The fall Keeneland meeting kicks off on Friday with a field of 11 two-year-old fillies lining up in the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
At stake is a fees-expenses paid trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Nov. 1.
The co-feature on the opening day card is the $250,000 Phoenix (G2) which is a Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
The Phoenix drew a field of 11 including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner up Whitmore, defending champ Promises Fulfilled and Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) runner up Diamond Ops.
The Mark Casse trained Perfect Alibi is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Alcibiades. The filly is the lone graded stakes winner in the field, winning the Spinaway (G1) at Saratoga at seven furlongs in her last outing on Sept. 1.
Casse has won this race three times in the past seven years, most recently with Heavenly Love in 2017.
Five of the fillies come into the Alcibiades exiting a maiden special weight race. Among those is the promising Shug McGaughey trainee Alandra, who broke her maiden going seven furlongs at Saratoga.
During the opening three days of the Keeneland meeting there are nine Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. After two on Friday there are four on Saturday including the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and three on Sunday featuring the $500,000 Spinster (G1).
In addition, Belmont Park hosts the $500,000 Champagne (G1) on Saturday and three more “Win and You’re In” races on Sunday including the $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (G1).
At Santa Anita on Saturday we have the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (GI) and on Sunday the $100,000 Speakeasy on Sunday.
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
4 Alandra 5-1
7 Perfect Alibi 5-2
6 British Idiom 4-1
5 Micheline 8-1
The Shug McGaughey trainee was a game maiden winner going seven furlongs in her debut at Saratoga. She dueled in the stretch with a rival coming in on her and dug in to win by a half length at 7-1. The fourth-place finisher Impeccable Style came back to graduate in her next outing on Sept. 28 at Churchill Downs. She has plenty of pedigree to move forward with more ground She is by Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Blame out of the stakes winner Altesse ($412,232) who was trained by Shug and who has dropped two other foals to race, both winners. The barn is 26% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.
This filly is the lone graded stakes winner in the field, and she has done it twice. She won the Adirondack (G2) and then the Spinaway (G1), both at Saratoga sprinting. She saved ground much of the trip last out and exchanged a few bumps with the eventual runner up in the stretch, winning by 1 ¼ lengths. The $220,000 purchase can handle more ground. She is by Sky Mesa out of the stakes winner No Use Denying ($219,016) who has dropped four other foals to race, all winners. She is the logical one to beat in here but is likely going to end up a light price.
The filly dueled for the early lead, came four wide into the stretch and drew clear late to break her maiden in a smart looking performance in her debut, winning by 3 ½ lengths. The runner up Miss Marissa came back to break her maiden in her next outing on Sept. 8 at Belmont Park. The Brad Cox trainee has been working sharply for her stakes debut at Churchill Downs. She is by Flashback out of the stakes winner Rose and Shine ($399,829) who has dropped two other foals to race including stakes winner Prada of Roses ($90,967). She adds lasix to the mix here. The Cox barn is 23% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
WIN: Alandra to win at 7-2 or better.
EXACTA: 4,7 / 4,5,6,7
TRIFECTA: 4,7 / 4,5,6,7 / 4,5,6,7,10