10/14/2011 11:21AM

Keeneland: Five Star Fun going a little longer on Polytrack


LEXINGTON, Ky. – It was a year ago that Al Stall Jr. was spending a lot of time at Keeneland, tightening the proverbial screws on a horse who would make racing history by dealing the great Zenyatta her only career defeat in 20 starts.

Blame was the horse that Stall would send out to that unforgettable win in his career finale, the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and although a dropoff in business can be steep following such heady times, that hasn’t really been the case for Stall.

Indeed, this fall at Keeneland has been quite a productive one for Stall, who Sunday will try to sustain a terrific start to the meet when sending out Five Star Fun in the eighth and richest of nine races, a $56,000, third-level allowance at six furlongs on Polytrack.

Five Star Fun, a 5-year-old mare with Robby Albarado named to ride, will be deviating from a steady diet of five-furlong turf races at Louisiana Downs when she leaves from post 2 in a well-matched field of 11 filly-mare sprinters.

“She’s the perfect type for Poly,” said Stall, who turned 50 on Monday. “She’s a speed horse, so hopefully the track will be a little speedy Sunday. We didn’t have anything for her to do down there, so we decided to bring her up here.”

Through the first 5 of 17 days at the meet, Stall had 4 wins and 2 seconds from just 9 starters, enough to pull him into a temporary tie for leading trainer. More importantly, there are up-and-comers helping to replenish his stakes cupboard now occupied by horses such as Cease, Glenwood Canyon, and Animal Spirits. Also, three of the Keeneland winners for Stall came in maiden special weight races.

“We’ve got more horses and better horses than in the past,” said Stall, who is on pace to easily surpass his career high for wins (75 in 1995) this year. “Nothing much was different until the spring of this year, when I started getting a lot of phone calls about taking 2-year-olds, and now those horses are starting to show up.”

As for the Sunday feature, Five Star Fun surely will be among the front-runners, coming out of those turf dashes, so the obvious question is whether she can keep on going. If not, then any of a number are viable candidates to take over and move along, including, but not limited to, Jocata, entered for an $80,000 claiming option, and Vanishing Grey and Minute Limit, both of whom exit a tough renewal of the Sept. 14 Jazzy Stakes on the Belmont Park turf.

Three other allowances (races 3, 5, 7) also are on the program for Sunday, when first post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern. The track then goes dark for two days before racing resumes Wednesday. The next stakes here comes Thursday, with the Grade 3, $100,000 Sycamore Stakes for older turf marathoners.