The fall Keeneland meeting opens with a bang on Friday with a pair of graded stakes highlighted by a full field going to the starting gate in the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1).
A total of 16 two-year-old fillies were entered and 14 will start in the 1 1/16 miles test on the main track with the winner earning a fee expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
The Ken McPeek trained Restless Rider is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The daughter of Distorted Humor is coming off a runner up finish in the Spinaway (G1). She won the Debutante two back at Churchill Downs by 11 ¼ lengths.
McPeek is seeking his fourth win in the race and has saddled the runner up in seven editions of the race.
The co-feature on Friday’s card is the $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) which drew a field of six. The winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
It is tough to separate the top three in the race, with H. Allen Jerkens (G1) winner Promises Fulfilled the 8-5 morning line favorite. He is followed by Forego (G1) winner Whitmore at 9-5 while Forego third place finisher Limousine Liberal is the third choice at 2-1.
Whitmore won the Phoenix last year by a nose with Limousine Liberal checking in third while beaten just a nose and a neck for the top spot.
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There are four more Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on tap on Saturday at Keeneland, and three more on Sunday. All will be included in my Best Plays Report each day.
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 9 The Darley Alcibiades G1 (Post time 5:30 ET)
#8 Lady T N T 4-1
#3 Restless Rider 3-1
#7 Boujie Girl 6-1
#5 Kim K 12-1
Analysis: Lady T N T takes on stakes company for the first time here after a pair of impressive looking wins. Last out the filly took the field gate to wire to beat Alw-2L optional claimers over the main track here at six furlongs just two weeks ago. Two back the filly graduated at the Spa over a wet track, taking the field gate to wire over a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers that day. She was a $335,000 Ocala purchase, out of the stakes winner High Heeled Hope ($235,227) who has dropped eight other winners, top earner stakes winner Sweet Hope ($251,209). She is in good hands with the Sharp barn that is 23% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.
Restless Rider stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out in the Spinaway (G1) at the Spa going seven furlongs. She won the Debutante two back in her stakes debut by 11 1/4 lengths over the main track at Churchill Downs. The $150,000 Keeneland purchase has enough pedigree to handle two turns, by Distorted Humor out of a Unbridled’s Song mare. The McPeek barn has won this race three times and has run second seven times with just 18 starters. Lasix is added to the mix here and she has come back with a couple of good works at Keeneland since her last effort.
Boujie Girl is one of two in here shipping in from the west coast for the Miller barn. This gal was no match for Bellafina in her last out two starts, thirds in the Sorrento (G2) at six furlongs and the Del Mar Debutante (G1) at seven furlongs. Bellafina came back to win the Chandelier (G1) in her last outing last Saturday by 6 1/2 lengths. She is by Flashback out of a Closing Argument mare that has dropped one other winner. She looks capable of running faster than she showed last out.
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EXACTA: 3,8 / 3,5,7,8
TRIFECTA: 3,8 / 3,5,7,8 / 3,5,6,7,8