Keeneland opens today for its 17-day fall meet in its 75th Anniversary year. Keeneland has a stellar schedule of races planned for opening weekend, including six Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In Challenge races. The Breeders' Cup will be held at Churchill Downs November 4 and 5.
Keeneland features two Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In Challenge races today -- the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes for two-year-old fillies and the Grade III Stoll Keenan Ogden Phoenix Stakes for three-year-olds.
A wide-open field of fifteen well-matched fillies is set to compete in the 1 1/16 mile Darley Alcibiades. This is a Breeders' Cup Win & You're In race which gives the winner a berth in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The morning line favorite at 5-1 is the Michael Matz-trained And Why Not. The daughter of Street Cry finished third, beaten 10 ¾ lengths, in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes last month at Saratoga. She has never run more than seven furlongs and never on the turf. As Keeneland’s Polytrack surface is most equated to turf, whether And Why Not will take to it, is an unknown. In the filly’s two previous starts, jockey Julien Leparoux held the mount, but today Garrett Gomez will take the reins.
Leparoux will pilot New Wave, who finished second in her last start, the 1 1/16 mile P.G. Johnson Stakes over the Saratoga turf course. Prior to that, she was fourth in the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes. New Wave is only one of four in this field that has previously attempted the 1 1/16 mile distance. The others are Putthebabiesdown, Heart Of Destiny, and Ann Of The Dance. The latter two being victorious at the distance.
An interesting maiden winner is Little Red Feather Racing’s Egg Drop. The Mike Mitchell-trained filly is coming out of a $63,000 maiden race and is 8-1 on the morning-line. In her only start, she beat Contested, a filly who broke her maiden in fine fashion at Santa Anita this past Sunday. As the daughter of Alphabet Soup who is nearly white in color, Egg Drop will certainly be one that you will take notice of in this race.
Former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones will bring his undefeated Tu Endie Wei to Keeneland. She won two ungraded $150,000 stakes races at Woodbine this summer, but has not raced in nearly two months. Her work record appears consistent and shows one bullet work three weeks ago. With BRIS speed figures of 93 and 100, Tu Endie Wei looks dangerous.
Sire Kitten’s Joy will have two daughters in the field: 6-1 Sweet Cat and 12-1 Stephanie’s Kitten. Sweet Cat has one win on the turf and a second place finish over a sloppy dirt track at Saratoga. Sweet Cat will attempt a route distance for the first time for her trainer Todd Pletcher.
Stephanie’s Kitten finished third in her last race, the one mile Grade 3 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine. She earned a 95 BRIS speed figure for the effort, which is the highest speed figure any of these girls have earned in their last race.
The Kitten’s Joy progeny tend to do well over the Polytrack surface (remember Coolmore Lexington Stakes winner Derby Kitten?), so watch out for these two fillies.
Rounding out the field are Flashy Lassie, Venetian Sonata, Frolic's Revenge, Cheerleader, Tavern On The Bay, and On Fire Baby.
The race is the ninth on the Keeneland card with a scheduled post of 5:45 p.m. The race can be seen on NBC VERSUS and TVG.
Photo: Courtesy Breeders’ Cup