09/30/2008 11:00PM

Meet begins with a bang

Barbara D. Livingston
Mani Bhavan heads a group of seven 2-year-old fillies in Friday's Alcibiades.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Keeneland fall meet will get away to the usual action-packed start when two Grade 1 races are run Friday, the first of 17 days.

The $500,000 Darley Alcibiades, led by undefeated Mani Bhavan, and the $400,000 First Lady, which features Precious Kitten, will kick off what Keeneland calls the FallStars Weekend. Entries for the 10-race Friday opener were drawn Tuesday.

Nine stakes races, all but one of them graded, will be run during an opening three-day weekend that figures to serve as a major launching pad toward the Oct. 24-25 Breeders' Cup championships. Six of the FallStars events are Win and You're In races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.

The Alcibiades, a 1 1/16-mile race on Polytrack, drew a field of seven 2-year-old fillies, with Mani Bhavan getting post 5. Alan Garcia has the mount on Mani Bhavan, who has not been seriously challenged in sweeping her first three starts, including the Grade 2 Adirondack and Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga.

The First Lady, run at a mile on turf, surely will have Precious Kitten as the favorite in a field of eight fillies and mares. Precious Kitten was fifth as the favorite in her last start, the Aug. 9 Beverly D. at 1 3/16 miles, a race trainer Bobby Frankel has maintained may have been a bit too far.

The Alcibiades anchors the Friday card as the ninth race, with the First Lady directly preceding it.

After Friday, the FallStars schedule will continue with five stakes on Saturday: the Grade 1 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity, Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, Grade 3 Phoenix, Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America, and the Woodford turf sprint.

On Sunday, the last two FallStars races will be the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster and the Grade 3 Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

Keeneland will run through Oct. 25, with Mondays and Tuesdays dark. A terrific forecast for opening weekend calls for sunny skies and high temperatures in the mid-70s.

Desormeaux will be a Kentucky regular

Kent Desormeaux, the Hall of Fame jockey who was the leading rider at the Keeneland spring meet in April, will be back to ride throughout the fall meets at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, which runs Oct. 26 to Nov. 29, according to agent Mike Sellito.

Unlike in the spring, when jockeys such as Garrett Gomez, John Velazquez, and Edgar Prado rode here on a regular basis, Desormeaux is one of the few, if only, veteran jockeys based in New York or California who plan to ride here on a daily basis. Many top jockeys still will make appearances here, most notably early in the meet for stakes engagements.

Desormeaux, the regular rider for Big Brown, early this week was in California, where he moved his family from New York in the spring.

Tizdejavu will miss Shadwell with injury

Tizdejavu, the standout 3-year-old who was being pointed to the Shadwell Mile, has been sidelined indefinitely after sustaining a non-displaced condylar fracture in his right foreleg during a turf workout last week at Keeneland, according to trainer Greg Fox.

Tizdejavu underwent successful surgery Saturday, according to Fox.

"It's disappointing that this particular season is over for him, but the good news is he's expected to make a full recovery," said Fox.

Tizdejavu, a 3-year-old colt by Tiznow, won three straight graded turf stakes this year, all in wire-to-wire fashion.

* C.S. Silk, the six-length winner of the Sept. 6 Arlington-Washington Lassie, is skipping the Alcibiades and will train up to the BC Juvenile Fillies, trainer Dale Romans said Tuesday. Romans still will have two other starters in FallStars races: Bayou's Lassie in the First Lady and Thorn Song in the Shadwell, with Robby Albarado riding both.