(Diamond Oops winning the G2 Phoenix Stakes / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Keeneland)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
TOP TWO STOLL KEENON OGDEN PHOENIX RUNNERS
PLOTTING KEENELAND RETURN
Diamond Oops and Empire of Gold, who finished less than a length apart at the end of Friday’s $200,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2), are likely to return to Keeneland for starts Nov. 7.
Diamond 100 Racing Club, Amy Dunne, D P Racing and trainer Patrick Biancone’s Diamond Oops was scheduled to leave Keeneland this afternoon to return to the Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida, according to assistant trainer Andie Biancone.
“He’s just a cool horse,” she said of the 5-year-old Diamond Oops, who became a millionaire with his Friday victory. “My dad was very proud of him yesterday and happy.”
The victory earned Diamond Oops a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). However, Diamond Oops also is accomplished on the grass, having won the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G2) Presented by Sysco in his previous start.
“My dad will probably flip a coin,” Biancone said of making the decision whether Diamond Oops would be pre-entered in the Sprint or the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) also on Nov. 7.
“Most likely (Diamond Oops) would come back the week of the Breeders’ Cup. He loves to travel. He is a lot more confident now, and he enjoys changes in distances and surfaces. Last year was like his 3-year-old year because he only had the one race in 2018.”
Johnny Evans and trainer Terry Eoff’s Empire of Gold left Keeneland before 7 a.m. en route to Remington Park.
Dismissed at 51-1 as a 3-year-old making his graded stakes debut, Empire of Gold dueled with Grade 1 winner No Parole through fast fractions, opened a clear advantage in the stretch and was overhauled late by Diamond Oops.
“We knew he was good, but we didn’t know just how good,” Eoff said of the result in which Empire of Gold finished in front of three Grade 1 winners. “He beat some pretty good horses.”
The only time Empire of Gold has not finished in the top three was when he was fifth in the Grand Prairie Derby at Lone Star going 1 1/16 miles in June.
“I just had to try him long once,” Eoff said. “His best lick is 5½ to 6½ furlongs.”
Eoff is planning to bring Empire of Gold back here for the $100,000 Perryville for 3-year-olds going 6 furlongs as part of the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup undercard.
MIRINAQUE WORKS TOWARD HAGYARD FAYETTE
Under clear skies Saturday morning at Keeneland, Parque Patricios Racing Stables’ Mirinaque (ARG)worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.20 with Gerardo Corrales in the saddle.
Clear skies are key for the likely starter in the Oct. 10 Hagyard Fayette (G2), who was redirected from California to Kentucky because of fires burning near Santa Anita.
“He was going to run in the Tokyo City Cup (G3) on Sept. 27 at Santa Anita, but the smoke out there was so bad you couldn’t breathe,” trainer Maria Munoz said.
A two-time Group 1 winner in Argentina, Mirinaque finished fifth in the TVG Pacific Classic (G1) in his U.S. debut on Aug. 22, a result Munoz labeled a little disappointing. Following that race, Mirinaque trained at Del Mar and then at Santa Anita until the smoke chased him to Kentucky.
The Hagyard Fayette is run at 1 1/8 miles, and Munoz is hoping to use that race as a steppingstone to the $200,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2), a stakes at 1 5/8 miles on the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup undercard.
SHARING, ZULU ALPHA AMONG TOP NAMES NOMINATED
TO FALL MEET STAKES DURING THIRD WEEK
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Sharing and $2.2 million earner Zulu Alpha are among the top names nominated to graded stakes here Oct. 15-18.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainesway Stable’s Sharing tops a list of 37 nominees to the 30thrunning of the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G2) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf on Friday, Oct. 16. Included in the nominees are eight are of the 11 invitees to the Oct. 10, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana.
In her most recent start, Sharing won the Edgewood (G2) Presented by Forcht Bank at Churchill Downs. Graham Motion, a three-time winner in the Valley View, trains Sharing.
Michael Hui’s Zulu Alpha, a three-time graded stakes winner this year, tops a roster of 23 nominees for the 26th running of the $150,000 Sycamore (G3) for 3-year-olds and up going 1½ miles on the turf on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Trained by Mike Maker, who has seven horses nominated to the Sycamore, Zulu Alpha won the Sycamore in 2018 and in July won the TVG Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland. No horse has won the Elkhorn and Sycamore in the same year.
The 22nd running of the $200,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) for 3-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs on the main track on Saturday, Oct. 17 attracted 22 nominees and features Four Graces and Sconsin, fillies who have taken turns beating each other in their past two graded stakes starts.
Whitham Thoroughbreds’ Four Graces, trained by Ian Wilkes, won the Beaumont (G3) here in July by 4¾ lengths over Sconsin. In last month’s Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs, Lloyd Madison Farms’ Sconsin rallied for a 2¼-length victory over Four Graces. Greg Foley trains Sconsin.
The 29th running of the $125,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) for fillies and mares going 1 ½ miles on the turf on Sunday, Oct. 18, is the final stakes of the Fall Meet.
The Rood & Riddle Dowager attracted 28 nominees headed by Grade 2 winners Civil Union, owned by Allen Stable and trained by Shug McGaughey; John McCormack’s Elizabeth Way (IRE) trained by Roger Attfield; and Augustin Stable’s Theodora B., trained by Michael Dickinson.
A win by Flavius in today’s 10th race, the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), will mark a historic milestone for owner Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, which will earn a Keeneland Pitcher in recognition for 16 graded stakes wins here. The Keeneland Pitcher, which is part of Keeneland’s signature Milestone Trophy Program, has only been awarded three times in track history: Claiborne Farm (Fall 1968), Millard Waldheim’s Bwamazon Farm (Spring 1983) and William S. Farish (Spring 2003). …
With his victory in Friday’s second race aboard Farsighted, jockey Julien Leparoux recorded his 497th win at Keeneland. Only three jockeys have more victories: Pat Day (918), Don Brumfield (716) and Robby Albarado (526). Leparoux has won 64 stakes at Keeneland, second only to Day with 95. …
Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach talked to these trainers about their entrants in Fall Stars Weekend stakes:
Al Stall Jr. about Dalika (GER) in today’s First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare.
Eddie Kenneally about Lady Kate in Sunday’s Juddmonte Spinster (G1)
BEST TURNED OUT AWARDS RECOGNIZE TALENTED GROOMS
In selected races during Keeneland’s 2020 Fall Meet, grooms of racehorses determined to have the best overall appearance in the Saddling Paddock are recognized with Best Turned Out (BTO) awards. On Friday’s opening day, these grooms received $300 and BTO honors from the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Presented by Godolphin:
Race 1: Jorge Sanchez, groom of Vasariano, who won by 1¼ lengths at odds of 7-1.
Race 2: Lucio Gomez, groom of Naughty Rendezvous.
Race 3: Arturo Arce, groom of Sara Sea.
Race 4: Durell Brown, groom of Inveterate.
Race 5: Romeo Vazquez, groom of Off We Go, who won by 1¼ lengths as the 6-5 favorite.
Race 6: Rosie Conseco, groom of Crowella.
Race 7: Arturo Aparacio, groom of I Hear You.
Race 9 (Darley Alcibiades-G1): Alejandro Cano, groom of Simply Ravishing, who won by 6¼ lengths.
Race 10: Enri Vazquez, groom of Sky Temple.
The eighth race was the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2). Stoll Keenon Ogden sponsored the $300 BTO award presented to Alvero Orantes, groom of 3-1 favorite and winner Diamond Oops.
STAKES PROBABLES FOR SECOND WEEK OF FALL MEET
$150,000 BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY (G3) (Entries taken Sunday; race Friday, Oct. 9) – Ambassador Luna (James Gulick), Bohemian Bourbon (Ian Wilkes), Chalon (Arnaud Delacour), Change of Control (Michelle Lovell), Got Stormy (Mark Casse), Into Mystic (Brendan Walsh), Stillwater Cove (Wesley Ward), Surrender Now (Steve Asmussen), Tomlin (Mike Stidham), Violent Times (Ralph Nicks), Winning Envelope (Chris Block).
$500,000 QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP (G1) PRESENTED BY DIXIANA (Entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, Oct. 10) – Invitees: Antoinette (trainer Bill Mott), California Kook (Peter Miller), Harvey’s Lil Goil (Mott), Hendy Woods (Mark Casse), Lucky Betty (William VanMeter), Magic Attitude (GB) (Arnaud Delacour), Micheline (Mike Stidham), Red Lark (IRE) (Paddy Gallagher), Speaktomeofsummer (Christophe Clement), Sweet Melania (Todd Pletcher), Tamahere (FR)(Chad Brown).
$200,000 HAGYARD FAYETTE (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, Oct. 10) – Aurelius Maximus (Steve Asmussen), Captivating Moon (Chris Block), Coastal Defense (Dale Romans), Crafty Daddy (Kenny McPeek), Higher Power (John Sadler), Miranaque (ARG) (Maria Munoz), Mr Freeze(Romans), Multiplier (Peter Miller), Rated R Superstar (Cipriano Contreras), Tax (Danny Gargan).