(Trainer Steve Asmussen / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Keeneland Media Team:


A talented trio of runners from the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen began the Keeneland portion of their preparation for the 39thBreeders’ Cup World Championships here Nov. 4-5 by working easy half-miles on their own early Sunday morning over a fast track.

First was J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s champion Jackie’s Warrior, who covered the distance in :49.80 with exercise rider Wilson Fabian aboard. A five-time Grade 1 winner, the 4-year-old Jackie’s Warrior is considered the probable favorite for the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

In Asmussen’s next set, Fabian was aboard Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Runhappy Travers (G1) winner Epicenter, who completed the half-mile in :51. Epicenter, one of the leading contenders for champion 3-year-old male honors, is being pointed to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

In the same set, Stonestreet Stables’ two-time Grade 1 winner Clairiere worked a half-mile in :49.80 with exercise rider Carmen Rosas aboard. One of the leading contenders for the Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female, the 4-year-old Clairiere is being pointed to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

The three runners have accounted for 19 graded stakes victories – eight of them Grade 1s – in their careers for combined earnings of more than $7.6 million.


Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, Strauss Bros Racing and Gainesway Thoroughbreds’ Hot Rod Charlie returned to Keeneland Saturday night following his head victory over Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve winner Rich Strike in the Lukas Classic (G2) at Churchill Downs.

“He looks phenomenal this morning,” trainer Doug O’Neill said via text before returning to his Southern California base.

Hot Rod Charlie, who finished second as a 94-1 shot in the 2020 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance here in his lone Keeneland start, is being pointed to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), a race in which he finished fourth last year.

RED-TR Racing’s Rich Strike was scheduled to return to trainer Eric Reed’s Mercury Equine Center in Lexington today. Rich Strike ran third in an allowance optional claiming race going a mile here last fall and worked once here this spring prior to his Kentucky Derby victory.


Also working this morning for trainer Steve Asmussen was Courtlandt Farms’ Powerful. A maiden winner at Saratoga, Powerful covered a half-mile in :51.60 in preparation for Saturday’s $600,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1).

Other works of note included Donegal Racing and Joseph Bulger’s Arklow, a nominee to the $300,000 Sycamore (G3) on Oct. 14, who covered a half-mile in :51; and Qatar Racing Limited, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables’ two-time graded stakes winnerCaravel, nominated to the $300,000 Franklin on Oct. 16, who covered the half-mile in :49.60. Brad Cox trains both runners.


With five days to go until the opening of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet, fields are taking shape for the Oct. 7-9 Fall Stars Weekend, which will offer 11 stakes worth $5.45 million.

Nine of the races are Breeders’ Cup Challenge tests (*) that award the winners fees-paid berths into corresponding races at the 39thWorld Championships, which will be held Nov. 4-5 at Keeneland.

According to Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Allison De Luca, here are the possible starters for the stakes:

Friday, Oct. 7. Entries taken Tuesday, Oct. 4

*$500,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1), 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles: Boss Lady Bailey (trainer John Ortiz), Chop Chop (Brad Cox), Essaouira (Graham Motion), Fun and Feisty (Kenny McPeek), Infinite Diamond (Patrick Biancone), Just Cindy (Eddie Kenneally), Stellar Lady (McPeek), Wonder Wheel (Mark Casse).

*$350,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2), 3-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs: Baytown Bear (Paul McEntee), Long Range Toddy (Dallas Stewart), Meraas (GB) (Chad Summers), Necker Island (Chris Hartman), Nakatomi (Wesley Ward), Sibelius(Jeremiah O’Dwyer), Sir Alfred James (Lynn Cash), Special Reserve (Mike Maker), Top Gunner (John Ortiz).

*$350,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2), 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles (turf): C C Cruise Control (Kenny McPeek), Chop Chop (Brad Cox), Dulcia (Joe Sharp), Play the Music (Mark Casse), Promise of Hope (Tom Amoss), Towhead (Mike Maker), What an Honor (Maker).

Saturday, Oct. 8. Entries taken Wednesday, Oct. 5

*$1 Million Coolmore Turf Mile (G1), 3-year-olds and up, 1 mile (turf): Casa Creed (Bill Mott), Emaraaty (GB) (Chad Brown), Greyes Creek (Paulo Lobo), In Love (BRZ) (Lobo), Ivar (BRZ) (Lobo), Masen (GB) (Brown), Princess Grace (Mike Stidham), Santin (Brendan Walsh), Set Piece (GB) (Brad Cox), Smooth Like Strait (Michael McCarthy), Somelikeithotbrown(Mike Maker), Winfromwithin (Jorge Delgado).

*$600,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles: Carmel Road
(Bob Baffert), Forte (Todd Pletcher), Frosted Departure (Kenny McPeek), Funtastic Again (Wesley Ward), Good Heart (Brendan Walsh), Honed (McPeek), Jin Tong (Doug O’Neill), Lost Ark (Pletcher), National Treasure (Baffert), Powerful (Steve Asmussen), Two Phil’s (Larry Rivelli).

$750,000 First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare, 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 1 mile (turf): Alms
(Mike Stidham), In Italian (GB) (Chad Brown), Market Rumor (Ian Wilkes), Princess Grace (Stidham), Regal Glory (Brown), Technical Analysis (IRE) (Brown).

*$350,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 6 furlongs: Bell’s the One
(Neil Pessin), Club Car (Ben Colebrook), Happy Soul (Wesley Ward), Joyful Cadence (John Ortiz), Liberty M D (Ian Wilkes), Palm Cottage (Paulo Lobo), Sconsin (Greg Foley), Slammed (Todd Fincher).

$350,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by FanDuel, 3-year-olds and up, 5½ furlongs (turf): Artemus Citylimits (Mike Maker), Asymmetric (IRE) (Wesley Ward), Bound for Nowhere (Ward), County Final (Steve Asmussen), Gear Jockey (Rusty Arnold),Golden Pal (Ward).

Sunday, Oct. 9. Entries taken Thursday, Oct. 6

*$600,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1), 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 1 1/8 miles: Army Wife (Mike Maker), Letruska(Fausto Gutierrez), Malathaat (Todd Pletcher), Played Hard (Phil Bauer), Princess of Cairo (Mike Puhich).

*$350,000 Castle & Key Bourbon (G2), 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles (turf): B Minor (Kenny McPeek), Boppy O (Mark Casse), Gigante (Steve Asmussen), Good Heart (Brendan Walsh), Mendel’s Secret (Mike Maker), Oscar Award (John Ortiz), Rarified Flair (McPeek), Really Good (Maker), Reckoning Force (Walsh), Red Route One (Asmussen).

*$250,000 Indian Summer (L) Presented by Keeneland Select, 2-year-olds, 5½ furlongs (turf): Danse Macabre (Kelsey Danner), Love Reigns (IRE) (Wesley Ward), No Kay Never (IRE) (Ward), No Nay Hudson (IRE) (Ward), Private Creed(Steve Asmussen).