John Oxley's Spring in the Air closed with a huge run from the back of the pack to win the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) by a length at Keeneland Oct. 5, punching her ticket to the Breeders' Cup.
The 2-year-old daughter of Spring At Last earned an automatic berth in the Nov. 2 Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) to be run at Santa Anita Park with her victory, completing the 1 1/8 mile "Win and You're In" event in a final time of 1:44.33 under jockey Patrick Husbands. Broken Spell closed well for the place and Magical Moon rounded out the trifecta two lengths back in third.
"She's just pure class," trainer Mark Casse said. "A lot of the other fillies were getting upset in the paddock but it didn't bother her at all. Patrick has ridden almost 1,000 winners for me. He had a ton of confidence in her to ride her like he did. She's got a pretty good surge to her when you hit the gas."
Spring in the Air raced 10th in a field of 14 as longshot La Song showed the way through a quarter in :22.98 and a half in :47.13, and commenced her move four-wide approaching the quarter pole through three-quarters in 1:11.85.La Song held the lead through the far turn only to be passed by Magical Moon as the field hit the top of the stretch. Magical Moon opened a daylight advantage only to have Spring in the Air surge past inside the sixteenth pole. Having been steadied briefly approaching the turn for home, she angled out wide into the stretch after a mile in 1:11.85 and closed fast to get up in time.
The bay filly ran the final furlong in :25.30 seconds, .29 seconds faster than the runner-up, according to Trakus data.
Sent off the 4-1 favorite in a wide-open field, Spring in the Air returned $10.60, $6, and $3.60 while Broken Spell paid $17 and $10.40 and Magical Moon brought $4.80. Tara From the Cape, Fully Living, Almost an Angel, Gold Edge, La Song, Pure Indy, Dancinginthecircle, Kitten's Dumplings, Rose to Gold, Skyfall, and Speedinthruthecity completed the order of finish.
The Darley Alcibiades victory was worth $240,000 and increased Spring in the Air's bankroll to $371,519 with a record of 2-2-0 record from four starts.
Bred in Ontario by WinStar Farm out of the Unbridled mare Unbridled Run, the bay filly was a $130,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's (OBS) 2012 March sale of 2-year-olds in training when consigned by Eddie Woods Jr. She joins stablemate Spring Venture as a key Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) contender for Casse and came into the Alcibiades off a runner-up finish 1 3/4 lengths behind that onein the "Win and You're In" Sept. 15 Natalma Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine.
"We've been fortunate, we've had some good fillies in the past," Casse remarked. "I these two fillies are as good going back to the filly Sealy Hill (2007 Canadian Horse of the Year), who won a couple million dollars and was second in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. I, 2008). They're exceptional fillies and I only ran them on turf because that's what was available."
Spring Venture, who is also by Spring At Last and races for Stoneway Farm and Gary Barber, is entered to run Oct. 6 in the Mazarine Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine with her eye on a trip to California next time out.
Opening day attendance for the Keeneland fall meet was 18,417. Racing resumes Oct. 6 with a lineup of five graded stakes capped by the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT).
For an Equibase chart, click here.
WINNER SPRING IN THE AIR (FAR OUTSIDE)
SWEEPS INTO STRETCH IN ALCIBIADES