By Claire Novak, @BH_CNovak
An overflow field of juvenile fillies will get the autumn meet at Keeneland off and running, with 16 entered for the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) opening day Oct. 5.
The 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades, ninth race on a 10-race card with an approximate post of 5:21 p.m. EDT, is a "Win and You're In" race for the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
Dolphus Morrison's undefeated homebred Gold Edge is the lone graded stakes victress in the bunch, shipping in from a Sept. 8 Arlington-Washington Lassie (gr. III) score at Arlington Park last time out. The Eddington filly, trained by Lon Wiggins, will break from post seven under Arlington rider Chris Emigh, who has been aboard for two of three victories in the filly's three starts. She broke her maiden at Churchill Downs June 24.
Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti's Calder Casino & Race Course invader Rose to Gold looks to step it up big-time in company, but has obviously been much the best of her South Florida competition. The Friends Lake filly blitzed the one-mile Lindsay Frolic Stakes by 13 lengths on a sloppy track Aug. 25, then increased the distance—and margin of victory—Sept. 15 when she romped by 13 1/2 lengths going a mile and 70 yards for trainer Sal Santoro.
Another intriguing invader is Winchell Thoroughbreds' Speedinthruthecity
, who was bred in Kentucky but has been racing in California for trainer Peter Miller. The daughter of City Zip
broke her maiden at first asking June 21 at Betfair Hollywood Park
on the lawn, and since then has been knocking on the door in stakes company. She ran second to the highly-regarded Executiveprivilege
in the Landaluce Stakes and Sorrento (gr. III), and was third by a head last time out in the Sept. 3 Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar
. Julien Leparoux picks up the mount on the closer since regular rider Joe Talamo remains on the West Coast.
Ice Wine Stable's Almost an Angel, a daughter of Artie Schiller who was a $25,000 purchase at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, has the distinction of making two of her four starts against males. She did not break her maiden until a six-furlong event June 29 at Belmont Park, but ran second behind expected Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) starter Joha May 24 in a six-furlong maiden event on the good Belmont lawn.
The Wesley Ward charge opened her career at Keeneland in April with a fifth-place finish on the main track against her own company. Last out, she took on males in the 1 1/16-mile With Anticipation (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 30 and ran seventh behind Balance the Books, who is expected in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity or the Bourbon (gr. IIIT) Oct. 7.
"We're going for it," said Ward, the leading trainer of Keeneland's spring meet with nine wins. "It's a grade I. It's either there, fly to California or run in the Frizette (gr. I), which I already have one for the same stable. We'll shoot for the best and forget the rest."
Ward was referring to Ice Wine's Sweet Shirley Mae, the Spinaway (gr. I) runner-up who will race in the Frizette on Oct. 6 at Belmont.
Trainer Todd Pletcher seeks his first Alcibiades victory with Tuck Greene Memorial stakes winner Tara From the Cape. The daughter of Leroidesanimaux won two in a row, breaking her maiden at Woodbine June 9 and winning the Tuck Greene on the Delaware Park lawn Aug. 2, before running third in the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 29 going 1 1/16 miles on the grass for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Gary Barber, and Debmar Stables.
Broken Spell was 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Tara From the Cape and a neck behind winner Watsdachances in the P.G. Johnson. She struggled to break her maiden in two dirt tries for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas but has improved in her past three starts on the lawn. The Broken Vow filly was gutsy in defeat in the P.G. Johnson, fighting back from bumping at the three-sixteenths pole and closing between foes at the eighth pole to just miss in her fifth start for Brad Kelley's Bluegrass Hall.
Among other stakes-tested contenders in the group are Spendthrift Farm's Fully Living, third in the Adirondack (gr. II) behind Kauai Katie and second in the Sept. 9 Meadow Star Stakes last time out behind 16 1/4-length winner Dreaming of Julia; La Song, second by a neck in the Arlington-Washington Lassie for Evelyn and Darrell Yates; Dancinginthecircle, third in the Arlington-Washington for Bret Jones; and John Oxley's Natalma Stakes (gr. IIT) runner-up Spring in the Air.
Skyfall, Pure Indy, Kitten's Dumplings, Magical Moon, and also-eligibles Daar Zayed and Cloudy Vow complete the field.
$400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, approximate post 5:21 p.m. EDT), 2YO fillies, 1 1/16 miles (all weather track)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Pure Indy (KY), V. Espinoza, C Dollase
2. Kitten's Dumplings (KY), J. Castellano, M J Maker
3. Rose to Gold (KY), J.M. Rios, S Santoro
4. Almost an Angel (KY), E. Trujillo, W A Ward
5. Fully Living (KY), D. Cochen, K G McPeek
6. Broken Spell (KY), R. Maragh, D W Lukas
7. Gold Edge (KY), C.A. Emigh, L Wiggins
8. La Song (KY), J. Sanchez, W M Catalano
9. Spring in the Air (ON), P. Husbands, M E Casse
10. Tara From the Cape (KY), R.A. Dominguez, T A Pletcher
11. Skyfall (KY), J.R. Velazquez, T A Pletcher
12. Speedinthruthecity (KY), J.R. Leparoux, P Miller
13. Magical Moon (MD), R. Napravnik, A M Stall, Jr.
14. Dancinginthecircle (KY), R. Albarado, J L Jones
15. Daar Zayed (KY) (AE), J. Graham, E G Harty
16. Cloudy Vow (KY) (AE), J. Graham, T E Hamm
All runners carry 118 pounds, Skyfall will race with Blinkers On