Brightwork after her victory in the Spinaway (G1) Sep. 3 at Saratoga (Susie Raisher)
Alcibiades Is Next Stop on Road to the Kentucky Oaks + a Win and You’re In for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
By Amber Joyce
LEXINGTON, Ky.— Undefeated Grade 1 winner Brightwork and Pocahontas (G3) victress V V’s Dream are set to knock heads in Friday’s $600,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland.
Likely to be favored in the field of nine two-year-old fillies, WSS Racing, LLC’s Brightwork looks to become a perfect 5-for-5 in her young racing career. The bay daughter of Outwork most recently notched a half-length victory in the Spinaway (G1) Sep. 3 at Saratoga, turning back a determined Ways and Means to make yet another visit to the winner’s circle.
Prior to the Spinaway, Brightwork was a runaway winner of the Adirondack (G3), also at Saratoga, and before that, became a stakes winner in the Debutante at Ellis Park. She kicked off her career in April at Keeneland, traveling 4 ½ furlongs over the main track.
Though she’ll be reunited with a surface she’s familiar with and has won over, Brightwork will face a new test in the 1 1/16 mile Alcibiades. The seven-furlong distance of the Spinaway is the farthest she has contested, leaving the added ground and additional turn a question mark.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will return to the saddle for trainer John Ortiz from post position seven.
Contrary to her chief rival, MJM Racing and Magdalena Racing’s V V’s Dream has already traveled a route of ground. The one mile Pocahontas (G3) Sep. 16 at Churchill Downs saw this Kenny McPeek trainee cruise to an 8 ¾ length victory, all while under a hand ride.
The Pocahontas was the first stakes win for V V’s Dream (and the first graded stakes win for an offspring of Spendthrift Farm’s Mitole) and her first time trying graded stakes company. One start and two months prior, she was bested by Brightwork in the Debutante, settling for second by a mere half-length. Her only other start was a debut romp May 16 at Churchill Downs.
Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. will be reunited with V V’s Dream from post position five.
Trainer McPeek also sends out Walking L Thoroughbreds, LLC’s Shimmering Allure [Julien Leparoux, post position nine], who edged clear to break her maiden at fourth asking Sep. 20 at Churchill Downs.
A win in the Alcibiades would give McPeek a sixth victory in the race and his third since capturing the 2018 running. His most recent triumph came with Simply Ravishing in 2020.
Another trainer looking for additional Alcibiades success is Brad Cox, who won the race in both 2019 and 2021, with British Idiom and Juju’s Map, respectively. Cox will send out a pair of maiden winners in the form of Alpine Princess and Emery.
Full of Run Racing II, LLC and Madaket Stables LLC’s Alpine Princess [Florent Geroux, post position six] will be making her third career start and her first since coming up victorious by a head in a seven-furlong maiden Sep. 3 at Saratoga. That day, Alpine Princess found herself eight-wide in upper stretch before making a rally and digging in for the win.
The margin of victory was much larger for Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Emery [Tyler Gaffalione, post position eight], who chased the pace and pulled away a 5 ¾ length winner in her debut Aug. 30 at Saratoga.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher also brings a pair of runners to the Alcibiades.
MKW Racing’s stakes-placed Wine On Tap [John Velazquez, post position four] dips her hooves into graded stakes waters for the second time, having finished a weakening fourth as the favorite in Saratoga’s Schuylerville (G3) July 13.
Following the Schuylerville, Wine On Tap took on the Sorority at Monmouth Park and was again defeated as the favorite, settling for second after leading the way for most of the race. Wine On Tap turned heads on debut, proving a much the best winner June 18 at Belmont Park.
Drawn alongside her stablemate, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Candied [Luis Saez, post position three] steps up in class off of a winning unveiling Aug. 20 at Saratoga.
Also entered is Greg Tramontin’s Alys Beach [Flavien Prat, post position one], who finished fourth beaten 8 ½ lengths in the Spinaway. The Spinaway was her first start after narrowly defeating next-out winner Life Talk in her Saratoga debut July 30. Tom Amoss trains this daughter of Omaha Beach.
Rounding out the field is Crazy Cami [Gerardo Corrales, post position two] for Nice Guys Stables and trainer Mike Maker. Crazy Cami will be facing a steep test, having been unsuccessful in three career starts. She was last seen finishing second in an allowance at Kentucky Downs, one place better than stakes-winning Tx Women for Arts.
The Alcibiades is the second race on the 2023-24 Road to the Kentucky Oaks and awards qualifying points to the top five finishers on a scale of 10-5-3-2-1. V V’s Dream tops the current Oaks leaderboard with 10 points earned for winning the Pocahontas, the first Oaks prep.
The Alcibiades is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, providing the winner with an automatic and free entry into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Keeneland’s Friday card also features the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) and the Jessamine S. presented by Keeneland November (G2T), Win and You’re In races for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), respectively.
The field for the Darley Alcibiades (G1) with riders, trainers, and weights from the rail out:
|1||Alys Beach||Flavien Prat||Tom Amoss||122|
|2||Crazy Cami||Gerardo Corrales||Mike Maker||122|
|3||Candied||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher||122|
|4||Wine On Tap||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||122|
|5||V V’s Dream||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||Kenny McPeek||122|
|6||Alpine Princess||Florent Geroux||Brad Cox||122|
|7||Brightwork||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||John Ortiz||122|
|8||Emery||Tyler Gaffalione||Brad Cox||122|
|9||Shimmering Allure||Julien Leparoux||Kenny McPeek||122|