Adele Dilschneider’s Terrain, who was elevated to first place via a double disqualification in the September 13 Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3), will face 10 rivals Saturday in the 95th running of the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Three of Terrain’s rivals from the Chicago race - Advice, Zion and His Greatness - are in the field as well as three runners from the yard of British trainer John Best: Deposer, Flashmans Papers and Square Eddie. A victory in the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity would earn the victor a spot in the starting gate for the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run October 25 at Santa Anita.
DEEP FIELD OF 12 ENTERED IN SHADWELL TURF MILE
A top quality field of 12 runners, including seven graded or group stakes winners in 2008, will go postward in Saturday’s 23rd running of the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), part of the Breeders’ Cup’s “Win and You’re In” Challenge. The winner will earn a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to be run October 25 at Santa Anita.
Bookending the field will be Shadwell Stable’s Shakis (IRE), repeat winner of the Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga, who will break from post position one, and Woodbine Mile (G1) winner Rahy’s Attorney, who will break from post position 12. Rahy’s Attorney is owned by Ellie Boje Farm, Mitch Peters, Dean Peters, Dean Read and Jean and Jim MacLellan.
Other 2008 graded or group stakes winners in the field are Buffalo Man, French Beret, Lord Admiral, Lovelace (GB) and Thorn Song.
The field for the Shadwell Turf Mile, from the hedge out, is as follows: Shakis (IRE) (R. Bejarano), Kingship (C. Velasquez), Thorn Song (R. Albarado), Elusive Fort (SAF) (R. Douglas), Lord Admiral (J. Theriot), War Monger (K. Desormeaux), Buffalo Man (C. Marquez Jr.), Lovelace (R. French), Society’s Chairman (J. Jones), French Beret (J. Leparoux), Karelian (M. Mena), and Rahy’s Attorney (S. Callaghan). Listed as an also-eligible is Museeb (R. Bejarano). All starters will carry 126 pounds.
DEFENDING CHAMP WILD GAMS FACES NINE FOES IN TCA
Wild Gams is back at Keeneland and is “much better than she has ever been” according to Ben Perkins, who is overseeing the five-year-old mare’s training for his son Ben Jr., for Saturday’s 28th running of the $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G3) at six furlongs on the main track.
Wild Gams won this race last fall and earned a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, and she is seeking to punch a return ticket to this year’s Sentient Flight Group Filly & Mare Sprint to be run October 24 at Santa Anita as part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge.
Wild Gams will face nine rivals Saturday and break from post position seven under Miguel Mena in a field that features among others Grade 1 winner Golden Doc A, multi-graded stakes winner Sugar Swirl and the speedy Indyanne, who has won four of career starts.
“We shipped her straight down here from Presque Isle so she could train over the track,” Ben Perkins Jr. said of the New Farm homebred who worked five furlongs in :59.40 here last Friday.
It was the first work for Wild Gams since she won the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes, a victory that pushed her earnings to $1,138,486. She had run second in the same race last year before her TCA triumph.
“We had given her the summer off last year to address some issues and all of those seem to be behind her now,” Perkins said. “I think she is better now at five than she was at four because she has filled in a lot this year.”
In last year’s Breeders’ Cup, Wild Gams turned in her poorest performance of the past two years, finishing ninth in a field of 10 over a sloppy track at Monmouth Park.
“We had put glue-on shoes on her and it was too late to change them,” Perkins said. “She never got hold of the track.”
The field for the Thoroughbred Club of America, from the rail out, is as follows: Indyanne (R. Albarado, 118 pounds), Dhanyata (IRE) (J. Castanon, 118), Golden Doc A (C. Borel, 122), Graeme Six (J. Leparoux, 120), Sugar Swirl (R. Bejarano, 122), Cash’s Girl (J. Caraballo, 120), Wild Gams (M. Mena, 120), Any Limit (C. Velasquez, 122), Sweet Hope (K. Desormeaux, 118), and Indian Delight (R. Douglas, 118).
MILLER ADAPTS ON THE FLY WITH DRIVING SNOW
Training Thoroughbreds is always a challenge, but Darrin Miller has been dealt a wild card this week in Driving Snow (GB).
Nominated to Sunday’s 18th running of the $200,000 Woodford Reserve Bourbon, a 1 1/16-mile grass test that earns the winner a berth in the October 25 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, Driving Snow just arrived in the country on Saturday from Ireland.
“He cleared quarantine on Monday and I took him out for a jog that day and he has galloped the past two days,” Miller said. “I am going to work him on the turf tomorrow.”
Driving Snow was purchased by Silverton Hill Farm after the gray colt had four grass starts in Ireland. A son of Verglas (IRE), Driving Snow broke his maiden in his second start in a field of 18 and followed that up with third- and fourth-place showings in stakes company.
“In his maiden victory, he beat some well-regarded horses,” Miller said of the impetus for the purchase.
“He seems to have shipped well and has handled everything fine,” Miller added. “There is not a lot you can do. I have talked with the people who had him over there and they said he likes to run in mid-pack and find his way to the wire. It is a plus that he has raced in good-sized fields.”
Robby Albarado is slated to ride Driving Snow on Sunday and present Miller with the chance to return to Santa Anita for the first time since the 2003 Breeders’ Cup when he saddled Great Notion for Silverton Hill in the Sprint (G1).
“If he wins, we would have to look at the Breeders’ Cup very hard,” Miller said. “That would be a possibility, but we would have to see how he comes out of it.”
TWELVE SPRINTERS TAKE ON PHOENIX
Twelve sprinters will face off in Saturday's Phoenix (G3), a six-furlong race that will be run for the 156th time. The Phoenix is the oldest stakes race in the United States, dating to 1831 at the Kentucky Association track near downtown Lexington.
Among the starters are three horses from Woodbine, which also has a Polytrack racing surface: Disfunction, a Grade 3 winner who is exiting an allowance win on September 6; stakes winner Emirates to Dubai, who was fifth in the Play the King (G2) on August 23; and Legal Move, who is coming off a win in the six-furlong Kenora. Five other starters have raced on an artificial surface.
Among the starters who haven't raced on an artificial surface are Talent Search, who has not raced at all since November 2007 when he was second in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G1) after finishing second in the Vosburgh (G1) and third in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), and Greeley's Conquest, who was second in the Forego (G1) at Saratoga in his most recent race.
The field for the Phoenix, from the rail out, is as follows: Sing Baby Sing (J. Shepherd, 118 pounds), Disfunction (K. Desormeaux, 120), Pictural (C. Velasquez, 118), Nakayama Arashi (M. Straight, 118), Talent Search (R. Bejarano, 118), Emirates to Dubai (C. Lanerie, 118), Ravalo (C. Borel, 118), Noonmark (J. Leparoux, 120), Carnacks Choice (R. Douglas, 118), Legal Move (M. Mena, 120), Greeley's Conquest (J. Theriot, 118) and Semaphore Man (R. Albarado, 120).
FORT PRADO, HOLD THE SALT CONTINUE RIVALRY IN WOODFORD
Team Block's Fort Prado, who won the Woodford in October 2007, and Cynthia Knight's Hold the Salt, who defeated Fort Prado in the Kentucky Cup Turf Dash at Kentucky Downs on September 13, head the field of 12 horses entered in Saturday's 12th running of the $150,000 Woodford. The 5 1/2-furlong race will be run on the Keeneland turf course.
A six-year-old Salt Lake gelding, Hold the Salt is the 120-pound highweight for the Woodford and will break from post nine with Jesus Castanon aboard. Hold the Salt won the Kentucky Cup Turf Dash for the second consecutive year, both performances coming in course-record time.
Among the other Woodford starters is Atticus Kristy, who will run in the Woodford for the third time. The Atticus gelding was third last year and second in 2005.
The field for the Woodford, from the rail out, is as follows: Bold Start (K. Desormeaux, 118 pounds), Fort Prado (R. Bejarano, 118), Chamberlain Bridge (J. Theriot, 118), Atticus Kristy (B. Hernandez Jr., 118), Starvinsky (R. Douglas, 118), Distinguish (J. Shepherd, 118), Rouse the Cat (C. VanHassel, 118), Smart Enough (R. Albarado, 118), Hold the Salt (J. Castanon, 120), Canteen (M. Mena, 118), Run Sully Run (C. Marquez Jr., 116) and Magic Texan (C. Lanerie, 118).
On the also-eligible list are Knights Cross and Native Ruler.
RUTHERIENNE BACK AT KEENELAND FOR FIRST LADY
On Tuesday, Virginia Kraft Payson's homebred Grade 1 winner Rutherienne arrived at Keeneland, where she won the Jenny Wiley (G2) in April, and she is part of the outstanding field of eight horses in Friday's $400,000 First Lady (G1) at a mile on turf. The five-year-old daughter of Pulpit will start from post position three in the First Lady, which includes champion Dreaming of Anna and two of Rutherienne's recent rivals, Grade 1 winners Precious Kitten and Forever Together.
“The race set up the way we thought it would,” said Ben Colebrook, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, who saddled 2007 First Lady winner Vacare. “I think overall it should be pretty good because there should be a pretty strong pace. (Rutherienne) should be able to tuck in and hopefully get a good trip.”
After the 1 1/16-mile Jenny Wiley, Rutherienne finished third in her next four races. In May at Hollywood, she ran behind winner Precious Kitten in the Gamely (G1). She then ran at Colonial in the All Along (G3) in June and made her next two starts at Saratoga, where she ran behind Forever Together in the Diana (G1) in July and behind Wait a While in the Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga in August.
In three seasons of racing, Rutherienne has won nine races, including eight stakes, in 15 starts. Her wins have come at distances of 7 ½ furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Rutherienne has earned $872,255.
“She's very smart, but she's tough,” said Colebrook, who was with Rutherienne in New York this summer. “You don't want to walk in her stall without her knowing. She's headstrong, but I think that's what makes her so tough.”
On Friday, Colebrook will saddle Rutherienne and another Clement runner, Duchess Royale (IRE), who will start in an allowance race. Colebrook said Clement will send additional horses to Keeneland as the meet progresses. Among them is Lake Placid (G2) runner-up Rosa Grace (GB), who could race in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) on October 11 or the Pin Oak Valley View (G3) on October 17.
Trainer Steve Klesaris, who will send out Mani Bhavan in Friday’s $500,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1), is sitting on 999 career wins. He has no horses entered Wednesday or Thursday or anywhere else on Friday, so Mani Bhavan could secure the first Keeneland stakes win for Klesaris as well as a milestone victory on Friday. Mani Bhavan was a $30,000 2007 Keeneland September Sales graduate.
Notable works Wednesday morning included Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Zion, prepping for Saturday’s Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1) by working a half-mile in :48.80, and undefeated Saratoga Special (G2) winner Run Away and Hide, owned by Ron Kirk, Michael Riordan and John Bates, who drilled five furlongs in :59.
KEENELAND WINS SIMULCAST AWARD DAYS BEFORE DEBUTING HDTV, SOUND SYSTEM
On Tuesday during the International Simulcast Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, Keeneland received the 2008 Simulcast Award for having the industry's best simulcast production. Keeneland entered its simulcast coverage of the Commonwealth Stakes (G2) from April.
The conference is held by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, Harness Tracks of America and American Greyhound Track Operators Association. Keeneland also won the Simulcast Award in 2003.
“We challenge our crew to do a great job, and they always respond,” said G.D. Hieronymus, Keeneland's director of broadcast services. “We'd like to thank the TRA for supporting simulcast ventures and the judges who selected Keeneland, and we look forward to entering the competition again next year after we've rolled out our new high-definition capabilities.”
On Friday, opening day of the fall meeting, Keeneland will become the first track in North America to provide live race coverage and limited simulcasts in high-definition format. Keeneland has renovated its broadcast center to produce HD racing.
Keeneland also is debuting a new sound system this season. Among the features of the all-digital DSP (digital signal processing) system is the ability to adjust the volume level in each area of the racetrack based on the noise of the crowd. The system also uses less electricity due to more efficient components and improved design.
OPENING WEEKEND SPECIAL EVENTS
Friday, October 3 - Darley Alcibiades Giveaway - The first 3,000 patrons with paid admission receive a free Darley umbrella.
Saturday, October 4 – Breakfast With the Works – Take a behind-the-scenes look at racing’s stars during Breakfast With the Works, from 7 – 8:30 a.m. Enjoy a Southern-style breakfast and free children’s activities. This Saturday, Keeneland will feature a paddock demonstration by Old Friends, a facility for retired Thoroughbreds in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Saturday Handicapping Seminars – Listen to expert handicappers trackside each Saturday during the meet, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, October 5 - Keeneland will simulcast four races, including the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Prix d’Opera, from Longchamp near Paris. Post time for the Prix d’Opera is 10 a.m., followed by the Arc at 10:40 a.m.