Keeneland’s Weekend Stakes Schedule: Wow Time

(Heart to Heart winning the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the Keeneland Media Team:


G1 Shadwell Turf Mile:

lear skies and comfortable temperatures forecast for Keeneland’s Oct. 5-7 opening weekend of the Fall Meet could be a perfect scenario for Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart in Saturday’s $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

Trainer Brian Lynch said Thursday morning that the 7-year-old son of English Channel does his best running on firm turf as he did in April with a victory in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) here. Overall Heart to Heart has 15 wins in 37 starts and has earned more than $2 million. He was second in the Shadwell Turf Mile last year.

“I know he is happy to be back at Keeneland because he has great energy around the barn and looks great on the track,” Lynch said. “We graze him every afternoon. He loves to get out on the hill (with a handler) in front of our barn. It is a great spot to let a horse drop his head and eat some green grass.”

Lynch’s Keeneland contingent includes Amerman Racing’s Oscar Performance, who earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 for winning the Woodbine Mile (G1) on Sept. 15. Lynch said Oscar Performance and Heart to Heart will remain at Keeneland to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup Mile before shipping to Churchill Downs around Oct. 30.

Lynch also noted that his former trainee Grand Arch, winner of the 2015 Shadwell Turf Mile for Jim and Susan Hill, has adapted well to retirement and recently demonstrated his new skills at a horse show. Grand Arch closed his 29-race career at age eight with seven victories and a bankroll of nearly $2 million.

“I am thrilled to see he has a second career and is enjoying his new job,” Lynch said. “He is a beautiful horse and a gentleman, so I always hoped he could use that for a second career.”

G2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes:

West Coast-based Miss Sunset, owned by Alan Klein and Phil Lebherz, is a nose away from perfection in two Keeneland starts. The California-bred daughter of Into Mischief, trained by Jeff Bonde, arrived at Keeneland Wednesday for her third run, a start in Saturday’s 38th running of the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).

“It is nice and quiet here and she likes the surroundings,” Bonde said Thursday morning before sending Miss Sunset out for a jog on the main track.

Winner of the Raven Run (G2) during Keeneland’s 2017 Fall Meet, Miss Sunset was beaten a nose by Finley’sluckycharm in this spring’s Madison (G1) here. She finished second in her next start, the Desert Stormer (G3) in May at Santa Anita, and then did not run again until winning the CERF Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 3.

“The track at Santa Anita was a little firm and we decided to space her races out and have a fresh horse for later in the year,” Bonde said. “It has paid off. She is fresh and ready.”

In the Thoroughbred Club of America, Miss Sunset will be ridden by Mike Smith, who has won on her the past five times he has been aboard.

“They get along well,” Bonde said. “She is kind of quirky, but their attitude is the same. She likes to win and he likes to win.”

The TCA is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with the winner getting a fees-paid berth into the
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.

Saturday’s result will determine whether Miss Sunset stays in Kentucky or returns to California.

“We are worn out thinking about it,” Bonde said with a laugh over that decision. “We will decide after the race.”

Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity:

Info to come.


G1 Spinster Stakes:

Eskimo Kisses, the 6½-length runaway winner of the Alabama (G1), and multiple graded stakes winner Blue Prize (ARG) headline a field of 11 fillies and mares entered Thursday morning for Sunday’s 63rd running of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

The Juddmonte Spinster is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with the winner getting a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3. On Sunday, the Juddmonte Spinster is the ninth race on the 10-race program with a 5:45 p.m. ET post time. First post is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by two-time race winner Kenny McPeek, Eskimo Kisses is one of five 3-year-olds in the field. In her most recent start at Keeneland, Eskimo Kisses finished second in this spring’s Central Bank Ashland (G1). She next was fourth in both the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1).

Eskimo Kisses is owned by the partnership of Gainesway Stable, Harold Lerner, Andrew Rosen, Nehoc Stables and Magdalena Racing.

Jose Ortiz, who was aboard for the Alabama victory, has the call Sunday and will break from post position four.

Blue Prize, who has compiled a career mark of 15-6-7-1, was third in the Juddmonte Spinster last year in a race run over a sloppy track. She enters Sunday’s race on a two-race win streak with victories in the Locust Grove (G3) and Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill. The latter victory earned Blue Prize a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Owned by Merriebelle Stable and trained by Ignacio Correas IV, Blue Prize will be ridden by Joe Bravo and break from post position 11.

All of the other 3-year-olds in the race are graded stakes winners: Chocolate Martini (Fair Grounds Oaks-G2), Sassy Sienna(Fantasy-G3), Skeptic (Monmouth Oaks-G3) and Talk Veuve to Me (Indiana Oaks-G3).

Owned by Double Doors Racing and trained by Tom Amoss, Chocolate Martini comes into Sunday’s race off a fifth-place finish in the Cotillion (G1). Corey Lanerie has the mount and will break from post position two.

G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and Ashbrook Farm’s Skeptic and Sassy Sienna, owned by the partnership of China Horse Club International, Medallion Racing, Sandra Lazaruk, Zayat Stables and Jerry McClanahan, finished 1-2, respectively, in the Monmouth Oaks in their previous starts.

Trained by Rusty Arnold, Skeptic will be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. and exit position nine. Brad Cox trains Sassy Sienna, who will break from post position six under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Talk Veuve to Me, owned in partnership by Team Valor International, trainer Rodolphe Brisset and Stephen McKay, was fourth in the Alabama, finishing less than a half-length out of second. She will be ridden Sunday by Julien Leparoux from post position seven.

The field for the Juddmonte Spinster, with riders and weights, from the rail is: Tiger Moth (Florent Geroux, 124 pounds), Chocolate Martini (Lanerie, 121), Fuhriously Kissed (Jose Bracho, 124), Eskimo Kisses (Ortiz, 121), Southernperfection(Albin Jimenez, 124), Sassy Sienna (Bridgmohan, 121), Tale Veuve to Me (Leparoux, 121), Champagne Problems (Calvin Borel, 124), Skeptic (Hernandez Jr., 121), Pacific Wind (Luis Saez, 124) and Blue Prize (ARG) (Bravo, 124).

G3 Bourbon Stakes:

Bloom Racing Stable’s Henley’s Joy and Calumet Farm’s Tracksmith, who finished a head apart in last month’s Kentucky Downs Juvenile going a mile, head a field of 14 plus one also-eligible entered Thursday for Sunday’s 28th running of the $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) for 2-year-olds going
1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Slated as the eighth race on Sunday’s 10-race program with a 5:10 p.m. ET post time, the Dixiana Bourbon is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that offers its winner a fees-paid berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.

Trained by Mike Maker, Henley’s Joy is undefeated in his two career starts on the grass. Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard for the Kentucky Downs victory, will have the mount Sunday and break from post position three.

Joe Sharp trains Tracksmith, who won his turf debut at Ellis Park before his run at Kentucky Downs. Adam Beschizza has the mount and will break from post position 11.

Trainer Mark Casse has saddled the winner of the past three runnings of the Dixiana Bourbon. On Sunday, he will send out two starters with Gary Barber’s War of Will and John Oxley’s Blockbuster.

War of Will is winless in two starts but in his most recent effort finished second in the Summer (G1) at Woodbine. Drayden Van Dyke will ride Sunday and break from post position one.

Blockbuster, winner of his only career start on Sept. 13 at Kentucky Downs, will be ridden by Julien Leparoux from post position six.

The field for the Dixiana Bourbon, with riders and weights from the inside, is: War of Will (Van Dyke, 118 pounds), Ice CityGhost (Ricardo Santana Jr., 120), Henley’s Joy (Gaffalione, 120), Concrete Rose (Jose Lezcano, 118), Forloveofcountry (Luis Saez, 118), Blockbuster (Leparoux, 118), Mr Wrench It (Albin Jimenez, 120), Salvator Mundi (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118),Shazier (Joe Bravo, 118), Current (Jose Ortiz, 118), Tracksmith (Beschizza, 118), More Than A. P. (Florent Geroux, 118), Mick’s Star (Corey Lanerie, 118) and Pradar (Jack Gilligan, 118). Also-eligible: Life Mission (Geroux, 118).

Indian Summer Stakes:

Hat Creek Racing’s Chelsea Cloisters heads a field of 12 2-year-olds and two also-eligibles entered Thursday for the inaugural running of the $200,000 Indian Summer at 5½ furlongs on the turf.

The Indian Summer, scheduled as the sixth race on Sunday’s 10-race program with a 4 p.m. ET post time, is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with the winner to earn a fees-paid berth into the inaugural $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint to be held Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.

A maiden winner at first asking here in the spring on dirt, the Wesley Ward-trained Chelsea Cloisters finished 11th in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot and second in the Prix du Bois (G3) at Deauville. In her most recent start, also on turf, she was second in the Bolton Landing at Saratoga.

Jose Ortiz will ride Chelsea Cloisters and leave from post position one.

The field for the Indian Summer, with riders and weights from the inside, is: Chelsea Cloisters (Ortiz, 115 pounds), Strike Silver(Julien Leparoux, 118), Blame the Frog (Brian Hernandez Jr., 115), Nitrous (Ricardo Santana Jr., 118), Reward the Miracle(Jarred Journet, 118), Abaco Dream (Luis Saez, 115), The Sicarii (Jon Court, 118), Credit Swap (Albin Jimenez, 118), Hide theDemon (Corey Lanerie, 118), Next Dance (Adam Beschizza, 115), Mister Banjoman (Jareth Loveberry, 120), All About It(Eric Cancel, 118). Alsoeligibles: Jo Jo Air (Julio Garcia, 115) and Bizzee Channel (Jose Valdivia Jr., 118).

Oct. 13:

G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup:

E Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ four-time graded stakes winner Rushing Fall headlines a roster of 10 3-year-old fillies invited to the 35th running of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Lane’s End, which will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the grass on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Already a winner of two stakes at Keeneland, the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) last fall and this spring’s Appalachian (G2), Rushing Fall came off a three-month layoff to win the Lake Placid (G2) by 2¾ lengths on Aug. 18 at Saratoga in her most recent start.

Trained by Chad Brown, who won the QE II in 2012 with Dayatthespa, Rushing Fall won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Del Mar.

Also invited is a newcomer to the Brown barn, Pollara (IRE), who is a Group 3 winner in France.

Two other Grade 1 winners are among the QE II invitees: Team Valor International’s Capla Temptress (IRE) and Benowitz Family Trust, Head of Plains Partners, Mark Mathiesen and Mathilde Powell’s Fatale Bere (FR).

Trained by Bill Mott, who won this race in 2014 with Crown Queen, Capla Temptress won the Natalma (G1) last year at Woodbine and most recently was seventh in the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont.

Fatale Bere won the Del Mar Oaks (G1) Presented by The Jockey Club at 1 1/8 miles in her most recent start for trainer Leonard Powell. In April, she won the Providencia (G3) at Santa Anita, also at the QE II distance.

Scheduled to arrive at Keeneland Sunday from Europe for the race are Group 2 winners Mission Impassible (IRE) and Nyaleti (IRE).

Mohammed Hamad Khalifa Al-Attiyah’s Mission Impassible is trained by Jean-Claude Rouget. In June, she won the Prix de Sandringham (G2) at Chantilly and in her most recent start was fifth in the Prix Rothschild (G1) at Deauville.

Owned by 3 Batterhams and a Reay, Nyaleti returns to the U.S. for the second time in two months. Nyaleti, trained by Mark Johnston, finished sixth in the Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington in August. Her biggest victory of 2018 came in the German One Thousand Guineas (G2) at Dusseldorf.

The remaining invitees are Beyond BlameDaddy Is a LegendPrincess Warrior and Secret Message.




The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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