• HAVELOCK TAKES ON NINE FOES IN BID FOR SECOND WOODFORD VICTORY
• CASSE READY FOR TWO-PRONGED ASSAULT ON 2-YEAR-OLD GRADE 1 STAKES
• AMAZONAS’ CONNECTIONS HOPING FIRST LADY START OF BIG THINGS IN U.S.
• EMOLLIENT RETURNS FOR JUDDMONTE SPINSTER
• GALLOPING OUT
Fred Bradley, Buff Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns’ Groupie Doll, the champion female sprinter of 2012, will face five rivals Saturday when she seeks to become the second repeat winner of the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).
The Thoroughbred Club of America, a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, will go as Saturday’s sixth race with a 3:45 p.m. (ET) post time.
Winner of last year’s TCA by 6½ lengths, Groupie Doll will try to join Excitable Lady (1982-83) as the only repeat winner of the race that was inaugurated in 1981. Groupie Doll used last year’s TCA victory as a springboard to success four weeks later when she won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Regular rider Rajiv Maragh has the call Saturday on Groupie Doll, who will break from post position six.
Chief among Groupie Doll’s rivals are two fillies who are undefeated at Keeneland: Gypsy Robin and Judy the Beauty.
Now owned by A J L Productions, Jungle Racing and William Strauss, Gypsy Robin has won three races here, including Grade 2 victories in the Beaumont and Lexus Raven Run in 2012. Trained by Mike Puype, Gypsy Robin will be ridden by Garrett Gomez and break from post position three.
Wesley Ward owns and trains Judy the Beauty, who is 2-for-2 at Keeneland. Judy the Beauty, who ran third behind Groupie Doll in the Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) in her most recent start, will break from post position one and be ridden by John Velazquez.
The field for the Thoroughbred Club of America from the rail out is as follows: Judy the Beauty (Velazquez, 120 pounds), Purely Hot (Harry Vega, 122), Gypsy Robin (Gomez, 120), Tanglewood Tale (Shaun Bridgmohan, 120), Livi Makenzie (Julien Leparoux, 122) and Groupie Doll (Maragh, 124).
HAVELOCK TAKES ON NINE FOES IN BID FOR SECOND WOODFORD VICTORY
Silverton Hill’s Havelock, winner of the Shakertown (G3) here this spring, heads a field of 10 grass sprinters for Saturday’s 17th running of the $150,000 Woodford Presented by Keeneland Select (G3) at 5½ furlongs on the turf.
The Woodford will go as the fifth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 3:13 p.m. post time.
Trained by Darrin Miller, Havelock also has a victory in the 2011 Woodford on his resume that shows eight victories from 24 starts and $529,514 in earnings. Garrett Gomez, who was aboard for the nose victory in the Shakertown, has the call Saturday on Havelock, who will break from post position eight.
Havelock will carry top weight of 122 pounds, an impost that also will be carried by Beechwood Racing Stable’s Stormofthecentury.
Trained by Louis Ruberto Jr., Stormofthecentury enters the Woodford off a victory in the Turf Monster Handicap (G3) at Parx on Sept. 2. A winner of two of three grass starts,
Stormofthecentury will break from post position six and be ridden by Corey Lanerie.
The field for the Woodford Presented by Keeneland Select from the inside out is as follows: Pirates Vow (Kent Desormeaux, 120 pounds), Tour Guide (James Graham, 118), Great Mills (Julien Leparoux, 120), Console (Shaun Bridgmohan, 120), Expecting Cash (Eddie Castro, 120), Stormofthecentury (Lanerie, 122), Ancil (Jesus Castanon, 120), Havelock (Gomez, 122), Global Power (Scott Speith, 120) and Spring to the Sky (John Velazquez, 120).
CASSE READY FOR TWO-PRONGED ASSAULT ON 2-YEAR-OLD GRADE 1 STAKES
No trainer has swept the Darley Alcibiades (G1) and Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) in the same year since Pat Byrne accomplished it in 1997 with Countess Diana and Favorite Trick, respectively.
Mark Casse came close last year when Spring in the Air won the Darley Alcibiades and Dynamic Sky finished a length back in second in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity.
“I was confident coming into both races last year and I am more confident this year,” said Casse, who will send out My Conquestadory on Friday in the Darley Alcibiades and Conquest Titan in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity on Saturday. Both 2-year-olds are owned by Conquest Stables.
My Conquestadory, a daughter of Artie Schiller, beat the boys in the Summer (G2) in her first start by 3¼ lengths going a mile on the turf under Eurico Da Silva, who will be aboard Friday.
“I had one other horse win a stakes in her first start and that was Sprung, who won the Natalma (G3) in 2006,” Casse said. “She turned out OK (three wins in 17 starts for earnings of $287,145), but she is nowhere near this filly.
“We have a lot of 2-year-olds and from the beginning we felt she was at the head of the class. I felt the best shot to make the Breeders’ Cup was to run her there. We needed to get her going.”
Casse will attempt to become the first trainer since Ken McPeek to saddle the Darley Alcibiades winner in consecutive years. McPeek won the 2000 renewal with She’s A Devil Due and in 2001 with Take Charge Lady.
The Darley Alcibiades is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. The Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity is a Win and You’re In for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), also on Nov. 2.
A colt by Birdstone, Conquest Titan comes to Keeneland off a victory in the Swynford by 5¼ lengths in his first try on Polytrack.
“He trains like a superstar,” Casse said. “After his first race at Churchill Downs, we took him back to Woodbine, where he was training so well that we put him in a stakes. He won that in complete control.”
AMAZONAS’ CONNECTIONS HOPING FIRST LADY START OF BIG THINGS IN U.S.
Sir Robert Ogden’s homebred Amazonas (IRE) made her first appearance on the main track at Keeneland Wednesday morning after clearing quarantine upon shipping to Kentucky from Europe.
“She had a good first day,” said Andrew Stringer, assistant to trainer Edward Dunlop. “She shipped well and is eating well and is very healthy.”
A winner in her first start and Group 1 placed in England, Amazonas returned to the races off a 10½-month layoff to win a stakes at Haydock Park.
Although she trains on an all-weather surface at Newmarket, Amazonas has made all six of her starts on grass, a surface on which she will stay in Saturday’s First Lady (G1).
Joe Rocco Jr. will have the mount on Amazonas in the First Lady and break from post position eight as one of two 3-year-olds in the accomplished field.
“Hopefully she will run well enough Saturday to be invited (to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies on Oct. 12),” Stringer said.
Under exercise rider Alice Haynes, Amazonas jogged once around and then had a light gallop before the morning renovation break.
“She’s fit,” Stringer said. “We didn’t bring her here to get her fit. Probably Friday, we will let her do a two-minute lick with a two-furlong blowout through the lane.”
EMOLLIENT RETURNS FOR JUDDMONTE SPINSTER
A nine-length winner of the Central Bank Ashland (G1) at Keeneland in April, Emollient returned to Keeneland Tuesday to prepare for her next race, the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) on Sunday. Since her dominating performance here, the stakes has been part of the plan for the 3-year-old Empire Maker filly, who is a homebred racing for Juddmonte Farms. Juddmonte has sponsored the Spinster, a 1 1/8-mile race on Polytrack, since 2005.
“She’s fresh, happy, moving well,” Rodolphe Brisset, assistant to trainer Bill Mott, said about Emollient, who jogged on the main track Wednesday morning.
With Mike Smith aboard for the first time, Emollient won the Central Bank Ashland in her Polytrack debut. That performance came six days after she ran fifth in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) on dirt. She next was sixth in the Black Eyed Susan (G2) on dirt at Pimlico on May 17.
“She showed us she didn’t want any part of the dirt anymore,” Brisset said about that performance.
Emollient shipped to Southern California, where she won the American Oaks (G1) on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 13 for her second Grade 1 victory. She returned Sept. 14 in the Garden City (G1) on turf at Belmont Park, where Brisset said she “didn’t run a bad race. There was too much cut in the grass, and she didn’t care for the ground. We could see she wasn’t comfortable. Mike said she never really picked up the bridle like usual. So now she has a race under her belt.”
On Sunday, Emollient worked five furlongs in 1:01.32 on turf at Belmont.
Now back at Keeneland, Brisset said Emollient has matured since her April appearance, and “she grew maybe a tiny bit.” The Juddmonte Spinster will mark her first start against older fillies and mares.
“I wish we could run her (six) days before like we did in the Ashland,” he said with a laugh.
With a victory on Sunday, Emollient will become the fourth horse to win the Ashland and the Spinster. The others are Doubledogdare (1956), Optimistic Gal (1976) and Take Charge Lady (2002).
Curtis Green’s Maria Maria breezed three furlongs in :38.80 under jockey Francisco Torres after the morning renovation break in preparation for Friday’s Darley Alcibiades (G1). Never worse than third in four career starts, Maria Maria is trained by James DiVito.