Three defending champions- Uni (GB), Bowies Hero and Engage – are among the marquee names appearing on the lists of nominees to Fall Stars Weekend on Oct. 2-4, opening weekend of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet that precedes the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at the track. The first post each day of the Fall Meet, which runs through Oct. 24, is 1:05 p.m. ET.
Featuring horses from the nation’s leading owners, trainers and jockeys, Fall Stars Weekend comprises 10 stakes, nine of which are graded, worth $3.15 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 37th World Championships on Nov. 6-7.
“Fall Stars Weekend traditionally showcases many Breeders’ Cup-bound horses, and this year these stakes take on even greater significance as we anticipate the World Championships at Keeneland,” Keeneland Director of Racing Bob Elliston said. “We value the enthusiastic support of our horsemen and our fans during this challenging time. No doubt, this Fall Meet and Breeders’ Cup will look different from previous years, but we are committed to offering the same exceptional racing fans have come to expect from Keeneland.”
Click here for the list of horses nominated to Fall Stars Weekend stakes and their past performances. Here is a look at those nominations:
Opening day, Friday, Oct. 2 – Entries taken Sept. 29
Darley Alcibiades (G1): The 69th running of the $350,000 race for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the main track is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run Nov. 6.
The Darley Alcibiades attracted 32 nominees headlined by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Swilcan Stable’s Vequist. Trained by Butch Reid, Vequist rebounded from a narrow defeat in her debut at Parx to win Saratoga’s Spinaway (G1) by 9½ lengths.
Another runaway Saratoga stakes winner nominated to the Darley Alcibiades is the Heider Family Stables’ Thoughtfully. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Thoughtfully won the Adirondack (G2) by 5 lengths and is unbeaten in two starts.
Also among the nominees are Albaugh Family Stables’ Girl Daddy, trained by Dale Romans, and Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Crazy Beautiful, trained by Kenny McPeek. They are the 1-2 finishers in the Pocahontas (G3) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 3.
Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2): A total of 34 sprinters have been nominated to the 168th running of the $200,000 6-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up on the main track that serves as a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 7.
Topping the nominees is defending champion Engage, owned by Woodford Racing. Unraced since finishing fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Engage is one of five Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix nominees trained by Steve Asmussen.
Two of the Asmussen nominees are Grade 1 winners at Saratoga this year: Phoenix Thoroughbred III and Three Chimneys Farm’s Volatile (Alfred G. Vanderbilt) and L and N Racing’s Echo Town (H. Allen Jerkens Presented by Runhappy). For Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Asmussen also trains the undefeated Yaupon, winner of the Amsterdam (G2) in his most recent start.
Four other Grade 1 winners are among the nominees, including 2017 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix winner Whitmore. The $3 million earner, who is owned by Robert LaPenta, trainer Ron Moquett and Head of Plains Partners, Whitmore claimed his Grade 1 victory in the 2018 Forego.
Another previous Keeneland winner among the nominees is Gatsas Stable and R.A. Hill Stable’s Vekoma. Trained by George Weaver, Vekoma took the 2019 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and in his past two starts won the Runhappy Metropolitan (G1) and Runhappy Carter (G1).
Other Grade 1-winning nominees are Maggi Moss and Greg Tramontin’s No Parole, winner of the Woody Stephens Presented by Claiborne Farm at Belmont for trainer Tom Amoss, and Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider and John Xitco’s Collusion Illusion, winner of the Bing Crosby at Del Mar. He is trained by Mark Glatt.
Wagers: Guaranteed Pick 4 Presented by TVG that includes the two stakes.
Saturday, Oct. 3 – Entries taken Sept. 30
Shadwell Turf Mile (G1): The $750,000 test for 3-year-olds and up attracted 28 nominees for the “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1) to be run Nov. 7.
Topping the roster of nominees for the 35th running of the Shadwell Turf Mile are the past two winners of the race in Bowies Hero and Next Shares plus recent Fourstardave (G1) winner Halladay.
Agave Racing Stable, ERJ Racing, Madaket Stables and Rockin Robin Racing Stable’s Bowies Hero is trained by Phil D’Amato. In the Shadwell Turf Mile, Bowies Hero would be cutting back to a mile for the first time since a runner-up effort in the American (G3) at Santa Anita in June.
Next Shares, owned by a partnership that includes trainer Richard Baltas, was fifth in the Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 7 in his most recent start. Prior to that, Next Shares had troubled starts in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland and Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita.
The respective winners of those two races, Gary Barber’s War of Will and Peter Brant’s Raging Bull (FR), also are nominated to the Shadwell as is Gary Barber’s star mare Got Stormy, who also is nominated to the First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare (G1) and the Woodford (G2) Presented by TVG.
Harrell Ventures’ Halladay scored a front-running victory in the Fourstardave for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the 2005 Shadwell with Host (CHI).
Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1): Grade 1 winners Jackie’s Warrior and Dr. Schivel top a total of 30 nominees for the 107thrunning of the 1 1/16-mile dirt test for 2-year-olds. The $400,000 stakes is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1).
J. Kirk Robison’s Jackie’s Warrior has won all three of his starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. The colt debuted in June at Churchill and at Saratoga won the Saratoga Special (G2) and Runhappy Hopeful (G1) by daylight margins.
Red Baron’s Barn, Rancho Temescal, William Branch and William Dean Reeves’ Dr. Schivel delivered as the favorite in the Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) for his second victory in four starts. Dr. Schivel now is trained by Mark Glatt.
Also among the nominees is Albaugh Family Stables’ Sittin On Go. Trained by Dale Romans, Sittin On Go is perfect in two starts and took the Iroquois Presented by Ford (G3) by 2½ lengths at Churchill on Sept. 5. His sire is Brody’s Cause, one of the four Breeders’ Futurity winners for Romans.
First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare (G1): Robert LaPenta, Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners and Bethlehem Stables’ Uni headlines the roster of 20 nominees for the 23rd running of the $350,000 race for fillies and mares to be contested over a mile on the Keeneland turf course. The stakes 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. 7.
Trained by Chad Brown, Uni could become the first runner to repeat in the First Lady. The champion turf female of 2019, Uni was third in her 2020 debut in the Just a Game (G1) behind other First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare nominees Newspaperofrecord (IRE) and Beau Recall (IRE) and then seventh as the favorite against males in the Fourstardave.
Got Stormy has finished in front of Uni in two of their three matchups with the one setback coming in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) that earned Uni the Eclipse Award. Trained by Mark Casse, Got Stormy recorded her first victory of 2020 in the Ladies Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 12. In her lone Keeneland start, Got Stormy finished third in the 2019 Jenny Wiley (G1).
Also nominated is Jules Iavarone, Michael Iavarone and Jerry McLanahan’s Lady Prancealot (IRE), who won last year’s Pin Oak Valley View (G3) at Keeneland before taking the American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita.
Thoroughbred Club of America (G2): Grade 1 winners Mia Mischief and Bell’s the One highlight a total of 17 fillies and mares nominated to the 40th running of the $200,000 dash run at 6 furlongs on the main track. The stakes is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 7.
Stonestreet Stables’ Mia Mischief, third in the TCA last year, won the 2019 Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill and most recently finished second in the Madison (G1) at Keeneland. The millionaire is trained by Steve Asmussen.
Lothenbach Stables’ Bell’s the One gave trainer Neil Pessin his first Grade 1 victory when she won the Derby City Distaff Presented by Derby City Gaming at Churchill on Sept. 5. Bell’s the One has two wins in four Keeneland starts, including the Lexus Raven Run (G2) last fall.
Woodford (G2) Presented by TVG: The top three finishers from July’s Shakertown (G2) and the top two finishers from the TwinSpires Turf Sprint Presented by Sysco (G2) at Churchill on Sept. 4 top a roster of 33 turf sprinters nominated to the 24thrunning of the $150,000 race for 3-year-olds and up going 5 ½ furlongs over the Keeneland turf course.
Amy Dunne, Brenda Miley, Westrock Stables and Jean Wilkinson’s Leinster prevailed in a three-horse photo in the Shakertown over Susan and Jim Hill’s Totally Boss and owner-trainer Wesley Ward’s Bound for Nowhere. Rusty Arnold trains Leinster and Totally Boss.
Dunne also is a part owner of Diamond Oops, who edged Extravagant Kid by a neck in the TwinSpires Turf Sprint. Diamond Oops, who is also nominated to the Shadwell Turf Mile and Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix, is trained by Patrick Biancone and also owned by Diamond 100 Racing Club, D P Racing and Biancone.
Extravagant Kid, fifth and beaten 1¼ lengths in the Shakertown, is trained by Brendan Walsh for owner DARRS.
Wagers: $400,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4 and $300,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 5.
Sunday, Oct. 4 – Entries taken Oct. 1
Juddmonte Spinster (G1): Champions Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou plus Shedaresthedevil and Swiss Skydiver, the 1-2 finishers in the recent Kentucky Oaks (G1), top a list of 24 fillies and mares nominated to the 65th running of the 1 1/8-mile main track test that carries a purse of $400,000. The stakes is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run Nov. 7. In 2019, Blue Prize (ARG) won both races.
Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ Monomoy Girl, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2018, won that year’s Central Bank Ashland (G1) in her lone Keeneland start. Trained by Brad Cox, Monomoy Girl has won all three of her 2020 races with the most recent coming in the La Troienne Presented by Oak Grove Racing and Gaming (G1) at Churchill on Sept. 4.
Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s Midnight Bisou, the champion older dirt female of 2019, already has earned a Breeders’ Cup Distaff spot by virtue of her victory in the Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill in June. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou never has raced at Keeneland.
Qatar Racing, Flurry Racing Stables and Big Aut Farms’ Shedaresthedevil has won her past three starts highlighted by a 1½-length victory over Swiss Skydiver in the Kentucky Oaks. Trained by Brad Cox, Shedaresthedevil also would be making her Keeneland debut.
Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver finished second against males in the Toyota Blue Grass in her lone Keeneland start. Trained by Kenny McPeek, Swiss Skydiver has four graded stakes victories this year highlighted by the Alabama (G1).
Also among the nominees are Peter Brant’s Dunbar Road, winner of the 2019 Alabama; Calumet Farm’s Vexatious, who defeated Midnight Bisou in the Personal Ensign (G1) to earn a Breeders’ Cup berth; and Paul and Karen Eggert’s Ollie’s Candy, winner of the 2019 Clement Hirsch (G1) at Del Mar.
Bourbon (G2): Three Diamonds Farm’s Fire At Will, winner of the off-the-turf With Anticipation at Saratoga for trainer Mike Maker, tops a list of 40 nominees to the 30th running of the 1 1/16-mile grass test for 2-year-olds. The stakes is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 6.
Also included in the nominees are the 1-2 finishers in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf (L), Legacy Ranch’s Big Fish, trained by David Hofmans, and Altamira Racing Stable, CYBT and Michael Nentwig’s Ebeko (IRE), trained by Peter Miller.
Indian Summer (L) Presented by Keeneland Select: Stonestreet Stables’ undefeated Campanelle (IRE), already a two-time group winner in Europe, headlines the 27 nominees to the third running of the $150,000 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. 6.
Trained by Wesley Ward, Campanelle debuted May 31 at Gulfstream Park and from there went on to win the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot in England and the Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville in France.
In total, Ward trains 11 Indian Summer nominees. Included in that group are Ranlo Investments’ Golden Pal, winner of the Skidmore at Saratoga and runner-up in the Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot; Breeze Easy’s Outadore, winner of the Juvenile Turf Sprint (L) at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 12; and Stonestreet’s Wink, winner of the Colleen at Monmouth who was second in the Prix d’Arenberg (G3) at Longchamp in France on Sept. 3.