A.P. Indian tops seven in Friday’s Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix

Green Lantern Stables’ homebred A.P. Indian, winner of the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) and Forego (G1) at Saratoga in his past two races, headlines a field of seven sprinters entered Tuesday for Friday’s 164th running of the $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) on opening day of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet.

The six-furlong dirt test is a “Win and You’re In” challenge race for the $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 5 at Santa Anita. The past two Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix winners, Work All Week in 2014 and Runhappy in 2015, won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and earned Eclipse Awards as the respective year’s top male sprinter.

The Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix will go as the eighth race on Friday’s opening-day 10-race program with a 4:57 p.m. ET post time. First post time Friday is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by Arnaud Delacour, A.P. Indian finished sixth in last year’s race to close out his 2015 campaign. This year A.P. Indian has won all five of his starts with Joe Bravo being aboard for the past four.

Bravo will have the mount Friday and break from post position one.

Chief threats to A.P. Indian may come from Ami’s FlatterAlsvid and Limousine Liberal.

Ivan Dalos’ Ami’s Flatter won the Commonwealth (G3) here during the Spring Meet and finished fifth in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) in his most recent dirt start. Trained by Josie Carroll, Ami’s Flatter will break from post position three and be ridden by Florent Geroux.

Black Hawk Stable’s Alsvid, third in the Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar in his most recent start, has not finished worse than third in nine starts this year. Trained by Chris Hartman, Alsvid finished seventh in last year’s race behind Runhappy over a sloppy track.

Channing Hill has the mount on Alsvid and will break from post position four.

Katherine Ball’s Limousine Liberal finished seventh in his most recent start in the seven-furlong Forego. Trained by Ben Colebrook, Limousine Liberal is Keeneland’s track-record holder for 6 ½ furlongs with a 1:15.05 clocking this spring.

Limousine Liberal will break from post position five and be ridden by Jose Ortiz.

The field for the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix, from the rail out with riders and weights is: A.P. Indian (Bravo, 124 pounds), W.B.Smudge (Julien Leparoux, 120), Ami’s Flatter (Geroux, 120), Alsvid (Hill, 120), Limousine Liberal (Ortiz, 120), The Great War(Julio Garcia, 120) and Cinco Charlie (Ricardo Santana Jr., 120).

I’m A Chatterbox works for Juddmonte Spinster

I'm A Chatterbox Image supplied by Keeneland Racecourse

I’m A Chatterbox
Image supplied by Keeneland Racecourse

Scheduled to start in Sunday’s $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1), Fletcher and Carolyn Gray’s homebred I’m a Chatterbox worked five furlongs in :59 over a fast track after the Tuesday morning renovation break.

Click here for a video of the work, the fastest of 28 at the distance.

Florent Geroux was aboard I’m a Chatterbox for trainer Larry Jones. Clockers caught her in fractions of :11.80, :22.60, :34.20, :59 and out six furlongs in 1:13.

“She breezed really well,” Jones said. “She’s one of those – and I don’t know how long she can do it – but every race has improved this year. She’s already way past her 3-year-old year, numbers-wise. Her last race was her best, and we’re hoping the Spinster will be better than her last.”

That last race was a thriller. In the Personal Ensign (G1) on Aug. 27 at Saratoga, I’m a Chatterbox had the lead for much of the 1 1/8-mile race until deep stretch when she was overtaken by eventual winner Cavorting, Curalina and Forever Unbridled and finished fourth.

“You take those four horses, run them in 10 races on 10 different tracks, every horse will win a race because those four are so good,” Jones said. “No horse is going to dominate.”

I’m a Chatterbox enters the Juddmonte Spinster with seven wins, including six stakes victories, in 15 starts and earnings of $1,884,614. Three of her races have been at Keeneland, where she won her career debut two years ago, was eighth in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and ran second in the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G) in April. She next won the Obeah and Delaware (G1) handicaps (G1) at Delaware Park.

“I’m so dang hardheaded,” Jones said about I’m a Chatterbox’s Keeneland return. “She was beat here twice. I’ve gotta be able to pull this off.”

The Juddmonte Spinster is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita. Jones is interested in going if I’m a Chatterbox wins Sunday.

 

Saratoga Special winner Gunnevera gets a feel for Keeneland

Peacock Racing Stables’ Gunnevera, winner of the Saratoga Special (G2) in his most recent start, got his initial feel of Keeneland’s main track with a 1½-mile gallop before the Tuesday morning renovation break.

This is not the first time Gunnevera has been at Keeneland, nor is it the first time for trainer Antonio Sano, who purchased Gunnevera for $16,000 at the 2015 September Yearling Sale.

A son of Dialed In out of an Unbridled mare, Gunnevera was considered a steal for the price by Sano.

“I liked his conformation,” said Sano, the leading trainer at the just-concluded Gulfstream Park Summer Meet. “I like a horse that will run a long distance and secondly I liked his pedigree.”

The 1 1/16-mile distance of Saturday’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) was the tipping point on sending Gunnevera here instead of returning to New York from his South Florida base.

“The Hopeful (Sept. 5) is seven furlongs and the Champagne this weekend is a one-turn mile,” Sano said. “I prefer the mile and a sixteenth.”

Since winning the Saratoga Special on Aug. 14, Gunnevera has had four works at Gulfstream Park West with the most recent being  a bullet five-eighths in 1:00 last Friday, the day before he shipped to Keeneland.

Sano will be seeking his first Keeneland stakes victory.

“I was here three years ago for the (Dixiana) Bourbon with Bon Accord who finished third,” Sano said.

 

Sarah Sis closing in on millionaire status

One constant the past two years during Keeneland’s Fall Meet has been a start and a win by Sarah Sis for trainer Ingrid Mason.

Mason hopes the pattern goes unchanged as Sarah Sis will go for a second Grade 2 victory here in Saturday’s 36th running of the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) with $150,000 going to the winner.

Owned by Joe Ragsdale, Sarah Sis was purchased for $10,000 at Keeneland’s 2013 September Yearling Sale. With a victory in the Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) in her most recent start, Sarah Sis pushed her earnings to $911,000.

Winner of the Lexus Raven Run (G2) here last fall, Sarah Sis has been quite the return on investment.

“You never do (think they will earn $1 million),” Mason said. “She was very impressive in breaking her maiden, but then a lot of them do that and then level out. She just continued on.”

The victory over the all-weather surface at Presque Isle marked a nice bounce back for Sarah Sis who finished ninth in the Ballerina (G1) and fifth in the Honorable Miss (G2) at Saratoga in her two previous starts.

“She is very particular about her tracks,” Mason said. “She doesn’t like deep tracks such as Churchill Downs and Saratoga. But she does like this track and the (all-weather surfaces.)”

Galloping out

The three European hopefuls for Fall Stars Weekend – Mondialiste (IRE) (Shadwell Turf Mile), Nemoralia (First Lady) and Nowor Never (IRE) (First Lady) – were cleared from quarantine and jogged on Keeneland’s  five-eighths mile all-weather Training Track Tuesday morning.

Fergal Davis was on Arlington Million (G1) winner Mondialiste, who went once around. Kerri Radcliffe was aboard Nemoralia and David Hayes was on Now or Never.
Work Tab

Wimborne Farm’s Kasaqui (ARG), runner-up in the Arlington Million (G1), worked three furlongs on the main track in :35.60 for trainer Ignacio Correas IV in preparation for Saturday’s $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). …

Allan Peterson’s Happy Ticket winner Majestic Gale worked five furlongs in company in 1:03.40 over a turf course labeled “good” for trainer Joe Sharp. Majestic Gale is expected to start in next Wednesday’s $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) for 2-year-old fillies on the grass.

 

PROBABLE FIELDS FOR FALL STARS STAKES

$1,000,000 SHADWELL TURF MILE (G1) (Entries taken Wednesday, race Saturday) – Grand Arch (Brian Lynch), Heart to Heart (Brian Lynch), Hootenanny (Wesley Ward), Ironicus (Shug McGaughey), Kasaqui (ARG) (Ignacio Correas IV), Mondialiste (IRE) (David O’Meara), Pleuven (FR) (Phil Sims), Ring Weekend (Graham Motion), Tourist (Bill Mott), Tower of Texas (Roger Attfield), Triple Threat (FR) (Bill Mott), What a View (Kenny Black).

$500,000 CLAIBORNE BREEDERS’ FUTURITY (G1) (Entries taken Wednesday, race Saturday) – Bitumen (Eddie Kennelly), Blame Will (D. Wayne Lukas), Classic Empire (Mark Casse), Gunnevera (Antonio Sano), Honor Thy Father (Kenny McPeek), Lookin At Lee (Steve Asmussen), Perro Rojo (Nick Zito), Singing Bullet (Dale Romans), Tiz Trevor (Jason Cook), Wild Shot (Rusty Arnold).

$400,000 FIRST LADY (G1) (Entries taken Wednesday, race Saturday) – Cash Control (Brad Cox), Celestine (Bill Mott), Miss Temple City (Graham Motion), Nancy From Nairobi (GB) (John Sadler), Nemoralia (Jeremy Noseda), Now Or Never (IRE) (Michael O’Callaghan), Onus (Shug McGaughey), Secret Someone (Mike Stidham), She’s Not Here (Vicki Oliver), Tepin (Mark Casse).

$200,000 THOROUGHBRED CLUB OF AMERICA (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday, race Saturday) – Bendable (Richard Mandela), Birdatthewire (Dale Romans), Fioretti (Anthony Hamilton Jr.), Lucy N Ethel (Tom Amoss), Sarah Sis (Ingrid Mason), Spelling Again (Brad Cox), Stonetastic (Kelly Breen).

$150,000 WOODFORD (G3) PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT (Entries taken Wednesday, race Saturday) –Almasty (Brad Cox), Alsvid (Chris Hartman), Big Rock (Christophe Clement), Bucchero (Tim Glyshaw), Front Pocket Money (Steve Asmussen), Holding Gold (Mark Casse), Mongol Bull (Brad Rainwater), Mongolian Saturday (Enebish Ganbat), Shogood (Scott Becker), Undrafted (Wesley Ward).

$500,000 JUDDMONTE SPINSTER (G1) (Entries taken Thursday, race Sunday) – Engaginglee (Dale Romans), Genre (Todd Pletcher), I’m a Chatterbox (Larry Jones), Innovative Idea (Eoin Harty), Paid Up Subscriber (Al Stall Jr.).

$250,000 DIXIANA BOURBON (G3) (Entries taken Thursday, race Sunday) – All Right (Kellyn Gorder), Ancient Warfare (Mark Casse), Con Te Partiro (Wesley Ward), Holiday Bonus (Graham Motion), Hot Dad (Mike Maker), It’s Your Nickel (Kenny McPeek), Keep Quiet (FR) (Mark Casse), Parlor (Eddie Kenneally), Prados Way (Steve Asmussen), Real Creel (Steve Asmussen), Royal by Nature (IRE) (Brad Cox), Wellabled (Larry Rivelli).

 

THIS DAY IN KEENELAND HISTORY: OCT. 4

Keeneland’s 2016 Fall Meet, which opens Friday, marks the track’s 80th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, Barn Notes throughout the Fall Meet will look back at memorable races and track highlights from Keeneland’s rich 80-year history.

Here are a few highlights from Oct. 4:

1975: Keeneland runs its first $100,000 race, the $130,725 Breeders’ Futurity, won by Louis Lee Haggin II’s Harbor Springs. Woody Stephens trained Harbor Springs, a son of Jacinto ridden by Eddie Maple. (The race is now the Grade 1, $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, which will be run Saturday.)

2013: Opening day of the 17-day Fall Meet on which George “Bucky” Sallee retires after some 50 years as Keeneland bugler and becomes Bugler Emeritus. Noted trumpeter Steve Buttleman becomes the new track bugler. … During the season, which ends Oct. 26, horses owned by Kenneth L. and Sarah Ramsey will win a Fall Meet record 17 races.

2014: Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan wins the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), the first seven-figure race in Keeneland history, to record the last of his record seven Keeneland graded stakes victories. His jockey, John Velazquez, wins five races that day, including the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) on Carpe Diem and the First Lady (G1) on Dayatthespa. … Owned by Jerry Frankel, Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds, Dayatthespa next will win the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita and be named the year’s champion turf female.

 

FALL STARS WEEKEND SPECIAL EVENTS

Friday, Oct. 7 – Opening day of the Fall Meet

Official Keeneland Tour. Available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in October at 8:30 a.m. ET. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets ($8 per person; 12 and younger free).

The Hill. The popular free tailgate area, available Fridays and Saturdays, is located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center (accessible via Gate 4) and features food trucks, a jumbo TV screen to capture all the racing and college football action, wagering facilities, The Keeneland Shop kiosk and complimentary shuttles to the track. On Saturdays, fans can enjoy live Bluegrass music from noon-4 p.m. BETologists also will be available to answer fans’ questions.

Craft Beer Tent. The tent on the North Terrace patio offers a special selection that includes Keeneland Fall Ale, produced by Country Boy, along with Ethereal Brewing Common Ale, SweetWater 420, Kentucky Ale College Heights, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, New Belgium Fat Tire, Stella, Country Boy Cougar Bait, Shock Bait and Breckenridge Vanilla Porter Nitro.

Friday Pick 4 Presented by TVG. A $200,000-guaranteed pool will be offered on Races 6-9.

 

Saturday, Oct. 8

Sunrise Trackside, sponsored by LEX18 and Dunkin’ Donuts, offers activities for people of all ages beginning at 7 a.m. ET: Breakfast With the Works, a Southern-style breakfast (until 8:30 a.m.) while horses train on the main track; children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7-9 a.m.); guided walking tours departing from the welcome stand near the Paddock (8-10:30 a.m.); demonstration by the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center in the Paddock (9 a.m.); trackside handicapping seminar with expert handicapper Katie Gensler (11:30 a.m.); and Q&A session with a jockey in the Walking Ring (12:05 p.m.).

The Hill
. The popular free tailgate area, available Fridays and Saturdays, is located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center (accessible via Gate 4) and features food trucks, a jumbo TV screen to capture all the racing and college football action, wagering facilities, The Keeneland Shop kiosk and complimentary shuttles to the track. On Saturdays, fans can enjoy live Bluegrass music from noon-4 p.m. BETologists also will be available to answer fans’ questions.

HERO Campaign Kick-Off

For the Fall Meet, Keeneland has teamed up with the HERO Campaign to promote the use of safe and sober designated drivers. The program launches today at the HERO table outside Keeneland’s Sales Pavilion where patrons can pledge to be a designated driver. Registrants will receive a “Be a HERO” wristband and a voucher for a free soft drink at any trackside concession stand, and the chance to win additional prizes. Patrons also can sign up for the HERO Campaign at the East and South Gates throughout the race meet.

Craft Beer Tent. 
The tent on the North Terrace patio offers a special selection that includes Keeneland Fall Ale, produced by Country Boy, along with Ethereal Brewing Common Ale, SweetWater 420, Kentucky Ale College Heights, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, New Belgium Fat Tire, Stella Artois, Country Boy Cougar Bait, Shock Bait and Breckenridge Vanilla Porter Nitro.

$250,000 All Stakes Pick 4 presented by TVG challenges patrons to handicap the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), First Lady (G1), Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

 

Sunday, Oct. 9

Jockey Autograph Signing

Meet retired and active jockeys from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. adjacent to the Paddock for an autograph signing. Racing Hall of Famer Pat Day and Triple Crown winner Jean Cruguet will be joined by Kaye Bell, James Bruin, Kaoru Chatfield-Tsuchiya, P.J. Cooksey, Tony D’Amico, Mike Manganello, Herb McCauley, Larry Melancon, John Oldham and Suzie Picou-Oldham. Proceeds benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.