10/05/2008 11:00PM

Dozen sent invites to QE II


LEXINGTON, Ky. - With the frenetic FallStars Weekend in the rearview mirror, the Keeneland fall meet will revert to a more relaxed pace with only an occasional spike in serious stakes action over the next 14 racing days.

Nine stakes were run on the opening three-day weekend, leaving 10 more through the end of the meet, Oct. 25. Foremost of those races is the lone remaining Grade 1 of the meet, the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, set for Saturday.

Invitations have been extended to the connections of 12 3-year-old fillies for the 25th QE II, a 1 1/8-mile turf race that, despite the 13-day time frame between races, occasionally produces a starter for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. The leading contenders this year are Backseat Rhythm and Magical Fantasy, both already Grade 1 winners.

Entries for the QE II will be drawn Wednesday. This is the list of invitees: Alwajeeha, Ariege, Backseat Rhythm, Closeout, Lickety Lemon, Magical Fantasy, My Baby Baby, My Princess Jess, Raw Silk, Rosa Grace, Sefroua, and Storm Mesa.

The QEII will anchor a Saturday card that also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 Perryville Stakes.

Velazquez out indefinitely

Jockey John Velazquez was flown home to New York on Sunday after sustaining a severe concussion in a spill during the seventh race Friday at Keeneland. Velazquez will be out of action at Belmont Park indefinitely, pending further evaluation of his condition.

Velazquez missed out on several key mounts over the weekend, including Bittel Road, winner of the Woodford Bourbon Stakes on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the other jockey involved in the Friday spill, Jamie Theriot, is riding with lesser ailments. Theriot incurred several chipped teeth and a possible hairline fracture in an ankle but said he intends to keep riding.

Graded stakes triple for Albarado

Adding to his phenomenal year, jockey Robby Albarado rode three of the graded stakes winners on opening weekend: Dream Empress in the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades, Thorn Song in the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile, and Indyanne in the $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.

Albarado had a chance to pick up a fourth major win Sunday when he replaced Velazquez aboard Unbridled Belle in the Spinster, but she finished ninth as the favorite in her first race over anything but dirt.

Albarado, the regular rider of Curlin, trails only Garrett Gomez for highest mount earnings among North American riders this year with more than $14.6 million.

Romans wins, but not with favorite

Before trainer Dale Romans sent out Thorn Song to win the richest race of the meet, the Shadwell, he won the third race of the day - but not with Jehan, the 4-5 favorite in a field of 11 2-year-old maiden fillies.

While Jehan was being pulled up by Albarado, Romans won the race with Honchis'n Ponchis, a first-time starter who returned $38.40. Instead of going to the winner's circle, Romans went onto the track to check out Jehan.

"She acted like she had heat stroke," he said. "We cooled her off for a long time, and she finally caught her breath. She's fine."

Romans is well aware that horseplayers can be skeptical about uncoupled entries, especially when a trainer wins with a longer shot.

"It doesn't happen very often," he said. "I told everybody I thought we could run one-two in there, although I thought Jehan would win it on experience."

Jessamine lures a crowd

Several highly promising 2-year-old turf fillies are among 14 entered for the $150,000 Jessamine Stakes on Thursday.

The Jessamine will be followed Friday by the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County, a filly and mare turf sprint. Rounding out the week of stakes will be the Grade 3, $150,000 Bryan Station for 3-year-olds on Sunday.

Pick six pays $230K

After no one was able to bring down the guaranteed pick six pool of $150,000 on Saturday, the carryover into Sunday, after takeout and consolation payoffs, was $121,430. Another $180,160 was bet into the pool Sunday, resulting in just one winning ticket, worth $230,825.60.

There was no available information from Keeneland officials as to where the perfect ticket was purchased.

The Keeneland record for a winning pick six ticket is $317,439.80, sold on April 14, 2007.

* Mr. Nightlinger, perhaps the leading contender for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, worked five furlongs on the Keeneland turf in a bullet 1:00 Monday morning.

* George Falk, a Louisville breeder and owner who raced the winner of the 1995 Churchill Downs Handicap, Goldseeker Bud, died Saturday in South Carolina. He was 77.