The Jerry Hollendorfer trained Vasilika ships east from Sothern California to take on a field 13 foes including a pair from trainer Chad Brown’s strong barn in the $400,000 First Lady (G1) at one mile on turf.
The First Lady is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Saturday’s Keeneland card also includes three other Breeders’ Cup Challenge races—the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America S (G2).
Vasilika is a win machine, making 34 career starts and 18 visits to the winner’s circle including in her last outing in the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar. Flavien Prat has the return call for the Hall of Fame trainer.
Chad Brown, who won this race last year with A Raving Beauty will send out the 9-5 morning line favorite Rushing Fall and as well as the second choice Uni (4-1).
Rushing Fall has won 8 of her 10 career starts and is perfect in four trips over the Keeneland turf course. She will break from the 11 post with regular rider Javier Castellano aboard.
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Uni is coming off a third against males in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) where she was the beaten favorite.
“She had a tough trip in the Fourstardave (G1) in her last start against the boys”, Brown’s assistant Whit Beckman said. “She just loves it here. She is one of the better milers in the country.”
There are three more Breeders’ Cup Challenge races coming up on Sunday at Keeneland including the $500,000 Spinster (G1).
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Saturday’ featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 8 The First Lady G1 Post time 5:04 ET
6 Vasilika 5-1
4 Uni 4-1
11 Rushing Fall 9-5
13 Just Wonderful 12-1
The mare ships in from Southern California for Jerry Hollendorfer and is coming off a nose win in the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar. The mare has won 5 of 6 starts this year after winning 9 of 11 last year. She was a good third two back in the Yellow Ribbon ‘Cap (G2) off a 2 ½ month break. She has won 10 of her 20 starts at today’s one-mile distance. She is versatile, can come from off the pace or sit fairly close. There is not a ton of speed signed up to go here and it looks as if Prat likely will be more forwardly placed in this spot. She has to beat not won but two Chad Brown trainees, but the 5-1 morning line looks fair enough if we get it.
This mare will likely be the higher price of the Brown duo. She took on the boys last out in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) at Saratoga. The mare was far back early saving ground, had to steady and alter course to the outside and split foes late to get up to finish a good third, missing the place spot by a head. She won the Matriarc (G1) last December to end her ’18 campaign on a good note and won the Perfect Sting two back at Belmont Park off a 6 ½ month layoff. Her lone trip over the turf here came in the ’17 QEII Cup (G1) where she checked in fourth as a three-year-old. She has improved since then and looks as if she is sitting on a good one here third off the bench for Brown.
This filly sports a perfect record in four starts over the Keeneland turf including the QEII Cup (G1) last fall and the Jenny Wiley (G1) this spring. She has only been beaten twice in her 10-race career, a neck loss in the ’18 Edgewood (G3) and last out in the Diana (G1) at Saratoga over good ground behind her stablemate Sistercharlie, who came back to win the Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington Park on Aug. 10. She draws a tough post but has enough speed to overcome it and Castellano likely sends her early and tries to take this field gate to wire.
WIN: Vasilika to win at 4-1 or better.
EXACTA: 4,6 / 4,6,11,13
TRIFECTA: 4,6 / 4,6,11,13 / 2,4,6,11,13