Updated on 09/16/2011 8:24AM

Take Charge Lady, Landseer earn trips to Breeders' Cup


LEXINGTON, Ky. - As track president Nick Nicholson exited the Keeneland paddock before the Shadwell Mile, he marveled at the sights before him. On a postcard-perfect Sunday afternoon, with throngs of appreciative fans in attendance, Nicholson wanted time to stand still.

"I wish I could take this, bottle it, and get it out to the rest of the racing industry," he said. "What a day."

Indeed, opening weekend of the 17-day fall meet was ideal in terms of weather - Saturday and Sunday, anyway, since Friday was hindered by Hurricane Lili's wet and windy leftovers - and in quality of racing.

The six graded races, designed as preps for the World Thoroughbred Championships, left these impressions:

* Spinster: Take Charge Lady will head to the BC Distaff as one of the favorites. "The Spinster and Distaff have been our long-term goals all along," trainer Ken McPeek said.

The balance of the Spinster field seems unlikely for the Distaff. Trainer Bobby Frankel said You won't race again until next year, and Printemps is not a BC nominee.

* Shadwell Mile: Add Landseer to the list of BC Mile candidates that trainer Aidan O'Brien has at his disposal. Landseer joins Rock of Gibraltar and Hawk Wing as his prospective Mile starters.

The second- and third-place finishers in the Shadwell, Touch of the Blues and Beat Hollow, ran well enough to have earned spots in the Mile, although trainer Neil Drysdale may be less apt to run Touch of the Blues than Frankel will be with Beat Hollow. In his previous start, Beat Hollow won the Arlington Million.

* Breeders' Futurity: Trainer John T. Ward Jr. said Sky Mesa was "healthy and happy" the day after his dominant win. Sky Mesa and runner-up Lone Star Sky will both be pointed to the BC Juvenile.

* Phoenix: Xtra Heat, who posted her 24th career triumph but first over males, was on a van early Sunday to Arlington, where she will prepare for the BC Sprint.

Asked what he had planned for his star filly, trainer John Salzman Sr. said tongue-in-cheek: "Walk her 21 days, then put a saddle on her." Then, more seriously: "I don't know. We'll get her settled up in Chicago and take it from there."

Day Trader is an outside possibility for the Sprint after finishing second for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, whose first-string contender for the Sprint is Orientate.

* Alcibiades: First- and second-place finishers Westerly Breeze and Ruby's Reception are both headed to the BC Juvenile Fillies. The rest of the field was well beaten.

* Galaxy: Owsley, winner of the Galaxy for trainer Randy Schulhofer, will probably run back in the BC Filly and Mare Turf.

"I'd guess we'll probably go, although it's going to be up to Randy," owner Arthur Hancock said. "You can't do any good staying in the barn. Charlie Whittingham used to tell me that a faint heart never won a fair maiden."