Fayette Closes The Curtain On Keeneland

Saturday, October 26

Racing concludes for the spectacular fall meet at Keeneland Race Course this Saturday. Topping the closing-day card is the customary feature, the $200,000 Fayette S. (G2). Run at nine furlongs on the Polytrack, this test often attracts a big field of accomplished runners and 2013 looks to be more of the same. Hard-knocking millionaire Wilcox Inn could be among the ones to beat in this one for conditioner Michael Stidham.

A five-year-old by Harlan’s Holiday, Willcox Inn earned his first stakes win in nearly two years when running down Gallant Eagle by a nose in the August 31 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington. That effort over Polytrack did not leave him out of place when the October 5 Shadwell Turf Mile was moved to Keeneland’s main track, but the Mike Stidham trainee lagged far behind early and could only rally for third behind the front-running Silver Max and reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan.

While the extra sixteenth of the Fayette should suit Willcox Inn, the hole in his armor is that he’s winless in three starts over the Keeneland surface. Not facing that problem is local allowance winner Villandry, who makes his stakes debut in the Fayette following a solid third in a seven-furlong allowance earlier this month. It was the first start in more than 10 months for the gelding trained by Charlies LoPresti, who saddled the half-brothers Successful Dan and Wise Dan to Fayette wins in 2010-11.

“He got in a lot of trouble in that race and probably should have won,” said LoPresti, who also saddles multiple turf allowance winner Set the Sail in the Fayette.

Nikki’s Sandcastle ran one of the best races of his career when a clear second in the 2012 Fayette, and will try to make amends for that defeat on Saturday. The six-year-old has had a light campaign of four starts this term for veteran horseman David Kassen, who trained Cad to a dead-heat win in the 1983 Fayette.

Trying Polytrack for the first time is Lea, a Grade 3 winner on turf who unsuccessfully chased Wise Dan in the the Firecracker and Fourstardave Handicaps over the summer. He was most recently fourth in the Forego at Saratoga, which was contested in the slop.

Others lining up for the Fayette are You Know I Know, a distant third in the Pacific Classic two back; Finnegans Wake, who is multiple graded stakes-placed on the turf; Winning Cause, three-year-old winner of the Lexington during the Keeneland spring meet; and the front-running Ol Army.

Keeneland Racecourse

Keeneland 2013 Fall Meet Information 

Dates: October 4 through October 26
Keeneland Racecourse horse racing schedule: Wednesday through Sunday
Post Times: Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m. ET.

Keeneland Racecourse Information

Main track (Polytrack): 1 1/16-mile oval
Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 1,174 feet
Composition: Polytrack

Turf course: 7 1/2-furlong oval

Keeneland 2013 Fall Meet Wagering 

Once again, Keeneland will offer two popular wagering opportunities during the fall meet – the Friday Pick 4 takes place the first three Fridays of the meet, with a guaranteed pool of $200,000. The $250,000 All Stakes Pick 4 on Saturday, Oct. 5, challenges Players to handicap the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), First Lady (G1), Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1), and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

Bet 2013 Keeneland Fall horse racing online with TwinSpires.com and watch it live on TwinSpiresTV!

Handicapping Keeneland Racecourse

From maiden races to Breeders’ Cup preps, the one thing Keeneland’s menagerie of races has in common is competitiveness, and Brisnet.com has the information you need to handicap full fields on Polytrack and turf.

Keeneland opens its 17-day fall meeting on Friday, and five Grade 1 races highlight opening weekend, including Horse of the Year Wise Dan going for a second consecutive Shadwell Turf Mile score on Saturday en route to the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

As always, Brisnet.com has you covered around the clock for Keeneland information, including Bruno With The Works workout reports from the morning to help with afternoon profits and the Kentucky Handicapper’s Sheet to help you analyze each race with comments for each horse, selections, and wagering strategy. Also available to help you prepare for the meeting is detailed Track Stats for Keeneland to tell you who wins what kinds of races with trainer/jockey, bias, and shipper stats for the Lexington ovals.

All these reports and more are available on the Brisnet.com special reports page.

Keeneland Racecourse Facts

Keeneland Racetrack is home to a number of historical firsts in horse racing. In 1948, it installed an inside aluminum rail for its spring meeting, replacing the conventional wooden one. The rail, at a cost of approximately $5,000, was the first of its kind to be used at an American racetrack. In 1958, at its spring meeting, Keeneland held daily-double wagering for the first time in its history. During the fall meeting of 1961, Keeneland became the first thoroughbred track in America to use the Visumatic Timer, which posted the various fractions and final clocking on the tote board. In the spring of 1979, Keeneland became the first horse track in Kentucky – and only the fourth in the country – to use the AmTote 300 Series Totalisator System, known as ABC (All Betting and Cashing) Mutuels. This system allowed bettors to buy and cash tickets in any amount and type at any window throughout the plant.

In 1984, the first phase of a $3-million construction project began at Keeneland, and on Oct. 11, Queen Elizabeth II attended horse races at the track. At its fall meeting in 1985, Keeneland became the first organized track in Kentucky to hold grass racing and it also installed exacta wagering for the first time. In November 1997, Keeneland’s Breeding Stock Sale set an industry record for gross sales with an impressive $213 million. Also during this year, former President George H.W. Bush attended the races as the guest of W.S. Farish, the owner of Lane’s End Farm. Bush presented the trophy to the owners of Favorite Trick after the undefeated colt romped to victory in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity. It marked the first time that a former president had made a trophy presentation at Keeneland.

In terms of elegance, Keeneland is one of the best in horse racing. Filled with hearty pin oaks, sycamores and maple trees, Keeneland’s paddock is among the most beautiful places you will find in Kentucky. Mornings at the Lexington track are serene, a perfect match for the colt or young filly who must be schooled in the paddock. Keeneland is one of the few races tracks in America where fans are allowed to get up close and personal with the horses.

Keeneland unveiled a Polytrack surface in time for its 2006 fall race meeting, making it the third public racetrack in North America to make a transition from a traditional dirt surface to Polytrack. Turfway Park switched to Polytrack in September 2005, and Woodbine installed a Polytrack surface in August 2006.

Keeneland Racecourse

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