Edited Keeneland Staff Release — Gary Broad’s Vergara and e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Transient (GB), who ran 1-2 in the Aristocrat Ladies Marathon (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 9, headline a field of nine fillies and mares entered Sunday for the 32nd running of the $300,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) to be run at 1½ miles on the grass Sunday, Oct. 22.
Trained by Graham Motion, who has won the Rood & Riddle Dowager three times, Vergara prevailed by three-quarters of a length at Kentucky Downs to earn her first victory of 2023 in four races. Joel Rosario, who was aboard that day, retains the mount and will exit post position 3.
Motion will have a second starter in Team Valor International’s Romagna Mia (GB). A Group 2 winner last year in Italy, Romagna Mia was third in the Beverly D. (G1) in her U.S. debut at Colonial Downs on Aug. 12. John Velazquez has the mount and will exit post 6.
Saffie Joseph Jr. trains Transient, who is three times graded-stakes placed in 2023. Tyler Gaffalione retains the mount and will break from post position 9.
The field for the Rood & Riddle Dowager, with riders and weights from the rail out, is: Henrietta Topham (James Graham, 121 pounds), Viva La Red (Vincent Cheminaud, 121), Vergara (Rosario, 123), Be Up (Luis Saez, 121), Personal Best (Flavien Prat, 123), Romagna Mia (GB) (Velazquez, 121), Loved Reiko (Julien Leparoux, 121), Lovely Princess (Brian Hernandez Jr., 121), Transient (GB) (Gaffalione, 121).
BREEDERS’ CUP NEXT STOP FOR QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP PRESENTED BY DIXIANA WINNER MAWJ (IRE)
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor was traveling Sunday, but his Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana winner Mawj (IRE) was spending a quiet morning grazing outside Barn 11 the day after her front-running half-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf race.
Owned and bred by Godolphin, Mawj is headed next to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships with the $2 million FanDuel Mile (G1) against males or the $2 million Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf (G1) going 1¼ miles as her options for Nov. 4.
Her departure date from Keeneland is to be determined. Mawj gave bin Suroor his 500th grade or group victory and his second stakes win at Keeneland. His previous victory came with Hatta Fort (GB) for Godolphin in the 2008 Perryville (G3).
Mawj held off a late bid from Everest Racing’s Lindy (FR) to secure a second consecutive Grade/Group 1 victory following her score in the English One Thousand Guineas in May.
“She ran too good to lose,” trainer Brendan Walsh said of Lindy. “I’ll talk it over with the boys and come up with a plan for her.”
A half-length back of Lindy in third was RyZan Sun Racing and Madaket Stables’ Mission of Joy, who made a run at Mawj in the stretch but was passed late to be denied second.
“She probably will head back to Fair Hill (Training Center in Maryland) on Wednesday,” said Alice Clapham, assistant to trainer Graham Motion. “Everybody was happy with her and she couldn’t have run any better. And now she is Grade 1-placed.”
Elusive Princess (FR), who finished fourth as the second choice in the field of nine, is scheduled to return to Fair Hill on Monday with plans to be determined, according to trainer Arnaud Delacour.
RAVEN RUN IS NEXT: Dale Ladner and Brett Brinkman have been down this road before.
Two years ago, they came to Keeneland for the Lexus Raven Run (G2) with a filly they co-bred named Cilla, who had just posted a breakthrough, Grade 2 victory in the Prioress at Saratoga.
This time around, the two are co-breeders on Cilla’s half-sister Alva Starr, who comes in for the Lexus Raven Run off an 8¾-length victory in the Prioress.
“Alva Starr is faster than Cilla,” said Brinkman, who trained both fillies for Ladner. “They are a little bit different in disposition in that Alva Starr can be a little standoffish.”
Cilla was making her 11th career start when she finished third in the Lexus Raven Run. Alva Starr will be making only her sixth when she goes postward Saturday.
“She won her first start last year at Delaware Park, and I brought her here for a stakes and was not happy with how she was doing,” Brinkman said. “So I scratched her and backed off her, and it has worked out well. You can tell a big difference in her maturity.”
On Sunday morning, Alva Starr put in her final work for the Lexus Raven Run with a half-mile breeze in :49 with Tyler Gaffalione up.
“I was looking for an easy :48 or :49 and let Tyler get a feel for her,” Brinkman said. “Nothing like last week (a 5-furlong breeze in :58.)”
This is not the first time a Gaffalione has ridden for Brinkman.
“Tyler’s dad (Steve) rode for me at Calder when I first got my trainer’s license,” Brinkman said.
Alva Starr’s dam is Sittin At the Bar, who also has produced stakes winners Club Car and Jack the Umpire, the latter of which began his career with Ladner and Brinkman.
“Dale names most of the horses,” Brinkman said. “Jack the Umpire was named after an uncle of his who was a high school baseball umpire.”
And Alva Starr?
“They filmed the movie ‘This Property Is Condemned’ (in 1966) in his hometown of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and the high school kids got to hang out with the actors,” Brinkman said. “Alva Starr’s character was played by Natalie Wood.”
Jockey Martin Chuan notched his initial Keeneland victory Saturday afternoon when he guided West Point Thoroughbreds’ Stretch Ride to win the third race for trainer Dale Romans.
SUNDAY WORK TAB
Andrew and Rania Warren’s Raise Cain worked a bullet three-eighths in :35.40 over the main track for trainer Ben Colebrook in preparation for Saturday’s Perryville (L). … Belladonna Racing, Edward Hudson Jr., West Point Thoroughbreds, Nice Guys Stables and Twin Brook Stables’ Vahva worked a half-mile in :49.40 on the main track for trainer Cherie DeVaux for Saturday’s Lexus Raven Run (G2) … Miacomet Farm’s Heavenly Sunday worked a half-mile over a turf course labeled as good in :49 for trainer Brad Cox for a possible run in the Bank of America Valley View (G3) on Oct. 27.
KEENELAND TO SPOTLIGHT PIONEERING JOCKEY CHERYL WHITE
Cheryl White, who in 1971 became the first Black female jockey in this country to win a race, is the subject of two events taking place at Keeneland on Saturday, Oct 21.
From 8-10 a.m., Keeneland will spotlight White’s historic career during Sunrise Trackside, a free, family-friendly event. Children will learn what it takes to ride a racehorse, and Keeneland will donate new Breyer sets featuring a figure of White, model horse Jetolara (her first winning mount) and a copy of the new book The Jockey and Her Horse, co-written by her brother Raymond White Jr.,to a few lucky winners.
From 1-3 p.m., The Keeneland Shop and Keeneland Library will host a signing with Raymond White Jr. outside The Keeneland Shop. Cheryl White Breyer sets and copies of The Jockey & Her Horse will be available to purchase.
White learned about racing from her father, jockey and trainer Raymond White Sr., and her mother, Doris Gorske, a Polish breeder and owner. At 17, White secured her first mount at Thistledown in Ohio on June 15, 1971, just a few years after jockey licenses were first issued to women in America. Her mount that day, Ace Reward, was trained by her father. Despite their impressive initial sprint, the pair finished last.
Nearly three months later, White rode her first winner, Jetolara, at West Virginia’s Waterford Park on Sept. 2, 1971. Jetolara was trained and owned by White’s father and bred by White’s mother.
White’s trailblazing rides over the summer of 1971 made headlines and landed her on the cover of the July 29, 1971, issue of Jet magazine. Over her riding career that spanned more than 20 years, White accumulated 227 wins on Thoroughbreds at primarily Midwestern tracks before moving to California in 1974 to ride American Quarter Horses and Appaloosas on the county fair circuit. White topped the Appaloosa Horse Club’s jockey standings in 1977, 1983, 1984 and 1985.
After riding her last winner at Los Alamitos on July 25, 1992, White retired with more than 750 career wins. She became a racing steward in California before returning to Ohio to join the racing office at Mahoning Valley Race Course in 2014. During Keeneland’s 2014 Spring Meet, White joined a number of notable retired and active female jockeys here for the “Ladies of the Turf” celebration on Horses and Hope Pink Day.
White, who worked at Ohio tracks until her death in 2019, is included in the Library’s fascinating exhibit, The Heart of the Turf: Racing’s Black Pioneers, whichhighlights the lives and careers of 80 African Americans working in the Thoroughbred industry from the mid-1800s to the present.
Located on Keeneland’s campus, Keeneland Library is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To reach the Library, enter Keeneland at Gate 1 on Keeneland Blvd. and take the first right on Entertainment Ct. The Library is to the left of the Keene Barn and Entertainment Center. The exhibit is free.
Contact Roda Ferraro at firstname.lastname@example.org to book exhibit youth and adult educational programs.
FALL MEET LEADERS
Through Oct. 14 (7 days of 17-day season)
Trainers Steve Asmussen, Brad Cox and Wesley Ward have three wins each.
|Godolphin (Mohammed Al Maktoum et al)||3|
|Juddmonte (Fahad bin Khalid)||2|
|Rigney Racing (Richard Rigney)||2|