10/01/2013 1:46PM

Keeneland: Large fields for opening-day card

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Michael Burns
Canadian shipper My Conqueustadory may be favored in the 13-runner Alcibiades.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Big fields have been entered for the two opening-day features – as well as for the other eight supporting races at Keeneland, where the 17-day fall meet will be off and running Friday with a full head of steam.

The Grade 1, $400,000 Darley Alcibiades drew 13 2-year-old fillies for its 62nd running, while an oversubscribed field of 15 sprinters was entered in the Grade 3, $200,000 Phoenix. Like all but two of the other seven graded stakes on the opening three-day FallStars Weekend, they are Win and You’re In preps toward the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

Not counting one also-eligible and one coupled entry, a whopping total of 115 betting interests are on the 10-race opener.

“We’re happy to have racing back here at Keeneland, and evidently so are the horsemen,” said Rogers Beasley, Keeneland director of racing. “Hopefully, we can sustain these big fields throughout the meet for our fans.”

The Alcibiades, which goes at 1 1/16 miles on the main Polytrack surface, could have the Canadian shipper My Conquestadory as a solid favorite, even though she has raced only once. It was a huge effort, however, as she dusted male rivals in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes on the Woodbine turf.

“She’d trained so well that I felt good about trying her in what you’d normally think is a very demanding spot for a first-time starter,” said Mark Casse, who trains her for Conquest Stables LLC. “She’s trained her whole life over the synthetic, so I don’t see any problem in her moving over from the turf to the Poly for this.”

The Alcibiades goes as the ninth of 10 races on a Friday card that starts at 1:05 p.m. Eastern. The Phoenix, a six-furlong Polytrack fixture that directly precedes the Alcibiades as the eighth race, will have Gentlemen’s Bet as the favorite. Fifteen are entered, although only as many as 14 can start.

“We took a pass on the Vosburgh [last weekend at Belmont Park] thinking this might be a little better spot for us,” said Ron Moquett, trainer of Gentlemen’s Bet. “Hopefully, we made the right call. The horse is training great, and I can’t wait for opening day.”

Saturday should be the best day of the meet. Five graded stakes will anchor the richest program of the meet, led by the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile, a Grade 1 race in which the reigning Horse of the Year, Wise Dan, will make his final start before returning to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The other Saturday stakes are the Grade  1 First Lady, the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity, the Grade 2 Thorougbred Club of America Stakes, and the Grade 3 Woodford. The First Lady and Woodford are the only FallStars races not included in the Win and You’re In program.

The Sunday features are the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster and the Grade 3 Bourbon.

Keeneland racing secretary Ben Huffman said he expects purses to average about $617,000 per day.

Among the riders who will be here throughout the meet, which runs through Oct. 26, are the top jockeys from the recently ended Churchill Downs and Arlington Park meets, while a number of New York- and California-based jockeys – including Mike Smith, John Velazquez, Garrett Gomez, Julien Leparoux, Edgar Prado, and Rajiv Maragh – will be here for some of the FallStars cards and perhaps for other stakes later in the meet.

The weather forecast for Friday and Saturday calls for mostly sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 80s.

TVG will provide extensive onsite coverage throughout the meet.

Ian GW More than 1 year ago
I love Keenland. I just hope Ramsey's don't hurt it for the public. Last year a lot of races became unplayable with the old 25 k claim drop and snatch.
Sol Rivera More than 1 year ago
NOTICE TO EVERY RACE TRACK IN NORTH AMERICA: The simulcast feed provided by Keeneland is done so in High Definition-a crystal clear picture. When players are at their local simulcast facility, it only makes sense that they will wager on a program that is clear and visually attractive and inviting. Also, vibrant colored saddle clothes make it easy to discern the 1 between the 7, and the white saddle cloth of the 2 between the pink saddle cloth of the 8. It is understandable that not every race track in the nation can afford the capital outlay that Keeneland can, but how much could saddle cloths coast? It's hard to believe that NYRA can't afford a high definition broadcast television feed. The same goes for the Stronach tracks. At the conclusion of Keeneland's Fall Meet, when the numbers are in noting record simulcast revenue, may the major tracks across the country recognize the benefits of a High Definition feed. Of course, providing a superior racing program on a daily basis also helps.
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
Spot on.
Jeffrey More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love the Keeneland meet. In 2010 I decided to treat myself to a road trip from Minnesota to Kentucky. I was taken aback by the beauty of the Lexington area, with the historic horse farms and picturesque scenery. I went in October, right before the 2010 Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs. Keeneland is a surprising innovative, fan friendly, and classy meet. The people who attend this meet are unlike the people I've seen at other meets, with women wearing elegant dresses and men dressed up in more formal attire. However, that is not to say the meet is inaccessible and stuffy. I went by myself yet found myself tailgating with friendly locals. A few things that really surprised me about Keeneland. First, the maximum takeout on any bet is 19%. The fields are typically large, which makes it especially attractive from a gambler's perspective. Next, they have a drive-through option for betting on races. Also, the grounds were much larger than I expected and you have the option of camping! Keeneland also has a comfortable racing library (reference only), which is open to the public. Finally, Keeneland manages to bridge the past the present. They are very innovative and were one of the first tracks to install Trakus and Polytrack. If you ever happen to visit the area I highly recommend visiting some of the horse farms. Lexington is an excellent place to develop a more personal connection with the majestic thoroughbred. I went horseback riding and was able to visit some of my favorite champions.
alarmin More than 1 year ago
Are there any good looking guys at that track? i'm an amazingly sexy lady but when I go to racetracks no guys are even worth talking too. what gives?
gregory scott More than 1 year ago
i will be there and i'm pretty darn cute!
Jeffrey More than 1 year ago
Greetings Alarmin, I went to the fall meet in 2010 and there was no shortage of attractive racegoers of both sexes. It surprised me how many young people attend the races at Keeneland. Of course, horse racing is an important part of the culture. Furthermore, there is a lack of access to other forms of gambling. Nevertheless, the meet is special and demonstrates that live racing, if conducted in a progressive and innovative manner, can still thrive in the 21st century.
David Smith More than 1 year ago
how old are you?..do you have any pics?
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
Guys don't take women to the track if they are serious bettors...
Juno Black More than 1 year ago
...Unless they're cool.
phil bailey More than 1 year ago
Priorities BABE. At the track we are focused on the Ponies. When we get home then we focus on the Honies
John S More than 1 year ago
until they go back to a dirt surface the racing is irrelevant. It is a shame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just learn how to handicap. Obviously you do not bet turf races either or loose them all if you can't play poly tracks.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
Turf racing is the key to Poly Track wagering. Take a good look at breeding as well. Its all there for you. Add in a little luck or lack of bad luck and its no different than handicapping dirt. You tend to get large competitive fields as well. If your a handicapper/gambler what more could you ask for. If you're a purist. You're living in the past.
phil bailey More than 1 year ago
exactly. I was a purist. I used to hate Polytrack. Focus on breeding, trip and distance. Generally horses have a difficult time going wire to wire on poly. I stay away from the horse who will be in front after the 1st quarter. He usually ends up 5th or worse. It can be done going wire to wire but it happens so seldom. I love the challenge of TURF handicapping so Poly is right next to it. If you want dirt horses going wire to wire all the time bet on SA. Redonculous track.
matt donohue More than 1 year ago
Phil-"Focus on breeding, trip and distance." I couldn't agree more. At first, like you, i detested the switch to polytrack at Keeneland. After a few years of treading lightly I now look forward to EVERY spring & fall Keeneland meet. It took some time but once I accumulated enough data and came to a better understanding of the relationship between pedigree and polytrack (which sire's offspring win on the surface and at what distance) my attitude toward the "plastic stuff" took a 180 degree turn. I now view each race as a potential money making opportunity as opposed to a time wasting chore. John S., i can agree that polytrack racing has little impact on year end awards and that polytrack form rarely transfers to the "real" main track. However Keeneland and Del Mar offer some of the country's best racing and, more importantly, some of the biggest wagering pools. If you used the term "irrelevant" due to frustration dealing with the polytrack surface I understand as I've been there, done that. Here is some free info. Check out the OVERVIEW page at horseracingrevelationsthroughstatsandpedigree.com My treat! To Pearl, Thomas Cook, Big Jeff and Phil Bailey - although I remained silent I really enjoyed reading your comments the last six months. Hope to catch you on another forum!
P More than 1 year ago
Thankfully Keeneland hasn't watered down these great meets by trying to stretch it out over another couple of weeks. Concentrate the action and reap the rewards of big, quality fields, and fans flocking to Lexington.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Sol Rivera More than 1 year ago
F U and your classmates sister.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Should be a great meet..October at Keeneland...it does not get any better...reminds one of when racing was truly the sport of kings...speaking of which....did anyone at DRF read the story in the Guardian (guardian.co.uk...u.k. version)...about a certain racing operation whose name begins with G and it's latest illegal medication scandal? One would think it would have caught the interest of America's leading racing publication...one would be wrong...reminds me of another story...the one about the emperors new clothes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ps...sorry Marty...your story will likely be banished to some obscure corner of the web site shortly
nancyb More than 1 year ago
Fo those of you too lazy to look : Dated Sept. 30,2013 LONDON (AP) British horse racing's governing body says there is no link between the seizure of unlicensed veterinary products reportedly from a Dubai government private jet and the doping-stained Godolphin racing operation run by the country's ruling monarch, Sheikh Mohammed. The supposition is that they were meant for the eventing horses, not the racing stable. (And therefore OK?)
BJ Nichols More than 1 year ago
This DRF institution is so caught up in itself that I'm sure they have reached an arrangement with Godolphin that eliminates any negative reporting. They certainly won't report on it, and that omission just fits their style. It's a travesty what DRF has become. It used to be a required resource, now it's so overpriced and commercialized that I only check it evrey couple of days for about 2 or 3 minutes, just for the headlines.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
play david flores in every race...........show flat bet profit