10/08/2009 11:00PM

Justenuffhumor slow to start, fast to finish

Barbara D. Livingston
Justenuffhumor will go for his seventh consecutive victory when he runs in the Shadwell Turf Mile.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Justenuffhumor has the hard part down pat. It's one of the seemingly easier things - leaving the starting gate - that's another matter.

"If you can just get him in the starting gate and get him out, he's going to get the job done," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who will send out Justenuffhumor as the favorite Saturday in the richest race of the Keeneland fall meet, the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile. "I always feel like he's going to get his head in front."

Justenuffhumor will go into the gate covered with a security blanket before putting his six-race win streak on the line against eight opponents in the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile, one of five graded stakes that serve as Breeders' Cup previews on a blockbuster Saturday card. With searing rallies that have become his trademark, Justenuffhumor has surged into the highest echelon of the world's turf milers, although he is no cinch to move on to the BC Mile, according to McLaughlin.

Through his last win in the Aug. 28 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga, Justenuffhumor had raced under the Darley Stable banner, but for the Shadwell, he has been assimilated into the Godolphin Racing first string of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

"I really don't know if he'll go to the Breeders' Cup or to Dubai," said McLaughlin. "That decision will be made after he runs."

Either way, McLaughlin would love to get his fourth Shadwell win, having previously won with Altibr (2000) and twice with Dumaani (1995-96). Justenuffhumor, with Alan Garcia riding again, will break from post 7 in a race that drew an exceptionally strong cast that also includes Mr. Sidney (post 2), Battle of Hastings (post 5), and Court Vision (post 9).

Mr. Sidney will try to become the first horse to sweep the major turf races at both the spring and fall meets at Keeneland, having won the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile here in April. The Bill Mott-trained 5-year-old Mr. Sidney was sixth in the Aug. 8 Arlington Million in his latest start.

Battle of Hastings has been a force in the 3-year-old turf ranks and now makes his first start against older horses. The British-bred gelding, based in Southern California with trainer Jeff Mullins, comes off a nose defeat in the Sept. 6 Del Mar Derby.

Court Vision, making his first start for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., had an ascended testicle surgically removed following a string of disappointing efforts this spring and summer and is "a new horse," according to Michael Iavarone, co-president of his majority owners, the IEAH Stables. Court Vision was scratched from the Kelso last weekend at Belmont Park when turf races were rained off.

The rest of the Shadwell field is Yorktown, Wise River, Karelian, Sterwins, and Tizdejavu. The race is the fifth and last stakes on a Saturday card that also includes the Woodford (race 5), Thoroughbred of America (race 6), First Lady (race 7), and Breeders' Futurity (race 8). All but the Woodford are Win and You're In events toward their respective races on the Nov. 6-7 Breeders' Cup cards.

The Shadwell is the last leg in an all-stakes pick four (races 6-9) with a guaranteed pool of $250,000. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern. ESPN Classic coverage (5-7:45 p.m. Eastern) of Keeneland and Santa Anita action will include live broadcasts of the Shadwell (5:10) and Breeders' Futurity (5:45).

Another day of big fields is on order at Keeneland, with 107 horses on the program. The Friday opener drew 114.

* A field of 11 fillies and mares has been entered for the Grade 1, $500,000 Spinster Stakes on Sunday. From the rail, this is the lineup for the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race: Teamgeist, Tejida, Dawn After Dawn, Proviso, Be Fair, Tizfiz, Ginger Brew, Swift Temper, Champagne Eyes, Indescribable, and Mushka.

The Spinster and the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes close out the three-day FallStars Weekend series.