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Ramon Dominguez and trainer Christophe Clement celebrate Gio Ponti's win in the Shadwell Turf Mile

2011 FallStars Opening Weekend at Keeneland

Date: 10/09/2011

Keeneland Race Course in Lexington had its "FallStars" opening weekend, which included six Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" stakes events with three of them among the five graded stakes on Saturday. There were two on Friday, the Darley Alcibiades (G1) and Phoenix Stakes (G3) won by Stephanie's Kitten and Hoofit, plus two more on Sunday, the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) and Bourbon Stakes.

horse racing
Gio Ponti wins the Shadwell Turf Mile
The highlight event on Saturday was the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) for older horses going 1 mile on the turf in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Mile. 5.6-1 Sidney's Candy was loose on the lead early through fractions of 23.63, 47.08, and 1:10.91 while stalked by 14-1 Get Stormy. Into the stretch, Get Stormy gained a short lead but 9-5 favorite Gio Ponti, 4th early, came through between horses to win by 1/2 a length in 1:34.17 over the firm course. It was another length back to pacesetter Sidney's Candy third.

Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Gio Ponti in the winner's circle after the Shadwell Turf Mile. Trainer Christophe Clement said, "I felt many sensations over the last 1/16 mile. I'm delighted. It was a different kind of a race today. Ramon (Dominguez) was more aggressive; he was much closer to the pace than usual. I didn't think he was going to get there at the 1/4 pole. Yet again he proved me wrong, and he got there. He's a top-class horse, firm turf, mile to 1 1/4. The mile today was a bit quick as you saw for him. He was a bit unlucky this year. I've been running him on softer ground. There's nothing I can do; the program is made that way, and I cannot control the weather."
Right: Gio Ponti returns after the race.

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Get Stormy returns after the race. Jockey Garrett Gomez said, "We really didn't want to get into a speed duel, and I was just going to have to adapt to a situation and be willing to do as much as I could. I dropped him behind (Sidney's Candy) going into the first turn and had cover. I covered him up the backside and traveled beautifully. I went after (Sidney's Candy) going into the far turn a little bit, just put some pressure on him to get us up there, and when we turned for home we weakened him. We ran home and Gio Ponti had to work to get by him today."

Right: Third place finisher Sidney's Candy in the paddock. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "He ran very well. They were really running from behind, you know, they really finished well. I mean, we got beat by Gio Ponti one of the best horses. I set up the pace and he came rolling to get me. I think (Sidney's Candy) ran his race. He looked good today, he continued to run."

horse racing
Never Retreat winning the 2011 First Lady Stakes
The distaff counterpart to the Shadwell Mile is the $350,000 First Lady Stakes (G1), for older fillies and mares also going 1 mile on the turf with the Filly and Mare Turf as the target, but is not a Challenge event. 7-1 Wasted Tears set fractions of 23.59, 46.80, and 1:10.61 while 1 1/2 lengths ahead of 53-1 Absinthe Minded stalking her in second. Wasted Tears held the lead to mid-stretch through 7/8 in 1:22.29, as 4-1 second choice Never Retreat was unleashing her rally from 4th. Never Retreat finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of 9-2 Together in 1:34.08 over the firm course. It was just a nose back to 7-2 favorite Daveron third.

Results Chart

horse racing
Never Retreat in the winner's circle. Jockey Julien Leparoux said, "She broke good. We were on the outside, so we were hoping to drop her in a little bit on the first turn. She put me in the race good, just nice and easy, and she finished good. I was on my own, but I know the filly. I rode her a couple of times before. I knew her, and I know she can do it."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Together returns after the race. Jockey Colm O'Donoghue said, "It went very well traveled, tracked the winner. She ran a very good race."

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Daveron in the paddock. Trainer Graham Motion said, "(Jockey) Eddie (Castro) said she was a little bit intimidated. She's not used to being down on the inside in between horses like that. She's a little happier when she's clear, so he said it was a little bit hard to get her going. Then when it cleared up she came running, but by then it was a little bit too late."

horse racing
Dullahan winning the 2011 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity
The $400,000 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (G1) is the major local prep and "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, with a field of 13 two-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack. 52-1 longshot Musical Flair led the field around the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch through fractions of 22.67 and 46.15 beofre 3-1 second choice Majestic City took over on the far turn, through 3/4 in 1:11.03. Majestic City opened up by 2 1/2 lengths at the 1/8 pole but 18-1 Dullahan, 9th early, closed late to get up by 3/4 length in 1:43.12. It was another length back to 11-1 Optimizer third, while 5-2 favorite Shared Property was 6th.

Results Chart

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Dullahan in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Dale Romans said, "This is a special horse, and we've known it all along. We felt like he was a Grade 1-caliber racehorse. He showed it today. When you can overcome adversity and win a Grade 1, you're a really good horse. I thought he'd be laying a little closer to the pace. He closed more ground than I expected. We've really had high hopes for this horse. He's trained like a top horse all along. His half-brother (Mine That Bird) won the (2009 Kentucky) Derby."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Majestic City returns after the race. His trainer Peter Miller said, "He ran super. He got a little rank when that horse (Personal Interest) came outside him. Garrett (Gomez) really had no choice but to kind of let him run a little bit. (It was) his first race around two turns and he got a little tired the last 1/16 mile. But I was very proud of the horse. We'll probably take him home, let him be home and relaxed and figure out where we go, what race, from there."

Right: Third place finisher Optimizer returns after the race. Jockey Robby Albarado said, "He broke a little tardy and we got shuffled back a bit, but I still thought he ran great. I don't think we've seen the depth of his talent yet."

horse racing
Holiday for Kitten (inside) winning the 2011 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes over Musical Romance
The $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) is the Breeders' Cup Challenge race for the Filly and Mare Sprint, contested at 6 furlongs on the Polytrack for older fillies and mares. 7-1 Rapport was quickest away and set a quick pace of 21.96 and 44.61 in a duel with 19-1 Holiday for Kitten. Into the stretch, Holiday for Kitten took over the lead through 5/8 in 56.22, and was all-out to hold off late-running 10-1 Musical Romance by a head in 1:08.72. It was another 3/4 length back to 9-10 favorite Switch third, while pacesetter Rapport faded to 4th.

Results Chart

horse racing
Holiday for Kitten in the winner's circle. Her jockey Kendrick Carmouche said, "She broke in front, and I knew (Rapport) would be right on the lead or sitting second. I let him go to the lead, and I was sitting pretty comfortable at the 1/4 pole, coming into the top of the stretch. When I asked her to go home and switch leads, I knew right there I had enough horse to compete with the rest of the horses whenever a challenge would come on."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Musical Romance in the paddock before the race. Her jockey Juan Leyva said, "This filly tried really hard. I just needed one more jump to get there. But what are you going to do?"

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Switch in the paddock. Her jockey Joel Rosario said, "They're running really fast. She tried and gave everything her best. A little farther might be better for her 6 1/2 or 7 (furlongs). They are going really fast times. The horses that are going to the front, once they get to the front they don't stop; they carry it. They keep it moving. She was coming from behind, but I think a little farther might be better."

horse racing
Havelock winning the 2011 Woodford Stakes
The $150,000 Woodford Stakes (G3) featured a field of 12 older horses sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. 6-1 Varsity battled for the lead wth 7-2 favorite Great Mills and 13-1 Magoo through a fast pace of 21.15 and 43.88, but the battle up front set the race up for the closers. 11-2 Havelock, 9th early, ralled and outfinished 5-1 Perfect Officer by a length in 1:01.96 over the firm course. It was another 3/4 length to 11-1 Country Day third, while favorite Great Mills faded to1 0th. This race is not part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge.

Results Chart

horse racing
Havelock heads to the winner's circle. His jockey Robby Albarado said, "He left a little tardy. We anticipated being right behind the pace not that far back. Having said that, they went quick enough, which was conducive to his running style. (At the top of the stretch) I didn't think I could get there (to the lead) as quick as I did. He's a nice horse, tremendous turn of foot. I swung him to the outside, and he ran by them."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Perfect Officer returns after the race. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche said, "He ran a very good race. He always breaks so good and that's pretty much what the owner wanted. I wish I could just take him back a little bit further because when he gets to the last horse he runs past him but he waits on other horses."

Right: Third place finisher Country Day in the paddock before the race. Jockey James Graham said, "He was a little farther back than usual. They went quick; real quick, early. I was having to use him a little more than I wanted to. When he wasn't taking me I sort of just sat on him, sat quiet. Coming out of the turn he started inching in nice and easy, straightened up, and I called on him and he came running. The other horse just finished ahead of where we did."

Darley Alcibiades and Phoenix Stakes from Friday at Keeneland

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