10/05/2011 11:40AM

Keeneland: Slight edge to Tu Endie Wei in wide-open Darley Alcibiades

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Michael Burns
Tu Endie Wei is a likely favorite in Friday's Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Look at it once, then look again. Then keep looking. A horseplayer could go crazy trying to nail down a sure winner Friday in the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes, a Grade 1 race that drew a large and extremely well-matched field of 2-year-old fillies for its 60th running on opening day at Keeneland.

Tu Endie Wei, bred and owned by former Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones, is the morning-line favorite for the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades, but the Johar filly will be facing by far her toughest test to date when stretching out from post 4 under Jim McAleney. A number of her opponents have shown considerable promise in limited tries, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of a half-dozen or more come out on top.

Tu Endie Wei, based in Canada with Reade Baker, has won two stakes in as many career starts, both of them sprints over the Polytrack surface at Woodbine. Tu Endie Wei is a half-sister to Biofuel, the 2010 Horse of the Year in Canada.

KEENELAND FALL MEET: View stakes schedule, watch live video for every race day

Baker said he expects his latest prodigy to continue progressing, and he is hopeful she will be the one to earn a Win and You’re In berth toward the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs. “She’s made no mistakes so far,” said Baker.

While Tu Endie Wei comes well drawn, the same cannot be said for Ann of the Dance, an overachieving sort who will break from the 14-hole with Rajiv Maragh aboard. Ann of the Dance, a $2,500 yearling purchase who was most recently third in the Arlington-Washington Lassie, is one of several contenders to have raced at a mile or longer.

“It’s an awful post,” said Jimmy DiVito, the Chicago trainer who enjoyed a very productive summer with 2-year-olds. “But we’re going to go ahead and run, give it a go, even though it’s a lot to overcome. Hopefully, Rajiv can work out a decent trip.”

Among the other able-looking challengers with two-turn experience are Putthebabiesdown, who gets first-time Lasix and comes favorably drawn in post 1 for trainer Ken McPeek, and Stephanie’s Kitten, who already has a pair of routes under her belt for Wayne Catalano.

Among the contenders looking to get a distance are Flashy Lassie, winner of the Grade 3 Debutante at Churchill; Sweet Cat, a sharp maiden winner for Todd Pletcher; Egg Drop, an impressive maiden winner in her lone career start in California; and And Why Not, a blow-out Saratoga maiden winner who was third in the Grade 1 Spinaway for Michael Matz.

Fifteen fillies are on the program for the Alcibiades, although only as many as 14 can start.

The Alcibiades (post time, 5:45 p.m. Eastern) anchors the opening-day card as the ninth of 10 races. The Grade 3 Phoenix Stakes (5:13) directly precedes it as the first of nine crucial Breeders’ Cup prep races on the three-day “FallStars Weekend” that kicks off a 17-day fall meet.

The Alcibiades, named for the great foundation mare owned by Keeneland co-founder Hal Price Headley, has produced a number of Breeders’ Cup winners, most recently She Be Wild, who was second in this race in 2009 before winning the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. Darley began its sponsorship of the race in 2003.

All 1 1/16-mile main-track races at Keeneland begin and end at what otherwise is the sixteenth pole.

 


# HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER

1

Putthebabiesdown 
ML: 12-1
A. Garcia 
118 Lbs
K. McPeek

1

Flashy Lassie 
ML: 8-1
K. Desormeaux
118 Lbs
G. Simms

1

Venetian Sonata 
ML: 20-1
J. Castanon 
118 Lbs
W. Helmbrecht

1

Tu Endie Wei 
ML: 6-1
J. McAleney 
118 Lbs
R. Baker

1

Sweet Cat 
ML: 6-1
J. Velazquez 
118 Lbs
T. Pletcher

1

Egg Drop 
ML: 8-1
J. Talamo 
118 Lbs
M. Mitchell

1

Stephanie's Kitten 
ML: 12-1
C. Lanerie 
118 Lbs
W. Catalano

1

New Wave 
ML: 6-1
J. Leparoux 
118 Lbs
G. Arnold, II

1

And Why Not 
ML: 5-1
G. Gomez 
118 Lbs
M. Matz

1

Frolic's Revenge 
ML: 8-1
J. Leyva 
118 Lbs
M. Wolfson

1

Heart of Destiny 
ML: 20-1
E. Prado 
118 Lbs
J. Baker

1

Cheerleader 
ML: 15-1
J. Theriot 
118 Lbs
W. Calhoun

1

Tavern On the Bay 
ML: 50-1
V. Lebron 
118 Lbs
D. Turner

1

Ann of the Dance 
ML: 12-1
R. Maragh 
118 Lbs
J. DiVito

1

On Fire Baby 
ML: 20-1
J. Johnson 
118 Lbs
G. Hartlage