Get ready for Keeneland: 2019 Fall Stars Weekend stakes probables

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September 30th, 2019

Fall Stars Weekend is coming up at Keeneland, with nine Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events (and 10 stakes in total) on tap Friday through Sunday.

The track’s prolific media department has released lists of probables so we can get a sense of how the fields are shaping up. Consider this a sneak preview of the action as we await the entries.

Friday’s $400,000 Alcibiades (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) as well as a points race on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1)

Spinaway (G1) and Adirondack (G2) heroine Perfect Alibi tops the projected cast for trainer Mark Casse, who could also be represented by Catch a Glimpse runner-up Western Taffy. Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey’s Saratoga debut winner Alandra; Churchill Downs maiden winner Heir of Light; Micheline, who broke her maiden in the grassy Sorority; Monmouth maiden romper My Gift From Above; Arlington-Washington Lassie runner-up Spitefulness; and Gone Glimmering, two-for-two at Indiana Grand, are others in the likely line-up.

Friday’s $250,000 Phoenix (G2), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1)

Defending champion Promises Fulfilled is expected to renew rivalry with Whitmore, the 2017 winner whose repeat bid he denied in a photo. Hog Creek Hustle, the Woody Stephens (G1) upsetter who just missed in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1), tries elders for the first time. Fellow sophomore Lexitonian, the Chick Lang (G3) scorer, is also on the list along with Recruiting Ready, returning to graded company off a Churchill allowance win; California shipper American Pastime, who’s raced only three times since his fourth in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Sprint; Engage, winner of the Bensalem at Parx in his first start for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen; last year’s Phoenix fourth Heartwood, most recently eighth in the Korea Sprint in Seoul; and West Virginia Legislature Chairman’s Cup romper Zipp On By.

Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and a points race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1)

Sanford (G3) winner By Your Side, a subpar fifth in the Hopeful (G1), is set to face a few Saratoga maiden winners – Gouverneur Morris, a debut romper on the Hopeful undercard for Todd Pletcher; Casse’s Tapit duo of Enforceable (the full brother to Mohaymen and Kingly and half to New Year’s Day) and Tap It to Win; and January Won, a closing sixth in the Iroquois (G3) off a Spa sprint. Ajaaweed, a sharp Belmont maiden victor for Kiaran McLaughlin, and Arlington-Washington Futurity upsetter Flap Jack have also been listed by NYRA as being considered for Saturday’s Champagne (G1). Sapling surprise Big City Bob is possible according to Keeneland.

Saturday’s $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1)

Defending champion Next Shares is planning to mount a title defense, and the 2017 winner, Suedois, has already shipped in from Great Britain in hopes of regaining his crown. Other international probables are Godolphin’s Vintager, coming off Group scores in France and Germany for Charlie Appleby; Aidan O’Brien’s Van Beethoven, who finally sprang back to life with a second in the Secretariat (G1) to Chad Brown’s unbeaten Valid Point (a Shadwell possible); and Robin of Navan, exiting a seventh in the Prix du Moulin (G1). Among the domestically based contenders are Bandua, who would be cutting back from a third in the Arlington Million (G1); multiple Grade 1 veteran Divisidero, who just snapped his losing skid in the Red Bank (G3); this summer’s Eddie Read (G2) winner Bowies Hero; Lucullan, disqualified from third to fourth in Woodbine Mile, and Emmaus coming off a sixth in the same race; Dixie (G2) runner-up Admission Office, last seen placing third to March to the Arch in the Wise Dan (G2); Real Story and First Premio, the respective second and third from the Tourist Mile; and Old Friends winner Get Western.

Saturday’s $400,000 First Lady (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1)

Multiple Grade 1 star Rushing Fall is yet to be beaten over this course, her perfect four-for-four local mark including last fall’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and April’s Jenny Wiley (G1). Southern California darling Vasilika invades after just nailing Modesty (G3) winner Juliet Foxtrot in the John C. Mabee (G2). O’Brien’s Just Wonderful, best of the rest behind Concrete Rose in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), was most recently third in the Matron (G1) during Irish Champions Weekend. She could be joined by fellow internationals with U.S. experience in Beverly D. (G1) runner-up Awesometank and Ballston Spa (G2) near-misser Indian Blessing (who was third in this race last year). The top four from the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3) – Ms Bad Behavior, Mitchell Road, Simply Breathless, and Storm the Hill – are penciled in along with One Dreamer winner Hanalei Moon, Conquest Hardcandy, and Indiana-bred Marina’s Legacy.

Saturday’s $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1)

Chalon, second in the past two runnings of this race and the near-misser in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, hopes for a graded breakthrough. Spiced Perfection, winner of the Madison (G1) during Keeneland’s spring meet, returns to action following a fourth in the Humana Distaff (G1) to Mia Mischief. America’s Tale, not seen since her fourth in the Madison, had beaten Razorback Lady in the Inside Information (G2) two back. Rancho Bernardo (G3) winner Danuska’s My Girl, Ballerina (G1) runner-up Dawn the Destroyer, Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) runner-up Talk Veuve to Me, and Grade 2-placed Louisiana-bred Ours to Run round out the potential entrants.

Saturday’s $200,000 Woodford (G2), not part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge program but sure to have Turf Sprint (G1) implications

Imprimis and Bound for Nowhere, the top two from the course-and-distance Shakertown (G2) in April, are the headliners. Last year’s third, Extravagant Kid, brings a higher level of form this time through his runner-up performance in Woodbine’s Highlander (G1). Leinster, Stormy Liberal’s half-brother who set a Saratoga course record in the Troy (G3); recent Franklin-Simpson (G3) runner-up Stubbins; and the classy mare Morticia (regarded as possible) are others on the list, along with Seven Trumpets who has yet to race on turf.

Sunday’s $500,000 Spinster (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1)

Multiple Grade 1 star Elate, reportedly under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), is likely to face Alabama (G1) and Mother Goose (G2) vixen Dunbar Road, who could assume leadership of the three-year-old fillies’ division here; defending champion Blue Prize, who edged Vexatious in the Summer Colony at the Spa last out; and La Troienne (G1) winner She’s a Julie, defeated by both Elate and Blue Prize in the interim. Sally’s Curlin has run herself into “possible” status after a Churchill allowance romp.

Sunday’s $250,000 Bourbon (G3), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1)

With Anticipation (G3) hero Fighting Seabee meets runner-up Field Pass, who’s come back to run fourth in the Laurel Futurity. Cadet Connelly and European import Vitalogy, respectively second and third in the Summer (G1), try again for a Breeders’ Cup ticket. Kentucky Downs Juvenile victor Peace Achieved steps into graded company as does Deviant, successful in both the El Joven at Retama and the Sunday Silence at Louisiana Downs. Debut maiden winners Bama Breeze (Churchill) and Ete Indien (Gulfstream Park); Kentucky Downs scorer Kid Mercury; Arlington-Washington Futurity third Peruvian Boy; and maidens Gear Jockey, second to well-regarded No Word in a Saratoga maiden, and Wesley Ward’s Invader, a full brother to Fog of War, are all on the radar.

$200,000 Indian Summer, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2)

Ward’s filly Kimari, just touched off in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot, made a smashing stateside return in the Bolton Landing. She now tackles males led by Casse’s Ontario Racing winner Old Chestnut and Pletcher’s Mystic Lancelot, back sprinting in the wake of a ninth as the Summer favorite. Fast Scene likewise tries the boys after scoring a hard-fought win in the Woodbine Cares. Chimney Rock went down by a head in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint, in which Johnny Unleashed was seventh. Simcoe winner Rockcrest, second in the Bull Page, would be wheeling back for a turf debut, while Casse pupil Song River just finished third in last Saturday’s Hollywood Beach.


Friday’s card will be drawn Tuesday, with entries for Saturday coming on Wednesday and Sunday’s program to be finalized on Thursday. Stay tuned to the TwinSpires blog for Keeneland coverage!

Rushing Fall winning the 2019 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland (c) Coady Photography