Slew of Defending Champions Head Keeneland Nominees

September 27, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky.— St. George Stable’s Letruska, champion older dirt female of 2021 and winner of last year’s Juddmonte Spinster (G1), plus defending race winners Golden PalBell’s the OneIn Love (BRZ) and Special Reserve are among the standouts who are nominated to stakes during Keeneland’s Fall Stars Weekend on Oct. 7-9, opening weekend of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet.

The first race each day of the season, which runs through Oct. 29, is 1 p.m. ET.

Fall Stars Weekend features 11 stakes, 10 of which are graded, worth $5.45 million. Five of those races are Grade 1 events, and nine of them are Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. These “Win and You’re In” contests award the winners fees-paid berths into corresponding races for the World Championships to be held at Keeneland Nov. 4-5.

Click here for the lists of horses nominated to Fall Stars Weekend stakes and their past performances. Here is a look at those nominations:

Opening day, Friday, Oct. 7 – Entries taken Oct. 4

Leave No Trace leaves the rest behind her in the G1 Spinaway (NYRA/Coglianese)

$500,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1): The 71st running of the race for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on dirt is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Netjets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run Nov. 4.

The Darley Alcibiades attracted 38 nominations headlined by Leave No Trace and Wonder Wheel, the 1-2 finishers in the Spinaway (G1) at Saratoga.

Wellspring Stables’ Leave No Trace, trained by Phil Serpe, is undefeated in two starts with a 1½-length Spinaway victory over D.J. Stable’s Wonder Wheel, the Mark Casse trainee who previously won the Debutante (L) at Churchill Downs.

Also nominated are Lucky Seven Stable’s Fun and Feisty, trained by Kenny McPeek, and Anderson Stables, trainer Eddie Kenneally and Christian Hays’ Shoplifter, the 1-2 finishers in the Pocahontas (G3) at Churchill. The Pocahontas was run at the Darley Alcibiades distance of 1 1/16 miles.

This marks the 20th running of the Alcibiades under the sponsorship of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Darley.

Special Reserve captures the G2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (Keeneland Photo)

$350,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2): A total of 23 sprinters have been nominated to the 170th running of the 6-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up on dirt, which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 5.

Topping the nominees is defending champion Special Reserve. Owned by Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher and trained by Mike Maker, Special Reserve finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last year at Del Mar. In his most recent start, Special Reserve won the Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial at Mountaineer on Aug. 6.

Six horses have won this race in consecutive years, most recently Sum of the Parts in 2012-2013.

Among the other nominees is Bill Cosgrove’s Willy Boi. Trained by Jorge Delgado, Willy Boi won the Smile Sprint Invitational (G3) at Gulfstream in July and most recently was third behind champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga.

Be Your Best breaks her maiden at Saratoga (Susie Raisher)

$350,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2): Moved to opening day this year, the 32nd running of the race for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the grass attracted 47 nominations.

The JPMorgan Chase Jessamine is a “Win and You’re In” test for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 4.

Headlining the nominees is Michael Ryan’s undefeated Be Your Best (IRE). Trained by Horacio De Paz, Be Your Best remained perfect in two starts by posting a 3¾-length victory as the 6-5 favorite in the P.G. Johnson (L) at Saratoga run at 1 1/16 miles.

Other nominees include Chop Chop and Towhead, who finished a nose apart in the Aristocrat Gaming Juvenile Fillies (L) at Kentucky Downs while being 9 lengths clear of the third-place finisher in the mile test.

Selective LLC owns the undefeated Chop Chop, who is trained by Brad Cox. Towhead is owned by Deuce Greathouse and trained by Mike Maker.

Saturday, Oct. 9 – Entries taken Oct. 5

In Love wins the 2021 edition of the Keeneland Turf Mile, this year the Coolmore Turf Mile (Keeneland Photo)

$1 Million Coolmore Turf Mile (G1): Returned to its seven-figure purse and featuring Coolmore as the sponsor for the first time, this prestigious test for 3-year-olds and up attracted 38 nominees.

The Coolmore Turf Mile is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) Presented by PDJF to be run Nov. 5.

Topping the roster of nominees for the 37th running of the race are Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I’s defending champion In Love (BRZ) and 2020 race winner Ivar (BRZ). Both are trained by Paulo Lobo.

In Love was fifth in the FanDuel Tapit (L) at Kentucky Downs in his most recent start, and the millionaire Ivar was second in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1). Three horses have won this race twice, two of those in consecutive years with the most recent being champion Gio Ponti in 2010-2011.

Nine other millionaires are among the nominees, five of which are Grade 1 winners: LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s Casa Creed, trained by Bill Mott; Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper’s Classic Causeway, trained by Kenny McPeek; Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Anne Marie O’Brien’s Order of Australia (IRE), trained by Aidan O’Brien; Godolphin’s Santin, trained by Brendan Walsh; and Cannon Thoroughbreds’ Smooth Like Strait, trained by Michael McCarthy.

When Keeneland last held the Breeders’ Cup in 2020, Order of Australia won the FanDuel Mile Presented by PDJF.

A sixth Grade 1 winner among the nominees to this year’s Coolmore Turf Mile is Charles Fipke’s Shirl’s Speight, who was a nose winner of the Maker’s Mark Mile here in April.

The Coolmore Turf Mile marks the 25th running of a Keeneland stakes sponsored by Coolmore.

Cave Rock gallops at Santa Anita (Ernie Belmonte)

$600,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1): Grade 1 winners Forte and Cave Rock top a total of 49 nominees for the 109th running of the 1 1/16-mile dirt test for 2-year-olds.

The Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run Nov. 4.

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte, trained by Todd Pletcher, has won two of three races highlighted by a 3-length victory in the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga.

Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s Cave Rock, trained by Bob Baffert, is unbeaten in two races with his most recent victory coming in the Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) by 5¼ lengths as the 2-5 favorite.

Another intriguing nominee is Thomas Lepic and trainer Tim Martin’s Tyler’s Tribe. Undefeated in four starts at Prairie Meadows, Tyler’s Tribe has won those races by a combined 53¼ lengths.

Regal Glory prior to her victory in the G1 Jenny Wiley (Keeneland Photo)

$750,000 First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare: Regal Glory, Peter Brant’s three-time Grade 1 winner and earner of more than $2.2 million, headlines a roster of 26 nominees for the 25th running of the race for fillies and mares to be contested over a mile on the Keeneland turf course.

Trained by Chad Brown, who has saddled the First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare winner the past four years and five times overall, Regal Glory was second in the race last year to stablemate Blowout (GB) but came back to Keeneland this spring to win the Jenny Wiley (G1). Regal Glory was second in her most recent start against males in the Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga.

Brown trains two other nominees: In Italian (GB), winner of the Diana (G1) for Brant, and multiple graded stakes winner Technical Analysis (IRE) for Klaravich Stables.

Other Grade 1 winners nominated to the First Lady are Bal Mar Equine’s Dalika (GER), trained by Al Stall Jr., and trainer Phil D’Amato’s duo of Going to Vegas for Abbondanza Racing, Medallion Racing and MyRacehorse and Going Global (IRE) for CYBT, Michael Dubb, Saul Gevertz, Michael Nentwig and Ray Pagano.

Bell’s The One wins the Thoroughbred Club of America (Keeneland Photo)

$350,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2): Lothenbach Stables’ defending champion Bell’s the One headlines a roster of 21 fillies and mares nominated to the 42nd running of 6-furlong sprint on the dirt.

The Thoroughbred Club of America is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 5.

An earner of more than $2 million and a two-time graded stakes winner at Keeneland, Bell’s the One is trained by Neil Pessin. Winner of the Open Mind (L) at Churchill Downs in her most recent start, Bell’s the One has won nine of her 10 career starts at 6 furlongs.

Only one horse has won the TCA in consecutive years: Excitable Lady in 1982-1983.

Bo Hirsch’s Ce Ce, who won the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint en route to an Eclipse Award as champion female sprinter, is also among the nominees. Fifth in her lone Keeneland appearance in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), Ce Ce is trained by Michael McCarthy.

Other nominees of note are recent Grade 1 winners Goodnight Olive, who won the Ballerina for First Row Partners and Team Hanley, and Castleton Lyons’ Chi Town Lady, who won the Test. Chad Brown trains Goodnight Olive, and Wesley Ward trains Chi Town Lady.

The 2021 renewal of the G2 Woodford goes to Golden Pal (Keeneland Photo)

$350,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by FanDuel: Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Smith, Derrick Tabor and Westerberg Limited’s defending champion Golden Pal highlights a roster of 36 grass sprinters nominated to the 26th running of the race for 3-year-olds and up going 5½ furlongs over the Keeneland turf course.

Trained by Wesley Ward, Golden Pal is undefeated in three Keeneland starts: 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), 2021 Woodford and Shakertown (G2) this spring. Golden Pal notched his first Grade 1 victory in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar.

Four horses have won the Woodford in back-to-back years with the most recent being Bucchero in 2017-2018.

Ward has four other nominees to the race, including Stonestreet Stables’ two-time Group 1 winner Campanelle (IRE), Lael Stables’ two-time graded stakes winner Arrest Me Red and Ward’s two-time Shakertown winner Bound for Nowhere.

Hronis Racing’s Bran (FR), winner of the recent FanDuel Turf Sprint (G2) at Kentucky Downs, also is among the nominees. Bran is trained by John Sadler.

As part of its “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In Presented by America’s Best Racing,” CNBC will provide live coverage of the Coolmore Turf Mile and Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity from 5-6 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 9 – Entries taken Oct. 6

Letruska after her winning performance in last year’s G1 Spinster (Keeneland Photo)

$600,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1): The aforementioned Letruska tops a list of 20 fillies and mares nominated to the 67th running of the race to be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt.

The Juddmonte Spinster is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run Nov. 5.

Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska has won two of four races in 2022. In her most recent start, she was third in the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga.

Four horses have won this race in consecutive years with the most recent being Blue Prize (ARG) in 2018-2019. In 2019, Blue Prize next won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Among other nominees are trainer Todd Pletcher’s duo of champion Malathaat and Nest, winners of the past two runnings of the Central Bank Ashland (G1) here.

Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat opened her 2022 campaign with a victory in the Baird Doubledogdare (G3) here and most recently won the Personal Ensign. Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest, who won this year’s Central Bank Ashland by 8¼ lengths, took the Alabama (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) by daylight margins in her past two starts.

Other Grade 1 winners among the nominees are Whisper Hill Farm, Qatar Racing and Flurry Racing Stables’ Shedaresthedevil, who was third in this race in 2020, and Stonestreet Stables’ Clairiere. Brad Cox trains Shedaresthedevil, and Steve Asmussen trains Clairiere.

Boppy O takes the G3 With Anticipation (Chelsea Durand)

$350,000 Castle & Key Bourbon (G2): Breeze Easy and John C. Oxley’s Boppy O and West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing’s Battle of Normandy, the 1-2 finishers in last month’s With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga, top a list of 44 nominees to the 32nd running of the 1 1/16-mile grass test for 2-year-olds worth $350,000.

The Castle & Key Bourbon is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 4.

Mark Casse trains Boppy O, who won the With Anticipation in his grass debut. Shug McGaughey trains Battle of Normandy, who has made both of his starts on grass.

Other nominees of note are Fergus Galvin, Marc Detampel and Magnolia Racing Syndicate’s Reckoning Force, winner of the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile (L) and now trained by Brendan Walsh, and Iapetus Racing and Diamond T Racing’s Gigante, winner of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Kitten’s Joy at Colonial Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Love Reigns wins her Keeneland debut (Keeneland Photo)

$250,000 Indian Summer (L) Presented by Keeneland Select: Stonestreet Stables’ filly Love Reigns (IRE), fourth in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot before a daylight victory in the Bolton Landing (L) at Saratoga, headlines the 42 nominees to the fifth running of the 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 (G1) to be run Nov. 4.

Trained by Wesley Ward, who has won two runnings of the Indian Summer with fillies, Love Reigns romped to a 9¾-length victory on the grass in her debut on closing day of the Keeneland Spring Meet.

In the Bolton Landing, Love Reigns defeated Indian Summer nominee Danse Macabre, who came back to win the Ainsworth Untapable at Kentucky Downs. Kelsey Danner trains Danse Macabre for NBS Stable and Elements Racing.

Also among the nominees are Mike McCarty’s Private Creed and R3 Racing’s Sharp Aza Tack, the 1-2 finishers in the Global Tote Juvenile Sprint (L) at Kentucky Downs. Steve Asmussen trains Private Creed, and Doug O’Neill trains Sharp Aza Tack.

As part of its “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In Presented by America’s Best Racing,” CNBC will provide live coverage of the Juddmonte Spinster and Castle & Key Bourbon from 5-6 p.m.

Keeneland Press Release

Main photo: Letruska wins the 2021 edition of the G1 Spinster (Keeneland Photo)

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