(Letruska scheduled to run on Keeneland’s Opening Weekend / Photos by Holly M. Smith)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
St. George Stable’s Letruska, a three-time Grade 1 winner in 2021, plus defending race champions Ivar (BRZ), Diamond Oops and Inthemidstofbiz are among the standouts who have been nominated to race at Keeneland during Fall Stars Weekend on Oct. 8-10, opening weekend of the 17-day Fall Meet that marks the track’s 85th anniversary. First post each day of the season, which runs through Oct. 30, is 1 p.m. ET.
Featuring horses from the nation’s leading owners, trainers and jockeys, Fall Stars Weekend consists of 10 stakes, nine of which are graded, worth $3.65 million. Five of those races are Grade 1 events, and nine of them are Breeders’ Cup Challenge races that are “Win and You’re In” contests that award the winners fees-paid berths into corresponding races for the World Championships at Del Mar on Nov. 4-5.
Click here for the lists of horses nominated to Fall Stars Weekend stakes and their past performances. Here is a look at those nominations:
Opening day, Friday, Oct. 8 – Entries taken Oct. 5
Darley Alcibiades (G1): The 70th running of the $400,000 race for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on dirt is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run Nov. 5.
The Darley Alcibiades attracted 39 nominees headlined by LBD Stable, Manganaro Bloodstock and David Ingordo’s Tarabi and James McIngvale’s homebred Runup.
Trained by Cherie DeVaux, Tarabi won her debut and in her most recent start was second in the 7-furlong Spinaway (G1) at Saratoga.
Runup, trained by Laura Wohlers, posted a 3-length victory in Monmouth’s Sorority, which was contested around two turns going a mile. She has won two of three starts.
Among other nominees are Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman et al’s Mama Rina, trained by Kenny McPeek, and Red Oak Stable’s Goddess of Fire, trained by Todd Pletcher. The fillies are the 2-3 finishers in the Pocahontas (G3) run at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill on Sept. 18.
Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2): A total of 22 sprinters have been nominated to the 169th running of the $250,000, 6-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up on dirt, which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 6.
Topping the nominees is defending champion Diamond Oops, owned by Diamond 100 Racing Club, Amy Dunne, D.P. Racing and trainer Patrick Biancone. Six horses have won this race in consecutive years, most recently Sum of the Parts in 2012-2013.
Diamond Oops prevailed in last year’s Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix by three-quarters of a length over 51-1 longshot Empire of Gold, who is nominated to the 2021 renewal for Johnny Evans and trainer Terry Eoff.
Also nominated are Lane’s End Racing and Hronis Racing’s Flagstaff and Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Special Reserve, the 1-2 finishers in this spring’s Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland.
John Sadler trains Flagstaff, who won the Churchill Downs (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day. Mike Maker trains Special Reserve, who was second in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga in his most recent start.
Wagers: $200,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 Presented by TVG.
Saturday, Oct. 9 – Entries taken Oct. 6
Keeneland Turf Mile (G1): The $750,000 test for 3-year-olds and up attracted 33 nominees for the “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) presented by PDJF to be run Nov. 6.
Topping the roster of nominees for the 36th running of the race is defending champion Ivar (BRZ).
Owned by Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I and trained by Paulo Lobo, Ivar has raced only once in 2021, finishing sixth when beaten 2 lengths in the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day.
Ivar closed 2020 by finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland, chasing fellow Keeneland Turf Mile nominees Order of Australia (IRE) and Lope Y Fernandez (IRE), both trained by Aidan O’Brien.
Order of Australia, who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile at 73-1 odds, is owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Anne Marie O’Brien. In his most recent start, Order of Australia was second in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1).
Lope Y Fernandez, owned by the partnership of Tabor, Smith and Magnier, has won one of six starts in 2021 since his third-place Breeders’ Cup finish.
Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1): Two-turn stakes winners Major General and Double Thunder, both trained by Todd Pletcher, top a total of 44 nominees for the 108th running of the
1 1/16-mile dirt test for 2-year-olds.
The $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance to be run Nov. 5.
WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s Major General is undefeated in his two career starts with a narrow victory in the 1 1/16-mile Iroquois (G3) in his most recent outing Sept. 18 at Churchill.
Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Double Thunder won the 1-mile Sapling at Monmouth on Sept. 5 in his most recent start. Double Thunder has won three of his four starts, including the Bashford Manor (G3) this summer at Churchill.
Pletcher, who has won the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity twice, has seven other youngsters nominated to this year’s race headlined by Runhappy Hopeful (G1) runner-up Wit, owned by Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable and Gainesway Stable.
Also nominated are the 2-3 Iroquois finishers Tough to Tame, owned by Rittdiculous Gazmanian Stables and trained by Chris Davis, and Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister’s Red Knobs, trained by Dale Romans.
First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare: Godolphin’s homebred Althiqa (GB), winner of the Just a Game (G1) and Diana (G1) in her two ventures to North America this year, headlines a roster of 25 nominees for the 24th running of the $400,000 race for fillies and mares to be contested over a mile on the Keeneland turf course.
The First Lady is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 6.
Never worse than third in 11 career starts, Althiqa is trained by Charlie Appleby.
Trainer Chad Brown, who has saddled the First Lady winner the past three years and four times overall, has three mares nominated to this year’s renewal.
Heading that trio is Juddmonte’s Viadera (GB). Winner of the Ballston Spa (G2) in her most recent start, Viadera won last year’s Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar.
Brown’s other nominees are multiple stakes winners Regal Glory and Blowout (GB). Both are owned by Peter Brant.
Another nominee is the Estate of Harvey A. Clarke and Paul Braverman’s Harvey’s Lil Goil, winner of last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana at Keeneland. She is trained by Bill Mott.
Thoroughbred Club of America (G2): Contreras Stable and Andrew Knapczyk’s Inthemidstofbiz, upset winner of the 2020 TCA, is among 23 fillies and mares nominated to the 41st running of the $250,000 sprint at 6 furlongs on dirt.
The Thoroughbred Club of America is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 6.
Trained by Cipriano Contreras, Inthemidstofbiz has run twice in 2021. In her most recent start, she was fourth in the Satin and Lace Stakes at Presque Isle Downs. She used that race as a prep for the 2020 TCA.
Only one horse has won the TCA in consecutive years: Excitable Lady in 1982-1983.
Other nominees include multiple graded stakes winners Bell’s the One, owned by Lothenbach Stables and trained by Neil Pessin; Lloyd Madison Farms IV’s Sconsin, trained by Greg Foley, and Frank Fletcher Racing Operations’ Frank’s Rockette, trained by Bill Mott.
Woodford (G2) Presented by TVG: Ranlo Investment’s Golden Pal, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at Keeneland, and stablemate Campanelle (IRE), a two-time Group 1 winner owned by Stonestreet Stables, highlight a roster of 20 turf sprinters nominated to the 25th running of the $200,000 race for 3-year-olds and up going 5½ furlongs over the Keeneland grass course. Both are trained by Wesley Ward.
Golden Pal won the Quick Call (G3) at Saratoga in July and was seventh in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe (G1) last month at York in England.
Campanelle captured the Commonwealth Cup (G1) at Royal Ascot in England in July. Last year at 2, she won the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot and the Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville in France.
Trainer Brendan Walsh has two nominees: DARRS Inc.’s $1.6 million earner Extravagant Kid, winner of the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) at Meydan, and Qatar Racing Limited and RacehorseClub’s The Lir Jet (IRE), winner of the Franklin-Simpson (G2) at Kentucky Downs in his U.S. debut. The Lir Jet defeated Golden Pal in the Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot last year.
Wagers: $400,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4 and $300,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 5.
Sunday, Oct. 10 – Entries taken Oct. 7
Juddmonte Spinster (G1): St. George Stable’s Letruska, winner of five of six starts in 2021 and the front-runner for an Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female, tops a list of 26 fillies and mares nominated to the 66th running of the 1 1/8-mile, $500,000 stakes.
The Juddmonte Spinster is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run Nov. 6.
Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska has won her past four races with Grade 1 scores in the Apple Blossom, Ogden Phipps and Personal Ensign Presented by Lia Infinity.
Other nominees include multiple Grade 1 winner Shedaresthedevil. Owned by Qatar Racing, Flurry Racing Stables and Big Aut Farms, Shedaresthedevil edged Letruska by a head in the Azeri (G2) in March at Oaklawn Park. Brad Cox trains Shedaresthedevil along with Juddmonte’s Bonny South, who came up a half-length shy of catching Letruska in the Personal Ensign. Bonny South won the 1 1/16-mile Baird Doubledogdare (G3) during Keeneland’s 2021 Spring Meet.
Castle & Key Bourbon (G2): Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Tiz the Bomb, winner of the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile, tops a list of 52 nominees to the 31st running of the 1 1/16-mile grass test for 2-year-olds worth $200,000.
The Castle & Key Bourbon is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 5.
Trained by Kenny McPeek, Tiz the Bomb is undefeated in two grass starts.
Other notable nominees are Klaravich Stables’ Portfolio Company, trained by Chad Brown, and Stuart Janney III’s Limited Liability, trained by Shug McGaughey. Those two runners finished 2-3, respectively, in Saratoga’s With Anticipation (G3).
Indian Summer (L) Presented by Keeneland Select: Silverton Hill’s Red Danger, winner of the Global Tote Juvenile Sprint Stakes (L) at Kentucky Downs, headlines the 37 nominees to the fourth running of the $200,000 race for 2-year-olds going 5½ furlongs on the grass.
The Indian Summer is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) to be run Nov. 5.
Trained by Brian Lynch, Red Danger is perfect in his two grass starts.
Trainer Wesley Ward, whose filly Kimari beat males in the 2019 Indian Summer, has six fillies nominated to this year’s race. They include Hat Creek Racing’s stakes winner Averly Jane, Castleton Lyons’ Chi Town Lady and Stonestreet Stables’ Twilight Gleaming (IRE). Twilight Gleaming, second in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot, most recently won a listed stakes in France.
Keeneland races on TVG, NBCSN and online
During the Fall Meet, TVG will present live, on-site coverage on race days starting at 1 p.m.
During Fall Stars Weekend, NBC Sports Network will provide live coverage of several of Keeneland’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge races as part of its “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In Presented by America’s Best Racing.” Air times are:
- Friday, Oct. 8: 5-6 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 9: 5-6 p.m.
- Sunday, Oct. 10: 4:30-6 p.m.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, NBCSN will broadcast Keeneland’s final Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2), from 4-5 p.m.