The $200,000 Fayette Stakes (G2) will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Keeneland on Saturday. For three-year-olds and upward, it has attracted a field of 10.
#1 THE GREAT DAY won Grade 1 stakes races on the dirt in Argentina last year but after being imported to America, he made his first three starts on turf. Last out, the five-year-old tried Tapeta at Woodbine and went gate-to-wire to win a Grade 3 stakes at this distance, and now, finally, gets back on the dirt. Arnaud Delacour wins at a 26% rate with shippers and The Great Day picks up Corey Lanerie.
#2 MR FREEZE was an emerging three-year-old last year, posting three wins in his first four starts including an eight-length romp in the West Virginia Derby (G3) in fast time. He failed in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) then returned four months later with a poor effort in his turf debut. Back on the dirt seven months later, Mr Freeze just missed in an allowance race at Ellis Park before winning the Ack Ack (G3) last out at Churchill Downs, scoring over a one-turn mile in fast time.
#3 TOM’S D’ETAT ran well earlier this year against Grade 2 stakes company at Churchill Downs. He shipped to Saratoga to capture the Alydar Stakes with ease and it made you wonder that maybe he should have entered the Whitney (G1) instead given he probably would have been no worse than second. Four weeks later, the six-year-old came back in the Woodward (G1) and was beaten less than two lengths after an indifferent ride by Irad Ortiz Jr., who kept him out in the middle of the track like he couldn’t lose. Son of Smart Strike has re-grouped with a series of breezes and Tom’s d’Etat goes back to Joel Rosario, who was up in the Aldyar.
#4 EVERFAST is a three-year-old taking on older rivals for the first time. He has danced against the best of his generation without much success but every once in a while, the son of Take Charge Indy is able to pass tired horses and get a piece. Everfast will be far back early and who knows if today’s the day for his late kick.
#5 MOCITO ROJO is a very consistent horse who has won five in a row and shows 17 career wins. This year, he has stepped it up a notch, winning a Grade 3 stakes at Lone Star in April and the Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill Downs last outat today’s distance. The five-year-old can run on the pace or rally from behind and former regular rider Filemon Rodriguez retakes the mount.
#6 TENFOLD showed promise last year and brought high expectations into his four-year-old campaign, but the son of Curlin only has a Pimlico Special (G3) win to show for this efforts. His last three starts were not good and Tenfold has become an enigma with his inconsistency. Nothing about his workout pattern indicates a forward move is coming.
#7 CORE BELIEFS has been all over the country for Peter Eurton. Winner of the Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown and second in the Peter Pan (G3) at Belmont Park last year, the son of Quality Road opened his four-year-old season with a win in the New Orleans Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds. However, he followed with a poor effort in a Grade 1 stakes at Santa Anita and when adding blinkers last out, Core Beliefs recorded a dull fourth in a Grade 2 stakes at Del Mar.
#8 BAL HARBOUR is improving four-year-old gelding. After just missing in a Grade 3 stakes at Monmouth Park two back, he came back and battled through the lane in traffic to post a fine half-length second in the Woodward (G1) at Saratoga. He has a series of easy breezes since then for Todd Pletcher and enough tactical speed to get involved early. A horse for the course, Bal Harbour will be reunited with Tyler Gaffalione, who rode him to a Keeneland win a year ago.
#9 OWN AGENDA moves up in class off a series of allowance efforts and will need to improve about five lengths to fit with these. He can run on the pace but his last two starts were from way back so maybe that is his preferred running style.
#10 BIG DOLLAR BILL has showed an affinity for Keeneland’s main track, winning all three attempts for Ian Wilkes. His two starts this year were dull, but the five-year-old gelding loves this oval and is eligible to show more in the third start off a long layoff.
Top Picks for the Fayette Stakes:
- #3 Tom’s d’Etat
- #8 Bal Harbour
- #2 Mr Freeze
- #5 Mocito Rojo
Fayette Stakes Bets:
- $20 Exacta: 3 with 2, 5, 8
- $10 Exacta: 2, 5, 8 with 3