• WEDNESDAY’S JPMORGAN CHASE JESSAMINE ATTRACTS FIELD OF 10
• PURELY HOT BRINGS VEGA BACK TO KEENELAND AFTER LONG ABSENCE
• MY CONQUESTADORY EXITS DARLEY ALCIBIADES IN FINE FASHION
• REPEAT STOLL KEENON OGDEN PHOENIX WINNER SUM OF THE PARTS TIRED BUT WELL AFTER VICTORY
• DIXIANA BREEDERS’ FUTURITY CELEBRATES 100th RUNNING
• KEENELAND, FANS HONOR BUGLER BUCKY SALLEE
• GALLOPING OUT
A victory by reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan in today’s $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) will mark the gelding’s second consecutive win in the fall meet’s richest race and will give his owner, Mort Fink, his eighth graded stakes victory at Keeneland.
With the victory, Fink of Northbrook, Ill., will receive a gold tray as part of Keeneland’s signature graded stakes trophy program. Only 18 other owners in Keeneland history have achieved such an accomplishment. The latest were Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who reached the milestone on closing day of the 2013 spring meet.
Fink’s ascension on the list of Keeneland’s most successful owners is remarkable considering he has compiled seven stakes victories in seven meets with just two horses. Wise Dan has won five graded stakes: 2012 Phoenix (G3), 2011 Fayette (G2), 2012 Ben Ali (G3), 2012 Shadwell Turf Mile and the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) in April. Wise Dan’s half-brother Successful Dan accounted for Fink’s two other stakes Keeneland stakes wins: 2010 Fayette and 2013 Ben Ali. Charlie LoPresti trains both horses.
Keeneland’s gold tray is handcrafted in partnership with premier American jeweler and silversmith Tiffany & Co.
Fink and his wife, Elaine, are scheduled to be at Keeneland today.
WEDNESDAY’S JPMORGAN CHASE JESSAMINE ATTRACTS FIELD OF 10
Regis Racing’s Zinzay, a first-out turf winner at Saratoga, tops a field of 10 two-year-old fillies entered Saturday for Wednesday’s 23rd running of the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) to be contested at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
The JPMorgan Chase Jessamine, a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, will go as the eighth race on Wednesday’s nine-race card with a 4:49 p.m. (ET) post time.
Trained by Rusty Arnold, Zinzay was a neck winner in her debut on Aug. 25 at the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine distance of 1 1/16 miles. Joe Rocco Jr., who was aboard for that victory, has the call Wednesday and will break from post position six.
Two other Saratoga maiden turf winners going two turns are in the field: Ramona Bass’ Courtesan and Starlight Racing’s Candy Kitty.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Courtesan finished third in her debut on dirt before breaking her maiden on the grass on Sept. 1. Irad Ortiz Jr., has the mount Wednesday and will break from post position two.
Candy Kitty broke her maiden in her third try for trainer Todd Pletcher and in her most recent start finished fifth in the P.G. Johnson Stakes on turf at Saratoga. John Velazquez has the mount and will break from post position eight.
The field for the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine, from the inside out, is as follows: Shanon Nicole (Rosie Napravnik), Courtesan (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Kitten Kaboodle (Alan Garcia), Zip On (Robby Albarado), Pretty Fancy (Victor Lebron), Zinzay (Joe Rocco Jr.), Academic Probation (Corey Lanerie), Candy Kitty (John Velazquez), Richies Party Girl (Ricardo Santana Jr.) and Runway Giant (Brian Hernandez Jr.). All starters carry 118 pounds.
MY CONQUESTADORY EXITS DARLEY ALCIBIADES IN FINE FASHION
Trainer Mark Casse said Conquest Stables’ My Conquestadory came out of her adventurous victory in Friday’s Darley Alcibiades (G1) in good order and was headed to Churchill Downs, where she will continue her training for a start in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita early next month.
Ridden by Eurico Da Silva, My Conquestadory was trapped on the inside behind a wall of horses on the backstretch before finally working out a trip to get clear sailing for a 1¾-length victory over Rosalind.
“I did not have any nightmares about the race, because you have to go to sleep before you can have a nightmare,” Casse said with a laugh. “Over the weekend, we have nine horses running in graded stakes, so come Tuesday, I might sleep for a couple of days.”
Casse will send out Conquest Titan in this afternoon’s Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) here and Sisterly Love in Sunday’s Juddmonte Spinster (G1); both races are “Win and You’re In” contests for the Breeders’ Cup. A victory by Conquest Titan would make Casse the first trainer to sweep the Alcibiades and Breeders’ Futurity the same year since Pat Byrne did in 1997 with Countess Diana and Favorite Trick.
Friday’s victory earned My Conquestadory a spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Nov. 2, but Casse said the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) the day before might be the target.
“This is a filly that never has set foot on a dirt track,” Casse said. “We are going to Churchill Downs this morning and we have a month. It is still to be determined and if I had to decide today it would be 100 percent turf. But if it is dirt, it would not be for the money, it would be for the (2-year-old filly) championship.”
Now unbeaten in two starts, My Conquestadory has a grass win over males on her resume as well as Friday’s Polytrack victory.
Also heading to Churchill Downs this morning for Casse was Gary Barber and WinStar Farm’s
Laugh Track, runner-up in Friday’s Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3).
“He is doing great this morning,” Casse said. “We will aim for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) with him.”
In other Darley Alcibiades news, Landaluce Educe Stables’ Rosalind, the runner-up in the race, was back at Churchill Downs and doing well after chasing My Conquestadory.
“She has been training there,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “She is a pretty special filly and we are looking at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on dirt. There are two reasons: I don’t want to go a mile (in the Juvenile Fillies Turf) and I don’t want to face the winner from yesterday again.”
REPEAT STOLL KEENON OGDEN PHOENIX WINNER SUM OF THE PARTS TIRED BUT WELL AFTER VICTORY
Serving as an analyst on TVG’s telecast of Friday’s races at Keeneland, trainer Tom Amoss had no trouble selecting a horse for the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3).
“Sum of the Parts was a single,” Amoss said with a laugh of the colt who successfully defended his crown in the race with a gate-to-wire 1 ¼-length victory.
Sum of the Parts used the Phoenix last year as a springboard to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) in which he finished fourth, beaten only three lengths by Trinniberg.
“He is tired this morning but in good shape,” Amoss said. “We have a full month (to the Breeders’ Cup) if we decide to go. It will be the owners’ (Klaravich Stables of Seth Klarman and William Lawrence) decision and they will probably make it early next week. My vote right now would be to go.”
For the time being, Sum of the Parts will remain at Keeneland where he has won all three of his starts.
PURELY HOT BRINGS VEGA BACK TO KEENELAND AFTER LONG ABSENCE
Prior to Friday, jockey Harry Vega had ridden only one race at Keeneland: a winning effort on the filly Xtra Heat against the boys in the Phoenix (G3) in 2002.
On Friday, Vega had two mounts. He finished third in the opener on 81-1 shot Stickthelanding and won the final race on Truly Amazing.
The obvious question was what made Vega return to Keeneland after all these years.
“Purely Hot,” Vega said of the mare he will ride in this afternoon’s $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). “Normally this time of year, I would ride in Maryland, at Penn National or Chicago.”
Vega, 48, rode Xtra Heat 11 times in her stellar career that produced a record of 35-26-5-2 for earnings of $2,389,635 and an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly in 2001. Vega was aboard for seven of those victories and five of Xtra Heat’s 11 graded stakes victories.
“They are both hard triers,” Vega said in comparing Purely Hot with Xtra Heat. “Plus everybody gets along. They have a plan and they follow the plan.”
Since arriving in Central Kentucky, Vega has taken time to visit Xtra Heat at Woodford Farm in Versailles.
“Maybe I can come back in 11 years and see Purely Hot and her babies,” Vega said.
DIXIANA BREEDERS’ FUTURITY CELEBRATES 100th RUNNING
Today’s $400,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) marks the 100th running of the race for 2-year-olds, making it one of the oldest stakes in North America.
In 1910, the Breeders’ Futurity was inaugurated at the Kentucky Association track in downtown Lexington and was run there every year through 1930. In 1931-33, the race was shifted to Latonia in Northern Kentucky. (The financially troubled Kentucky Association track closed permanently in 1933. Keeneland opened in October 1936.)
The future of the Breeders’ Futurity was secured in the fall of 1938 when the race was revived at Keeneland. The winner that year was Belair Stud’s Johnstown, who won the Kentucky Derby the next year. Johnstown is a member of the Racing Hall of Fame as are other Breeders’ Futurity winners Whirlaway (1940), Devil Diver (1941) and Round Table (1956). Whirlaway also won the Kentucky Derby.
Because of wartime restrictions, Keeneland’s spring and fall meets in 1943-45 were run at Churchill Downs. The winner of the 1943 running was that year’s champion 2-year-old filly, Durazna, whose dam, Myrtlewood, won three races during Keeneland’s inaugural nine-day meet in October 1936.
In 1948, the Breeders’ Futurity became a chapter in the future of the Thoroughbred industry. On the morning of Oct. 14, a plane carrying Fred Hooper's Olympia landed at Blue Grass Field across Versailles Road. Olympia, who is credited with being the first horse to arrive at Keeneland by air, nine days later won the Breeders’ Futurity by a nose over Johns Joy.
Over the years, some of the most famous names in Thoroughbred racing have won the Breeders’ Futurity. The Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm of Paris, Ky., leads all other owners with five wins in the race: Round Table (1956), Duel (1963), Dike (1968), Swale (1983) and Forty Niner (1987).
The race’s winningest trainer is Racing Hall of Fame member D. Wayne Lukas with six: Dance Floor (1991), Mountain Cat (1992), Honour and Glory (1995), Boston Harbor (1996), Cat Thief (1998) and Consolidator (2004). Lukas is Keeneland’s all-time leading trainer by wins (280) and stakes wins (50).
The jockey with the most victories in the race is five-time winner Don Brumfield, another member of the Hall of Fame. His winners are Hard Work (1969), Man of the Moment (1970), Annihilate ‘em (1972), Packer Captain (1974) and Gold Stage (1979). Brumfield won 716 races at Keeneland, second only to Pat Day with 918 victories here.
Keeneland holds the oldest stakes in the U.S., the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3), which was run for the 162nd time on Friday. Sum of the Parts won the race for the second consecutive year.
KEENELAND, FANS HONOR BUGLER BUCKY SALLEE
For more than 50 years Bucky Sallee made every race fan that walked the Keeneland grounds feel as though they were the most important person at the historic race track. On Friday, opening day of the fall meet, it was their turn to thank Bucky for all those memories. (Photos and video are available on Keeneland’s ftp site.)
Several hundred fans lined the walking ring to show their appreciation for Bucky during a pre-race ceremony, giving the longtime Keeneland bugler multiple ovations as he was honored for his contributions to the track. Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason presented Bucky with a specially designed Maker’s Mark bottle bearing his likeness and a plaque commemorating his new title as Bugler Emeritus.
In a fitting touch, the Keeneland jockey colony gathered around Bucky while wearing their silks and black top hats, with several shaking Bucky’s hand in gratitude. Ceremonies included a four-minute video tribute shown throughout Keeneland. Later that day, Bucky signed autographs and posed for pictures with scores of fans.
On Friday, jockey Luis Saez recorded his Keeneland debut when he rode Thomas Berry’s Unlimited Equine LLC’s Chinchero to win the fourth race. The 3-year-old Even the Score filly, who is trained by Tevis McCauley, won the 6½-furlong race on the main track by three lengths in 1:17.68.
“My first time here and my first win,” said Saez, who is based at Belmont Park and rode Will Take Charge to win this year’s Travers (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G2). “It’s beautiful. I love this track.” …
The first race of the fall meet was a doozy as Olympia Star’s 19-1 shot Araksia rallied from off the pace to win the first race and give trainer Gennadi Dorochenko his first Keeneland victory and provide rider Viktor Schulepov with a winner’s circle visit in his initial Keeneland start. It was the first victory from 22 mounts for Schulepov in 2013 in North America. …
Keeneland racing secretary Ben Huffman said Saturday morning that Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Emotional Kitten has been added to the list of invitees for next Saturday’s 30th running of the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
Winner of the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico in May, Emotional Kitten finished second in the American Oaks (G1) at Betfair Hollywood Park and third in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) in her past two starts. Wesley Ward trains Emotional Kitten.
Declining extended invitations to run were Topaze Blanche (IRE) and Wishing Gate.
Other invitees are Alterite (FR), Caroline Thomas, Concise (GB), Discreet Marq, I’m Already Sexy, Kitten’s Dumplings, Leigh Court, Nellie Cashman, Sarach and Say (IRE). Entries will be taken Wednesday.