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Updated on 10/07/2011 12:38PM
Keeneland: Tu Endie Wei heads strong cast in Alcibiades Stakes
By Marty McGee
LEXINGTON, Ky. – It’s hard to imagine a race coming up much tougher than how the Darley Alcibiades Stakes shapes up for opening day at Keeneland. The Grade 1, $400,000 race drew an overflow field of 2-year-old fillies as the ninth of 10 races on the Friday card, with shippers coming from everywhere to try to earn an automatic spot in the Breeders’ Cup.
Shippers from the north, south, east, and west help comprise the Alcibiades field, which consists of 14 main-body runners and one also-eligible, with perhaps the good filly of the Great White North liable to come favored. She is Tu Endie Wei, whose 2-for-2 record at Woodbine in Canada includes a victory as a heavy choice in the Ontario Debutante and makes her one of just three stakes winners in the field.
“She’s done perfect all year, hasn’t made any mistakes,” trainer Reade Baker said early Tuesday in the Keeneland stable area. “This was her first morning over this racetrack, and she did just great. Obviously, we’d love to use this race toward the Breeders’ Cup” Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. “She’s spent quite a bit of time on the [dirt] training track at Woodbine, and I can’t see any difference in the way she goes.”
Tu Endie Wei, with Jim McAleney in to ride, will break from post 4 in the 60th Alcibiades, a Win and You’re In event to be run at 1 1/16 miles on the Keeneland Polytrack.
The other stakes winners include Flashy Lassie (post 2, Kent Desormeaux), winner of the Debutante at Churchill in June, and Frolic’s Revenge (post 10, Juan Leyva), winner of the Lindsay’s Frolic at Calder in August.
Other contenders include Sweet Cat, New Wave, and And Why Not, all in off sharp efforts at Saratoga, and Egg Drop, an impressive maiden winner at Del Mar in her lone career start for Mike Mitchell.
The Alcibiades will be directly preceded by the Grade 3, $175,000 Phoenix Stakes, a six-furlong fixture that drew seven horses, led by Flashpoint and Aikenite. The Phoenix is a Win and You’re In race toward the Nov. 5 BC Sprint.
Flashpoint, trained by Wesley Ward, is the only 3-year-old in the field and comes off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop on Aug. 27, when he contested much of the pace. The gray colt will start from post 1 with Cornelio Velasquez aboard.
Aikenite (post 6, John Velazquez) has been sensational in his last two starts over the Keeneland Polytrack, easily winning an allowance here last fall and capturing the Grade 2 Commonwealth Stakes in April.
Four allowance races also are carded for opening day.
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