Edited Keeneland Staff Release — Wonder Wheel punched her ticket to the $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run Nov. 4 here at Keeneland with a wire-to-wire victory in Friday’s $500,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1). The triumph in the “Win and You’re In” race gives Wonder Wheel a fees-paid entry in the Juvenile Fillies.
Trainer Mark Casse said the filly will remain at Keeneland to train up to the Breeders’ Cup.
“She looks great this morning,” Casse said. “She was here in the spring (with three published works in April and May) and she likes it.”
This is Casse’s fourth win in the Darley Alcibiades, following Spring in the Air (2012), My Conquestadory (2013) and Heavenly Love (2017).
“She’s as good as any of them (his previous Alcibiades winners),” Casse said about Wonder Wheel. “From the day we started breezing her, I told the Greens (Leonard and Lois of D.J. Stable), ‘I think this one could be special’, but you never know because it’s all a progression.”
Wonder Wheel, a daughter of Into Mischief, sold to D.J. Stable for $275,000 at Keeneland’s 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. She was consigned by Clearsky Farms, which bred her with Three Chimneys Farm.
“I have a (stakes-winning) filly called Make Mischief who’s by Into Mischief and she’s made just shy of $800,000 now,” Casse said. “She (Wonder Wheel) reminded me of Make Mischief, and it was one of the things that drew me to her (as a yearling). They look almost identical. This filly has a lot of leg for an Into Mischief.”
Wonder Wheel’s win in the Darley Alcibiades increased her earnings to $510,725 with a record of 4-3-1-0. Second in the Spinaway (G1) at Saratoga, she also won the Debutante (L) at Churchill Downs,
Selective LLC’s Chop Chop was scheduled to return to Churchill on Saturday following her runner-up effort in the Darley Alcibiades.
Blake Cox, son of trainer Brad Cox, said Chop Chop came out of the race well.
ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO FOR CATALANO
For “Cat Man,” Saturday morning was filled with high-fives and fist bumps.
Throw in a radio interview for trainer Wayne Catalano, who Friday afternoon sent out Manny Wah to spring a 17-1 upset in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2).
Owned by Susan Moulton, Manny Wah rallied from last to post a neck victory and earn a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to be run here Nov. 5.
“He looks great this morning,” Catalano said. “All we do now is keep him fresh and happy.”
Manny Wah will attempt to follow in the hoofprints of Aloha West, who gave Catalano his fourth Breeders’ Cup victory from only 15 starters when he won the Sprint last year at Del Mar. Three trainers have won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in back-to-back years but only Jenine Sahadi did it with different horses: Lit de Justice in 1996 and Elmhurst in 1997.
Catalano hopes to provide Moulton with a second Breeders’ Cup runner on Sunday when her homebred Andthewinneris runs in the $350,000 Castle & Key Bourbon (G2) for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The race is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to be run here Nov. 4.
“He’s a good horse,” Catalano said. “I don’t like the post (12), but I expect a big race out of him. If he runs like he’s training, he’ll be in the winner’s circle.”
DELIGHT TO STAY AT KEENELAND FOLLOWING
JPMORGAN CHASE JESSAMINE VICTORY
Augustin Stable’s Delight delivered the second-most authoritative victory in 32 runnings of the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) on Friday with her 5-length score that punched her ticket to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run here Nov. 4.
“She was traveling easy, and the fractions were in her favor,” trainer Jonathan Thomas said Saturday morning. “When they get a lead like that, you hope you have the horse to finish up and she did.”
Delight would represent the second Breeders’ Cup runner for Thomas, who is having his best year since 2018 when Catholic Boy was the stable star. A Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt, Catholic Boy twice ran in the Breeders’ Cup.
“She came out of the race well and did everything you want to see,” Thomas said. “She scoped well and ate up. She will probably stay here. She seems to be doing well here and there is no reason to shift gears or move.”
Town and Country Racing’s Knockyoursocksoff, who hopped at the start of the race and spotted the field many lengths, rallied to finish second in the 12-horse field. She headed back to trainer Chris Block’s main base at Hawthorne in Chicago after the race.
“As far as plans going forward, we will consider possibly a Breeders’ Cup but not sure at this point,” Block said via text.
PRIORESS WINNER WICKED HALO TOPS NOMINATIONS
FOR LEXUS RAVEN RUN
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ homebred Wicked Halo, winner of her past three starts highlighted by a score in the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga, tops a nomination roster of 33 3-year-old fillies for the 24th running of the Lexus Raven Run (G2) to be run Saturday, Oct. 22 going 7 furlongs on the main track.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Wicked Halo is a two-time Grade 2 winner who took the Adirondack in 2021 at Saratoga.
Other nominees of note include LBD Stable, Manganaro Bloodstock and David Ingordo’s Tarabi and H and E Ranch’s Desert Dawn.
Cherie DeVaux trains multiple graded stakes-placed Tarabi, who was second to champion Echo Zulu in the 7-furlong Dogwood (G3) at Churchill Downs in her most recent start.
Arizona-bred Desert Dawn won the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) before finishing third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Trained by Phil D’Amato, she was runner-up in the Torrey Pines (G3) at Del Mar in her most recent start.
VIRGINIA JOY (GER) HEADLINES NOMINATIONS
FOR ROOD & RIDDLE DOWAGER
Peter Brant’s Virginia Joy (GER), front-running winner of the Flower Bowl (G2) at Saratoga in her most recent start, tops a roster of 20 fillies and mares nominated to the 31st running of the $300,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) to be run Sunday, Oct. 23 going 1 ½ miles over the turf.
Trained by Chad Brown, Virginia Joy has won three of five starts in 2022 with her other victories coming in The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream Park and the Sheepshead Bay (G2) at Belmont Park.
Also among the nominees is Godolphin’s Adventuring. Trained by Brad Cox, Adventuring is unbeaten in two starts in 2022 with her most recent victory coming in the AGS Ladies Marathon (G3) at Kentucky Downs going 1 5/16 miles on Sept. 13.
GRADE 1 WINNERS GUNITE, PINEHURST NOMINATED TO PERRYVILLE
Gunite, winner of the 2021 Hopeful (G1), and Pinehurst, winner of the 2021 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1), highlight a roster of 34 nominations for the 14th running of the $250,000 Perryville (L) for 3-year-olds to be run Saturday, Oct. 22 going 7 furlongs on the main track.
Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and trained by Steve Asmussen, Gunite has won three of five starts in 2022. He finished second to Jack Christopher in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) at Saratoga this summer.
Owned by the partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables and Siena Farm, et al, Pinehurst has won one of four starts this year with that triumph coming in the 1-mile Saudi Derby (G3). Pinehurst now is trained by Brendan Walsh.
BROWN BREEDERS’ CUP HOPEFULS ON WORK TAB ON BUSY MORNING
A clear, crisp Saturday morning brought horses out in force with 191 workers on the fast main track and nine more on the firm turf course.
Trainer Chad Brown had six workers of note headlined by three-time Grade 1 winner Jack Christopher, who breezed a half-mile on the main track in :48.40. Jack Christopher is considered a leading contender for the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) or Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
Other Brown workers eyeing the Breeders’ Cup: Search Results (Distaff), a half-mile in :48, and Goodnight Olive (Filly and Mare Sprint), a half-mile in :49.40. Also working on the dirt for Brown was Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana invitee Dolce Zel (FR), who covered a half-mile in :48.60.
Working on the turf for Brown were McKulick (GB) (Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana) going 5 furlongs in 1:02 in company with Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) nominee Virginia Joy (GER).
Also working on the turf going a half-mile were Sycamore (G3) probable starters Arklow (:50) and Mira Mission (:50.40). Working a half-mile was Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana invitee New Year’s Eve (:50.40). Working 5 furlongs in preparation for the Franklin Stakes (G3) was Twilight Gleaming (IRE), who covered the distance in 1:02.40.
PROBABLE ENTRANTS FOR UPCOMING STAKES
$250,000 Sycamore (G3) 3-year-olds and up, 1½ miles (turf) (Entries taken Sunday; race Friday, Oct. 14): Accredit (trainer Pavel Matejka), Admission Office (Brian Lynch), Alex Joon (Lindsay Schultz), Another Mystery (Chris Block), Arklow (Brad Cox), Cellist (Rusty Arnold), Highland Chief (IRE) (Graham Motion), Keystone Field (Mike Maker), Mira Mission (Ian Wilkes), Red Knight (Maker), Temple (Maker).
$300,000 Franklin (G3) 3-year-olds and up, 5½ furlongs (turf) (Entries taken Oct. 13; race Sunday, Oct. 16): Bout Time (Cherie DeVaux), Brooke Marie (Eddie Kenneally), Caravel (Brad Cox), Change of Control (Michelle Lovell), Have A Good Day (IRE) (Gustavo Delgado), Illegal Smile (IRE) (Wesley Ward), Tobys Heart (Brian Lynch), Twilight Gleaming (IRE) (Ward).