year-olds and up going 5½ furlongs on the turf. Headlining the 32 Woodford nominees are the past two winners of Keeneland’s Shakertown (G2): Wesley Ward’s Bound for Nowhere and Breeze Easy’s Imprimis. The Shakertown is the Spring Meet equivalent of the Woodford.
Other nominees include Patricia Generazlo’s millionaires Pure Sensation and Disco Partner, plus recent Grade 3 winners Leinster, owned by Amy Dunne, and Susan and Jim Hill’s Totally Boss.
Sunday, Oct. 6
Allen Racing and Bloom Racing’s Midnight Bisou and Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Elate, who finished a nose apart in last month’s Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga, top a list of 19 fillies and mares nominated to the 64thrunning of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) on Sunday of opening weekend.
Run over 1 1/8 miles on the main track, the Juddmonte Spinster is a Win and You’re In race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) on Nov. 2.
Midnight Bisou, trained by Steve Asmussen, has five Grade 1 victories to her credit with three of those coming this year in a perfect 6-for-6 campaign.
Trained by Bill Mott, Elate earned her Grade 1 victories as a 3-year-old in 2017 in the Alabama and Beldame and has earned more than $2.2 million.
Also among the nominees is defending champion Blue Prize (ARG). Owned by Merriebelle Stable and trained by Ignacio Correas IV, Blue Prize could become the fourth runner to win the Juddmonte Spinster in consecutive years and the first since Take Charge Lady In 2002-2003.
Among the seven 3-year-old fillies nominated to the Juddmonte Spinster are two Grade 1 winners: Peter Brant’s Dunbar Road and Joel Politi’s Serengeti Empress.
Completing the Fall Stars Weekend lineup on Oct. 6 are two Win and You’re In races for 2-year-olds: the $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) going 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the second running of the $200,000 Indian Summer going 5½ furlongs on the turf.
The Dixiana Bourbon, a Challenge race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on Nov. 1, drew 54 nominations headed by Walking L Thoroughbreds’ undefeated Fighting Seabee, winner of the With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga for trainer Kenny McPeek.
Also among the nominees is JSM Equine’s Peace Achieved, who won the Gainesway Farm Juvenile in his most recent start Aug. 31 at Kentucky Downs.
The Indian Summer, a Win and You’re In race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) on Nov. 1, drew 38 nominations with trainer Wesley Ward in charge of two fillies facing males: Ten Broeck Farm’s Kimari and Stonestreet Stables’ undefeated Cambria.
Kimari won her career debut by 15 lengths at Keeneland in April and in her turf debut finished second in a field of 25 in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot in England. In her most recent start, she won the Bolton Landing (L) by four lengths at Saratoga.
Cambria, who won her first two starts on the all-weather surface at Presque Isle Downs, took the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint in her grass debut Sept. 7.
Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on NBC
NBC will cover four Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on Fall Stars Weekend as part of its 2019 “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by America’s Best Racing.”
On Saturday, Oct. 5, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. ET, the Shadwell Turf Mile and Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity will air on NBCSN.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, NBC will broadcast the Juddmonte Spinster and Dixiana Bourbon from 4:30-6 p.m.