KEENELAND OPENS WITH CLASS
The fine meeting at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, gets underway on Friday, with high quality racing from the get-go. This 17-day stanza is full of superb action, led by the opening FallStars Weekend, which hosts nine graded races, five of the Grade 1 variety and six as direct links to the upcoming Breeders’ Cup.
The $400,000 Alcibiades S. (G1) for juvenile fillies is the Friday headliner. Flashy Lassie could be the one to beat in this one, as the daughter of Flashy Bull bagged the Debutante (G3) two back and had a nice prep for this at Mountaineer. The Gary Simms charge could appreciate the added ground to work with in this one. And Why Not was a stylish debut winner at Saratoga for trainer Michael Matz, and checked in third in the Spinaway S. (G1) in her second career start.
Arlington-Washington Lassie (G3) third Ann of the Dance, smart debut heroine Cheerleader, Mike Mitchell’s California import Egg Drop, Rusty Arnold’s turf stakes runner-up New Wave and Happy ticket S. vixen Soonerette.
Grade 2 winner Aikenite, Commonwealth S. (G2) runner-up Cool Bullet, Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) placer Hamazing Destiny and Grade 2-winning sophomore Flashpoint are among the top draws in the other graded race on Friday, the $175,000 Phoenix S. (G3).
The $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) is the top attraction on the Saturday program, one of three Grade 1 events. In the Mile, a superb cast is likely, led by dual champion Gio Ponti. Trained by Christophe Clement, the son of Tale of the Cat was a visually impressive winner of this running last campaign and has been in good form while second in his last pair. The cutback in trip could do the trick for the six-year-old.
Get Stormy took the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) here in the spring and was a good second to a budding superstar at Saratoga in his latest voyage. Multiple Grade 1 hero Court Vision, 2010 Sana Anita Derby (G1) victor Sidney’s Candy, Society’s Chairman, who was second in this last campaign, and Wise Dan, an impressive winner in his grassy debut in the Firecracker H. (G2) two back, help make up this stellar cast.
Also on Saturday, fillies and mares will go one mile on the green in the $350,000 First Lady S. (G1). Grade 1 heroines Eclair de Lune and Gypsy’s Warning, will be joined by the likes of Bay to Bay, Category Seven, multiple Grade 2 lass Never Retreat, Cherokee Queen, Snow Top Mountain, Daveron, perfect in three starts this season, and 2010 Jenny Wiley (G2) winner Wasted Tears, in this well-matched field.
The $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) is for the top juveniles from all across the U. S., and this edition is shaping up to be a fantastic one. Once-beaten Majestic City invades from California for Peter Miller, and the son of City Zip was flattered when the two that beat him ran one-two in the Norfolk (G1) over the weekend.
Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3) winner Shared Property, Optimizer, the D. Wayne Lukas charge who was second in the With Anticipation S. (G2) on the lawn last time, and Take Charge Indy and Motor City, second-third in the Arlington-Washington.
Saturday’s other stakes are the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) for fillies and mares going six furlongs on the Polytrack, and the $150,000 Woodford (G3) at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.
The Sunday spotlight will be on fillies and mares in the $500,000 Spinster S. (G1), at nine furlongs on the main oval.