10/06/2016 12:26PM

Deep talent pool in Shadwell Turf Mile

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Mondialiste won the Arlington Million in his most recent start.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Now this is what the biggest race of your meet is supposed to look like.

The $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile not only offers the richest purse of the 17-day Keeneland fall meet, but it might also be the best in terms of depth, class, speed figures, and most any other metric you might apply.

New York, California, Kentucky, Canada, England, and even the female point of view will be proudly represented Saturday in the 31st running of the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, which highlights a blockbuster 10-race card that includes four other graded stakes and gets under way at 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

Mondialiste and Kasaqui, the one-two finishers eight weeks ago in the Arlington Million, are among an 11-horse lineup that also includes graded stakes winners Grand Arch, Tourist, Ironicus, Ring Weekend, What a View, and the lone filly, Miss Temple City.

It’s competition truly befitting a key Win and You’re In prep to the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

“This is definitely a deeper race than in the spring,” said Graham Motion, referring to Miss Temple City becoming a Grade 1 winner here in April by defeating male rivals in the Maker’s 46 Mile.

Mondialiste, as the winner of the prestigious Arlington Million, might not actually be favored in the Shadwell, but the reality is that there should be minimal separation among the top six or seven tote-board choices. A frantic finish to the Aug. 13 Million found Mondialiste and jockey Daniel Tudhope narrowly best among four horses, and it would surprise no one if they’re involved in another such scramble Saturday.

The Shadwell is carded as the last of five straight stakes and the ninth race overall, with post time set for 5:45. NBC Sports will highlight the race during a one-hour (5-6 p.m.) telecast. The preceding stakes are the Grade 3 Woodford (race 5), Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America (race 6), Grade 1 First Lady (race 7), and Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity (race 8).

Among the multirace wagers being offered are an all-stakes pick five (races 5-9) with a $250,000 pool guarantee and an all-stakes pick four (races 6-9) with a $350,000 pool guarantee. There also will be the regular late pick four on races 7-10.

The Saturday forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high temperature of 68. The place will be absolutely jammed a few races into the card, but then many fans will skip out early for the Vanderbilt-Kentucky football game at nearby Commonwealth Stadium (4 p.m. kickoff).

One hour before first post, a public interview session will be conducted in the paddock with Jose Ortiz, who was the leading jockey at Saratoga this summer and will ride at least the first two weeks of the Keeneland meet.

The Shadwell was originally known as the Keeneland Breeders’ Cup Mile until Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashad’s far-flung racing and breeding empire assumed sponsorship in 1999. It became the first seven-figure race in track history with its 2014 running.

Shadwell Turf Mile, Race 9

KEY CONTENDERS

Mondialiste, by Galileo

Last 3 Beyers: 100-NA-NA

◗ Based in North Yorkshire with British trainer David O’Meara, this 6-year-old Irish-bred horse will be making his first start since rallying from just off the pace to win the Million in an effort that further demonstrated his fondness for North American soil (last fall, he won the Woodbine Mile and was second to Tepin in the BC Mile).

Tourist, by Tiznow

Last 3 Beyers: 107-109-97

◗ Co-owned by Gary Barber and breeder WinStar Farm, this 5-year-old horse got a long-overdue Grade 1 victory in the Aug. 20 Fourstardave at Saratoga in his most recent start after a series of frustrating defeats that belied his considerable ability.

Ironicus, by Distorted Humor

Last 3 Beyers: 106-100-106

◗ Away since finishing a troubled second in the Grade 1 Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day, this hard-hitting gray now takes a turnback following a series of sharp workouts in New York for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.

What a View, by Vronsky

Last 3 Beyers: 100-107-102

◗ There’s little doubt this speedy California-bred will be sent to the front from his outside post by Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux when coming off a six-month layoff and risking a four-race win streak that includes the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile.

Miss Temple City, by Temple City

Last 3 Beyers: 97-101-108

◗ This 4-year-old filly was just terrific here last spring and will now have Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado aboard after perhaps moving a bit prematurely when facing her own kind in the Aug. 27 Ballston Spa at Saratoga.

Ring Weekend, by Tapit

Last 3 Beyers: 103-98-100

◗ Winner of the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch on closing day at Saratoga, this $1.3 million earner has a versatile running style that should give Junior Alvarado some leeway as this competitive race unfolds.

Grand Arch, by Arch

Last 3 Beyers: 101-89-99

◗ Winner of the 2015 Shadwell in a three-way photo over The Pizza Man and Tourist, this 7-year-old gelding has gone winless in four starts since then, although his third-place finish in the Fourstardave could prove beneficial.