Augustin Stable’s Forever Together drew post position five and will face eight rivals on Saturday when she attempts to become the first repeat winner of the $400,000 First Lady (G1) for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at a mile on the Haggin Turf Course.
The First Lady will go as the seventh race on the 10-race card with a 4:35 p.m. ET post time. The First Lady is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) to be run November 6 at Santa Anita. Forever Together won the Filly & Mare Turf last year.
The other Grade 1 winner in the field is Diamondrella (GB), who defeated Forever Together in the Just A Game at Belmont Park going a mile on June 6. Trained by Angel Penna Jr. for IEAH Stables, Diamondrella won the Giant’s Causeway at Keeneland in April. Rajiv Maragh has the riding assignment and will break from post position eight.
The other Keeneland graded stakes winner in the First Lady field is Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Acoma, winner of last fall’s Pin Oak Valley View (G3). Trained by David Carroll, Acoma will be ridden by Robby Albarado and break from post position one.
The field for the First Lady, from the hedge out, is as follows: Acoma (Robby Albarado), Danzon (Miguel Mena), Cure for Sale (ARG) (Shaun Bridgmohan), Tizaqueena (Jamie Theriot), Forever Together (Julien Leparoux), My Princess Jess (Jose Lezcano), Hotlantic (Jose Figueroa), Diamondrella (GB) (Rajiv Maragh) and Superior Storm (Luis Quinonez). All starters carry 123 pounds.
OVERFLOW FIELD OF 16 ENTERED IN DIXIANA BREEDERS’ FUTURITY
Dixie Band and Backtalk, the two most accomplished runners in a field of 16 entered for the 96th running of the $500,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for 2-year-olds, drew the inside post positions for Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile race. The race is a “Win and You’re In” event for the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run November 7 at Santa Anita.
Two Breeders’ Futurity winners have won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Boston Harbor in 1996 and Favorite Trick in 1997. The Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity will go as Saturday’s eighth race with a 5:10 p.m. post time.
Dixie Band, owned by Darrell and Evelyn Yates and trained by Wayne Catalano, is undefeated in three starts. The son of Dixie Union has made all of his starts on the Polytrack at Arlington Park and in his past two outings won the Spectacular Bid at seven furlongs and the Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3) at a mile. David Flores, who was aboard for the Arlington-Washington Futurity score, has the call Saturday.
Gold Mark Farm’s Backtalk, a half-brother to 2008 Ashland (G1) runner-up Bsharpsonata, has won three of four starts on dirt including the Bashford Manor (G3) over six furlongs at Churchill Downs and the Sanford (G2) at six furlongs at Saratoga. Trained by Tom Amoss, Backtalk will be ridden by Robby Albarado.
The field for the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity, from the rail out, is as follows: Dixie Band (David Flores), Backtalk (Robby Albarado), No Shenanigans (Kent Desormeaux), Hockley (Jose Lezcano), Callide Valley (Rajiv Maragh), Noble’s Promise (Willie Martinez), Make Music for Me (Tyler Baze), Aikenite (Alan Garcia), Hurricane Ike (Jesus Castanon), Piscitelli (Elvis Trujillo), Soundman (Jamie Theriot), Roman Invasion (Joe Bravo), Wildcat Nation (Terry Thompson) and Stately Victor (Julien Leparoux). The also-eligibles are Looks Purrrfect (Shaun Bridgmohan) and Raging Wit (Kent Desormeaux). All starters will carry 121 pounds.
MR. SIDNEY TOPS FIELD OF NINE FOR SHADWELL TURF MILE
Circle E Racing’s Mr. Sidney, winner of this spring’s Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) over the Haggin Turf Course, headlines a cast of nine horses entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 24th running of the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).
The Shadwell Turf Mile will be the ninth race on Saturday’s card with a 5:45 p.m. post time. The race is a “Win and You’re In” event for the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to be run November 7 at Santa Anita. The only Turf Mile winner to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile is Steinlen (GB), who turned the trick in 1989.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and ridden by Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, Mr. Sidney also won the Firecracker (G2) at a mile at Churchill Downs this summer. Mr. Sidney is attempting to become the first horse to win the Maker’s Mark Mile and Shadwell Turf Mile in the same year. He will break from post position two.
Mr. Sidney is one of two Grade 1 winners in the race. The other is IEAH Stables and the Resolute Group’s Court Vision, who captured the Hollywood Derby last November. Trained by Rick Dutrow, Court Vision will break from post position nine and be ridden by Robby Albarado, who won last year’s race on Thorn Song.
The field for the Shadwell Turf Mile, from the hedge out, is as follows: Yorktown (FR) (Joe Bravo, 126 pounds), Mr. Sidney (Kent Desormeaux, 126), Wise River (Jamie Theriot, 126), Karelian (Rajiv Maragh, 126), Battle of Hastings (GB) (Tyler Baze, 123), Sterwins (Shaun Bridgmohan, 126), Justenuffhumor (Alan Garcia, 126), Tizdejavu (Julien Leparoux, 126) and Court Vision (Robby Albarado, 126).
SEVEN TAKE ON INFORMED DECISION IN THOROUGHBRED CLUB OF AMERICA
Augustin Stable’s Informed Decision, who has nine career wins and holds Keeneland’s seven-furlong track record, drew the outside post position eight in Saturday's 29th running of the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). Ridden by Julien Leparoux, the 4-year-old daughter of Monarchos is the 124-pound highweight for the six-furlong stakes on Polytrack.
The Thoroughbred Club of America, which was elevated to Grade 2 status for 2009, is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) on November 6 at Santa Anita.
Trained by Jonathan Sheppard, Informed Decision set the Keeneland track record of 1:20.86 when she won the Raven Run (G2) a year ago in her final race of 2008. This year, she has four wins in five starts, including the seven-furlong Vinery Madison (G1) in April at Keeneland and most recently the 6 1/2-furlong Presque Isle Downs Masters (G3) on September 12.
Informed Decision’s rivals include Carlsbad, a multiple graded stakes winner in Southern California who is coming off a win in the 6 1/2-furlong Rancho Bernardo (G3) over Del Mar’s Polytrack on September 4. Jeff Mullins trains the 3-year-old, Arizona-bred daughter of Rocky Bar for breeder-owner Dennis E. Weir.
The field for the Thoroughbred Club of America, from the rail out, is as follows: Awesome Ashley (David Flores, 118 pounds), Life Lesson (Jose Lezcano, 118), Porte Bonheur (Rajiv Maragh, 122), Pious Ashley (Kent Desormeaux, 118), Bold Union (Jose Velez Jr., 118), Carlsbad (Tyler Baze, 120), Selva (Robby Albarado, 116) and Informed Decision (Julien Leparoux, 124).
SAVVY CLAIM SILVER TIMBER TOPWEIGHT IN WOODFORD IN KENTUCKY DEBUT
In April at Gulfstream Park, trainer Chad Brown claimed New York-bred Silver Timber for $25,000 and in July saddled him to score the gelding’s first stakes win in the Jaipur (G3) at Belmont Park. Now Silver Timber is the 124-pound highweight for Saturday’s 13th running of the $125,000 Woodford (G3). The 6-year-old gelding by Prime Timber drew post position seven in the field of nine for the 5 1/2-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and up.
Silver Timber, who races for Michael Dubb, earlier in his career placed in several turf sprints for New York-breds, and he broke Saratoga’s
5 1/2-furlong course record in 2006. He is coming off a second-place finish against New York-breds in the 5 1/2-furlong Commentator Stakes.
The Woodford marks the Kentucky racing debut for Silver Timber, who will face Keeneland stakes winners Fort Prado and Mr. Nightlinger in the Woodford. Team Block’s Fort Prado, an 8-year-old son of El Prado (IRE), won the Woodford in 2007 and was third last year to Chamberlain Bridge. Trained by Chris Block, Fort Prado is coming off a win in the six-furlong Kentucky Cup Turf Dash on September 19.
Carl R. Moore Management LLC and Martin Racing Stable’s Mr. Nightlinger, who is trained by Bret Calhoun, won the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown (G3) over the Keeneland turf course in 2008 and was fifth in the race in April. He is coming off a third-place finish to stablemate Chamberlain Bridge in the five-furlong Turf Monster Stakes at Philadelphia Park on September 7.
The field for the Woodford, from the hedge out, is as follows: Luck Money (IRE) (Christian Rojas, 118 pounds), Mr. Nightlinger (Jamie Theriot, 120), Stradivinsky (E.T. Baird, 118), Forest Tour (James Graham, 116), Bullet From Abroad (Robby Albarado, 118), Due Date (Jose Lezcano, 118), Silver Timber (Julien Leparoux, 124), Fort Prado (Jesus Castanon, 120) and Goldzar (Miguel Mena, 118).
JUSTENUFFHUMOR SHOOTS FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT WIN ON SATURDAY
What a difference a year makes, especially in the case of Darley Stable’s Justenuffhumor.
Justenuffhumor finished ninth in a field of 11 in his debut at Keeneland on October 23, 2008. Fast forward 50 weeks and the 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt comes into Saturday’s 24th running of the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) on a six-race win streak.
“He knows how to get there and his turn of foot is exciting,” said Neal McLaughlin, brother of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
A half-brother to champion Dreaming of Anna and multiple stakes winner Lewis Michael, Justenuffhumor turned in a debut that was anything but exciting.
“He was really struggling at the gate last year, and the gate crew did a tremendous job with him,” McLaughlin said. “If they had not spent the time with him, there is no telling where we would be now.
“With his breeding, he can run on anything and I’d hate to rule out Polytrack because of the one race, but his head just wasn’t into it.”
Justenuffhumor resurfaced nearly three months later at Gulfstream Park and broke his maiden in a one-mile turf test.
“Since he won on grass, we decided to leave him there,” McLaughlin said. “His next race down there was probably his most impressive. He was last at the top of the stretch in a field of 12 and passed 11 horses in a quarter of a mile and won by two lengths.”
After allowance victories at Aqueduct and Belmont, Justenuffhumor entered the graded stakes ranks at Saratoga and responded with Grade 2 victories in the Fourstardave at 1 1/16 miles and the Bernard Baruch at 1 1/8 miles.
Three of Justenuffhumor’s six victories have come on courses labeled as “good,” so a rainy weekend forecast is no cause for concern to McLaughlin.
“Soft ground might be good for us,” McLaughlin said. “He is maybe better at a little more than a mile, so a demanding, soft course may help us. Of course it will help Mr. Sidney (a two-time graded stakes winner on yielding turf), too.”
The Shadwell Turf Mile is a “Win and You’re In” race for the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to be run November 7 at Santa Anita.
PERFECT FOR KENTUCKY, ACOMA TO PUT STREAK ON THE LINE IN FIRST LADY
The numbers tell an interesting story about Acoma, owned by Helen Alexander and Helen Groves.
Acoma is 2-for-2 at Keeneland, 3-for-3 on the turf and 6-for-6 in the state of Kentucky. All of those runs of perfection will be put to the test Saturday when the 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker goes postward for the 12th running of the $400,000 First Lady (G1) at a mile on the Haggin Turf Course.
Acoma shipped to Keeneland on Tuesday from her home base at Churchill Downs, where she has been since finishing sixth in the Delaware Handicap (G2) at Delaware Park on July 19.
“She never ran a step in that race and it knocked her out,” trainer David Carroll said. “I am happy to get her back to where she was.”
Acoma has won on Polytrack and turf at Keeneland. She broke her maiden in her second career start during the 2008 spring meet on the main track and came back last fall to win the Pin Oak Valley View (G3) in her grass debut.
Acoma completed her major training for the First Lady with a :50.40 half-mile move Monday at Churchill Downs. Prior to that, Acoma worked five furlongs in 1:00 on September 27, the fastest of 37 moves at the distance that morning.
Carroll hopes to get a good start on the weekend on Friday when he sends out maiden winner Quick Breeze in the Darley Alcibiades (G1).
“She is an interesting filly,” Carroll said of the daughter of Ghostzapper, who is owned by My Meadowview Farm. “The first time she ran it was in the slop at Churchill Downs and she really ran two races in one. She did not like the mud at all and did not do any running until the last quarter mile when she got in the clear and closed well even though the chart doesn’t show it.
“She’s a small filly and was a little immature, so we gave her the summer off. At Arlington (on September 11), she won going a mile on the Polytrack.”
Quick Breeze will break from post position 11 in the 1 1/16-mile test under Corey Lanerie.
“There is a lot of speed in there and I know she will close. There is no pressure on us,” Carroll said. “I wish we were a little more to the inside, but I know she will drop back and Corey should able to save ground.”
FOREVER TOGETHER SIZZLES IN FINAL FIRST LADY WORK
Augustin Stable’s champion Forever Together showed her readiness for Saturday’s 12th running of the $400,000 First Lady (G1) by working a half-mile in :46 on the main track Wednesday morning. It was the fastest time 31 at that distance.
Working well off the rail, the 5-year-old daughter of Belong to Me galloped out five furlongs in :58.40 and six furlongs in 1:14 for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Forever Together will be attempting to become the first two-time winner of the First Lady, a mile race over the Haggin Turf Course. Forever Together used the 2008 First Lady as a springboard to victory in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita.
The First Lady is a “Win and You’re In” race for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf to be run November 6 at Santa Anita.
Also working Wednesday morning was Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Blame, who covered five furlongs in 1:01 with a six-furlong out time of 1:14 for trainer Al Stall Jr. Runner-up in the September 19 Super Derby (G2) at Louisiana Downs in his most recent start, Blame is being pointed to the October 31 Fayette (G2) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
CANADIAN HORSE OF THE YEAR FATAL BULLET SET FOR KEENELAND DEBUT IN PHOENIX
Bear Stables Ltd.’s Fatal Bullet, runner-up in last year’s Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) and Canada's reigning Horse of the Year, will make his Keeneland debut in Friday's $250,000 Phoenix (G3) as he launches a return trip to the Breeders’ Cup. Ridden by Eurico Da Silva, the 4-year-old Red Bullet gelding is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Phoenix and will break from post position seven in the field of 10 3-year-old and older horses going six furlongs on Polytrack. The surface, over which Fatal Bullet trains at his Woodbine base, was a factor in his Keeneland appearance.
“As he gets older, he’s even working better on the Poly than he does on the dirt,” trainer Reade Baker said. “This (running in the Phoenix) was an obvious choice, timing-wise, for the Breeders’ Cup.”
After last year’s Breeders’ Cup, Fatal Bullet returned to Santa Anita for the Malibu (G1), but did not race. “We decided to ship him home and dedicate ourselves to having him as good as we could have him for the Breeders’ Cup,” Baker said.
Fatal Bullet made his 2009 debut on July 19 at Woodbine, winning the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture for the second consecutive year. He then was sixth in the A.G. Vanderbilt (G2) on August 9 at Saratoga behind Fabulous Strike. Last Saturday, the gelding breezed five furlongs at Woodbine in :59.80, and he arrived at Keeneland on Monday evening.
Fatal Bullet, who has won eight of 13 races and earned $853,636 in his career, will carry 118 pounds in the Phoenix, which also includes last year’s upset winner, Sing Baby Sing, and Grade 2 winner My Pal Charlie. The race’s 122-pound highweight is Grade 1 winner Capt. Candyman Can, who is 5-2 in the morning line.
“He’s got speed; he can be anywhere he wants to be,” Baker said about Fatal Bullet. “He’s a very, very kind horse, so there’s no problem doing whatever you want with him. Even though he’s been on the lead, he’s not some headstrong horse that’s going to drag you there. He goes wherever you want him to go.”
A victory in the Phoenix would mark Baker’s second stakes win at Keeneland in just 12 starts at the track since 1990. In October 2007, he won the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine with Wind in My Wings. In April 2008, Baker sent out Bear Stables’ Kentucky Bear to finish third in Monba’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1).
A total of 114 horses were entered Tuesday for Friday’s opening-day 10-race card that features two stakes, the 58th running of the Darley Alcibiades (G1) and the 157th running of the Phoenix (G3). Both stakes are “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on November 6 and 7 at Santa Anita. Three Alcibiades winners – Eliza (1992), Countess Diana (1997) and Silverbulletday (1998) – have gone on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). No Phoenix winner has won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Saturday’s 10-race card drew 107 entries on Wednesday.