Robert Dewitt’s Taletobetold just missed catching Stylish Wildcat in last year’s Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes at Keeneland.
On Friday, the four-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat gets another chance in the $100,000-added turf sprint at 5 ½ furlongs when she faces nine other fillies and mares, three-years-old and up.
Third in her most recent start in the Positive Gal at Belmont Park on September 5 for trainer Eddie Kenneally, Taletobetold has a record of 12-2-2-3 for earnings of $179,395 on the grass, a figure that is more than any other runner entered in Friday’s race. One of the grass victories came in the 2007 Open Mind at Churchill Downs.
The field for the 12th running of the Buffalo Trace Franklin County, from the hedge out, is as follows: American County (R. Albarado, 118 pounds), Katerbug (M. Mena, 118), Taletobetold (J. Leparoux, 118), Game N Laughin’ (C. Lanerie, 118), Adhsilver (B. Hernandez Jr., 116), Initforthekandy (J. McKee, 118), Sly Storm (J. Theriot, 116), Creative Design (R. Douglas, 116), Sea the Joy (S. Bridgmohan, 118) and Natalicat (D. Rodriguez, 118).
SUNDAY STAKES WINNERS EXIT TRIUMPHS IN FINE STYLE
Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable’s Carriage Trail came out of her smashing triumph in Sunday’s Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster in good order and shipped back to her home base at Belmont Park on Monday afternoon, according to Robbie Medina, assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey.
With the victory, Carriage Trail qualified for a spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) to be run October 24 at Santa Anita.
“I think the Breeders’ Cup is a pretty good possibility if she is fine,” said Medina, who indicated Carriage Trail could have some company shipping to California. “We have Dancing Forever (for the Grade 1 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf) and we are hoping Consequence can get in the (Breeders’ Cup) Juvenile Turf Fillies. She was fourth last week in the Miss Grillo (G3) and really should have won it.”
Bittel Road, who ran his unbeaten career streak to three with a victory in the Grade 3 Woodford Reserve Bourbon on Sunday, “came out of the race good,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “The plan now is for him to remain here and then fly to California on October 21.”
Sunday’s victory earned Bittel Road a spot in the starting gate for the October 25 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Already in California for Pletcher for the 25th World Championships are champion turf mare Wait a While, who won the Yellow Ribbon (G1) at Santa Anita in her most recent start, and Munnings, runner-up in Saturday’s Champagne (G1) at Belmont who shipped to California on Monday.
Pletcher also said that Team Valor Stables’ Unbridled Belle, who finished ninth as the favorite in Sunday’s Juddmonte Spinster, was doing fine on Monday.
“I have no immediate plans for her,” Pletcher said. “I have to get with (owner) Barry Irwin on a game plan.”
REGALLY BRED HABAYA TO TAKE “BIG STEP UP”
If it is true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, then Shadwell Stable’s homebred Habaya could be a star in the making.
The first foal to race from 2002 champion turf mare Golden Apples, Habaya broke her maiden at first asking on September 25 at Belmont by taking a seven-furlong grass event. On Thursday, she will break from the one hole under Richard Migliore in the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine at a 1 1/16 miles on the Keeneland turf course and the chance to earn a spot in the October 24 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita.
“She is taking a big step up, but there is not a lot of time left,” said Neal McLaughlin, brother of and assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “We know she is coming back awful quick and the Breeders’ Cup would be quick, but you can rest up over the winter.”
A daughter of Storm Cat, Habaya rallied from far off the pace to win her career debut by a half-length in a field of 11.
“She did not show a lot of speed in her debut and she raced a little green,” McLaughlin said. “But at the quarter-pole, that pedigree kicked in and got her to the wire.”
McLaughlin does not believe that Habaya’s future is limited to the grass despite the pedigree.
“I would not be afraid to try her on dirt,” McLaughlin said. “She trained well on the dirt at Saratoga and I thought she was pretty much equal on both surfaces. I would not be surprised if we come back here in the spring and she tries the Polytrack. She has trained well over this surface since she has been here.”
MAMBO IN SEATTLE PREPS FOR POSSIBLE FAYETTE RUN
Mambo in Seattle, runner-up to Colonel John in the Travers (G1) in August at Saratoga and fourth behind 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), worked a half-mile in :51.40 on Tuesday morning with Corey Lanerie up as he began preparation for a possible start in the October 25 Fayette (G3).
“This was his first work back since the Jockey Club Gold Cup and I just wanted to give him an easy half,” trainer Neil Howard said. “He will stay here because I want to see how he trains on the Polytrack. Right now he is tentatively slated for the Fayette, but after he works next week, we will know more for sure.”
Owned by Mrs. William Kilroy and William S. Farish, Mambo in Seattle made his racing debut last fall at Keeneland, finishing second in a 6 ½-furlong sprint. In his only other Polytrack start at Keeneland, Mambo in Seattle ran sixth in a 1 1/16-mile allowance event that served as his 2008 debut after a five-month layoff.
Three invitees to Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) tuned up for the 1 1/8-mile grass test with turf works Monday morning with the “dogs” up. Glen Hill Farm’s Closeout covered five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Tom Proctor, and Charles Laloggia’s Lickety Lemon, runner-up here in last year’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine, went a half-mile in :49.20 for trainer Mark Casse. IEAH Stables and Pegasus Holding Group Stables’ Ariege, winner of the Grade 2 Stonerside Beaumont here this spring, worked five furlongs on the main track in 1:00.40 for the QE II. … Godolphin Racing’s Hatta Fort (GB) worked a half-mile in :51 in advance of an expected appearance in Saturday’s $200,000 Perryville (G3). Hatta Fort ran second here in the spring in the Lafayette. … Mr. Nightlinger, owned by Carl Moore Management and Martin Racing Stable, worked five furlongs in 1:00 on the grass in preparation for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint to be run October 25 at Santa Anita.
BREEDERS’ CUP LEGENDS TOUR STOPS AT KEENELAND ON THURSDAY
Retired Racing Hall of Fame jockeys Pat Day, Angel Cordero Jr. and Laffit Pincay Jr. -- who were involved in the stunning finish of the inaugural Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) in 1984 -- will be at Keeneland on Thursday as part of Breeders' Cup Legends Tour. The tour, which celebrates the 25th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, is taking place this month at racetracks from coast to coast.
Festivities at Keeneland include a question-and-answer session with the public in the Walking Ring at 12:05 p.m. and a free autograph signing near the Paddock from 2-3 p.m.
During the 1984 Breeders' Cup at Hollywood Park, the Classic resulted in one of the most memorable finishes in racing history. Cordero rode favored Slew O' Gold. Day was aboard longshot Wild Again, who was supplemented to the race for $360,000. Pincay rode second choice Gate Dancer.
The three horses waged an intense battle for the lead throughout the stretch of the 1 1/4-mile race. Wild Again and Day crossed the finish line a head in front of Gate Dancer, with Slew O' Gold and Cordero a half-length behind in third. However, after a stewards' inquiry, Gate Dancer and Pincay were disqualified from second to third for interfering with Slew o' Gold. Wild Again paid $64.60 to win.
Keeneland's all-time leading jockey by wins (918) and stakes wins (95), Day retired in 2005 with 8,803 victories. He won his first Keeneland stakes in 1981 and scored four wins in the track's most famous race, the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on Taylor's Special (1984), Summer Squall (1990), Menifee (1999) and High Yield (2000). Day is the all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs, where he won the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Lil E. Tee in 1992.
Day was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991. Today, he is a spokesman for the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, which sanctions and oversees 77 chaplains who serve at tracks and training centers as well as breeding centers around the world.
Cordero recorded more than 7,000 victories in his career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. At Keeneland, he captured five stakes, including the Blue Grass on My Gallant in 1973 and on For the Moment in 1977. The New York-based rider also scored three wins in the Kentucky Derby.
Today, Cordero is the agent for Eclipse Award-winning jockey John Velazquez while he still exercises horses in the mornings for trainers Bobby Frankel and Todd Pletcher.
Pincay was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975 but did not retire from riding until 2003 with more than 9,500 winners. Pincay won his first stakes at Keeneland in 1966, and his 12 stakes victories at the track include the 1974 Blue Grass on Judger and the 2001 Blue Grass on Millennium Wind. Pincay also won five runnings of the Spinster (today the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster), scoring consecutive triumphs on Bayakoa (ARG) in 1989 and 1990. He is the only six-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey in history.
On October 18 at Santa Anita, Day and Cordero are scheduled to join six other retired Hall of Fame jockeys who are returning to the saddle to compete in the “Living Legends Race.” Santa Anita is hosting the 25th Breeders' Cup, which now covers two days of racing, on October 24-25.
TEST YOUR SKILL IN WEDNESDAY’S HANDICAPPING CONTEST
Each Wednesday, Keeneland and its partner Daily Racing Form will host a $2,500 Handicapping Contest on races 3-9. Entry fee is $10; the first 200 participants receive a free Daily Racing Form.
UPCOMING FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Wednesday, October 8 – Make-A-Wish Day – Keeneland and members of the Central Kentucky Thoroughbred industry are partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to hold Make-A-Wish Day. Nine Kentucky children with life-threatening diseases and their families will be guests of honor at Keeneland, enjoying a VIP lunch and an afternoon at the races. The children will present the trophy for the race named after the sponsoring farm and will watch the race from the winner’s circle.
Friday, October 10 – College Scholarship Day – Full-time college students register to win one of ten $1,000 scholarships or a Verizon Wireless Palm® Centro Smartphone to be given away after each race. The first 1,000 students to register for a scholarship will receive a free long-sleeved Keeneland College Scholarship Day T-shirt, courtesy of Vineyard Vines.
Friday, October 10 – Buffalo Trace Distillery Sweepstakes – Patrons can enter to win a VIP Distillery Experience. The first 2,000 patrons to register receive a free visor.
Friday, October 10 – Play the $200,000-guaranteed Pick 4 on races 7-10. Presented by TVG. .
2008 KEENELAND FALL MEET LEADERS
(Stats Through Sunday, October 5)
Current Meet Leading Jockeys
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Robby Albarado 26 4 6 4 $1,058,290
Rafael Bejarano 12 4 3 4 $710,052
Kent Desormeaux 18 3 0 2 $528,032
Jamie Theriot 16 2 3 1 $262,040
Julien Leparoux 26 2 2 1 $325,228
Rene Douglas 26 2 1 2 $105,718
Corey Lanerie 15 2 0 0 $ 50,796
*11 are tied with 1 win each
Current Meet Leading Trainers
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Bill Mott 8 2 1 2 $198,274
Ken McPeek 7 2 1 1 $356,365
Dale Romans 10 2 0 1 $432,200
*24 tied with 1 win each