04/18/2012 1:46PM

Keeneland: Much to like about Pachattack in Doubledogdare

Four-Footed Fotos
The 6-year-old mare Pachattack will make her first start for trainer Graham Motion in Friday's Doubledogdare.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Pachattack was good enough to run third in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic last fall, but that’s not the scary part. What makes the 6-year-old Pachattack such a major threat to win the Doubledogdare Stakes on Friday at Keeneland is the way she performs over Polytrack, as witnessed by her six-length romp last spring in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron and a sharp runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Spinster here last fall.

Moreover, Graham Motion has assumed the training of Pachattack for the Flaxman Holdings Ltd. since she chased home Royal Delta and It’s Tricky in her most recent public appearance in the BC Ladies' Classic.

“I’ve had her all winter at Fairhill and couldn’t be happier with the way she’s trained,” said Motion. “We’ve had this race picked out for her quite a while now, and I think she’s ready to go.”

Pachattack, with Rajiv Maragh to ride, will break from post 5 as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Grade 3, $100,000 Doubledogdare, a 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race that drew seven other fillies and mares. Among the chief opposition is Kathmanblu (post 2, Julien Leparoux), a multiple graded winner whose form went awry last fall in back-to-back Grade 1 races.

“She was struggling with some liver inflammation,” said her trainer, Ken McPeek. “We gave her the extended turnout she needed to get her back on her game. She put on a lot of weight over the winter, and I’ve been really pleased with her works. I think this is the right first step for her to start out the year.”

Another major player in this 18th running of the Doubledogdare is Joyful Victory (post 8, Robby Albarado), the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Oaks last May. The gray filly recently turned in two solid breezes over the Keeneland surface in preparation for her first race over a synthetic surface.

Rounding out the cast are La Gran Bailadora, Lunar Mist, Principal Role, My Pal Chrisy, and Sea Level Drive. Of those, Principal Role (post 4, Edgar Prado) clearly is the wild card of the bunch when making her first North American start for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms.

While big fields have mostly been the rule here this meet, a couple of smaller ones are part of a 10-race Friday program, most notably the first and fifth races, which drew five and six starters, respectively. The fifth is one of two allowances on the undercard, with the seventh being the other. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern, with the Doubledogdare (race 9) going at 5:13.

The Friday card will be preceded by a jockey autograph session (11:30-12:30). It’s also a big day for TVG at Keeneland, as the racing network will host its first 2012 broadcast of “The Late Double” here.

◗ Eleven well-matched 3-year-olds are entered to run Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes, with Castaway among the likely favorites in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race for 3-year-olds. From the rail: Morgan’s Guerrilla, Summer Front, Johannesbourbon, Skyring, Golden Ticket, Holiday Promise, Castaway, Hammers Terror, All Squared Away, News Pending, and Gold Megillah.

The Lexington goes as the ninth of 10 races on a Saturday card and is directly preceded by the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway for filly-and-mare turf sprinters. Inspired, Wild About Marie, and Speedacious are the likely favorites in an oversubscribed field of 13.