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Jose Lezcano and Wise Dan after winning the Shadwell Turf Mile
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 Spring in the Air and Sum of the Parts=, plus two more on Sunday, the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) and Bourbon Stakes won by In Lingerie and Balance the Books.
Wise Dan wins the Shadwell Turf Mile
Jockey Robby Albarado sent Silver Max to the early lead through fractions of 23.33 and 46.89 while stalked by 9-1 Dominus. On the far turn, Dominus took over the lead through 3/4 in 1:10.87 as Wise Dan moved up to challenge 5 wide. Wise Dan quickly gained the lead at the 3/16 pole, opening up a 3 1/2 length lead through 7/8 in 1:22.64. 48-1 Willcox Inn, 8th early, put in a strong late rally but Wise Dan cruised past the post 2 1/4 lengths clear in 1:34.94 over the firm course. It was anothe 2 3/4 lengths back to 100-1 Slip and Drive third.
Left: Wise Dan in the winner's circle after the Shadwell Turf Mile. Trainer Charles Lopresti said, "He was so good coming out of the Woodbine (Mile) I just didn't want to breeze him too many more times. He gained weight from the Woodbine Mile. I worked him one time here, and he just worked incredible here one morning. I figured this (race) would give him a chance to maybe breeze him one more time easy and then run him (in the Breeders' Cup). We'll lean toward the Mile, but we won't rule out the Classic. Listening to everybody talk, I think he deserves to run in the Classic. I'm a little worried about Santa Anita. It's the same kind of speed-oriented track but it's a little deeper and looser. I don't know if he'll handle that. I know he'll handle the turf.
Right: Wise Dan heads out for the post parade. Jockey Jose Lezcano, replacing regular rider John Velazquez who rode at Belmont Park, said, "I got a very good trip. He broke very good and he got into position well. When I ask him, he was good. Thank you, Mr. Charlie for the opportunity to ride this horse. I appreciate it."
Left: Second place finisher Willcox Inn crosses the finish line. Jockey James Graham said, "I was sixth or seventh; I couldn't go with (Wise Dan) on that first turn. In the middle of the second turn I said to myself, 'We are going to be fifth.' Then I picked him up and boom, off he went. If we had been a little closer to the winner, I don't think we would have beaten him but we would have been closer to him at the finish."
Right: Third place finisher Slip and Drive returns after the race. Jockey Alex Cintron said, "My horse likes to run like that – relax at the beginning and make a big run at the end. If he goes a little close (to the front) then he doesn't finish much. No matter what, if the horses in front go slow or fast, that's his style. In the turn I waited a little longer because I didn't want to go outside and go too wide, so I waited inside until it opened up and then I made my move."
Tapitsfly winning the 2012 First Lady Stakes
Summer Soiree went to the front first time by and she set fractions of 24.00 and 47.26 while stalked by 4-1 Daisy Devine. On the far turn, Daisy Devine took over the lead through 3/4 in 1:11.40 and 7/8 in 1:23.41. Tapitsfly, who sat fourth early, came out 6 wide for the drive and took over at the 1/16 pole to win by 1/2 a length in 1:35.44. It was another 3 1/2 lengths back to favorite Hungry Island third.
Left: Tapitsfly heads to the winner's circle. Trainer Dale Romans said, "She has been a special filly. She's probably going to retire at the end of this year. She's going to have one or two more starts left so we've got to pick some place that's going to count. The Breeders' Cup is tough because for the fillies, she has to run so far (1 1/4 mile Filly & Mare Turf) unless we decide to put her in against the colts (in the Mile). But we've done sillier things."
Right: Tapitsfly in the paddock before the race. Jockey Jose Lezcano said, "She gave me a good race. She settled in good. When I asked her, she kicked in really good."
Left: Second place finisher Daisy Devine returns after the race. Trainer Andrew McKeever said, "She ran hard. The five horse (Summer Soiree) was herding her all over the place, which didn't help her cause. Still she was probably still second best. With a (prep) race in her, she might have won today."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Hungry Island in the paddock. Jockey Julien Leparoux said, "We had a great race. It set up perfect for us, you know, and they went a good pace for us in front. It was relaxed, the filly raced nice, we were just outkicked at the end."
Joha winning the 2012 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity
Jockey Rajiv Maragh sent 17-2 fifth choice Joha to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 23.90, 48.41, and 1:12.86 while pressed by favorite Tizracer. Entering the stetch, Tizracer tired and faded to 12th as Joha continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:38.15. 15-2 fourth choice Dynamic Guy, 7th early put in a late rally but Joha easily held him off by a length in 1:44.52. It was another 3/4 length back to 12-1 Java's War third.
Left: Joha in the winner's circle. Trainer Mike Maker said, "It was a tough beat last time (finishing second by a head to Balance the Books in the With Anticipation (G2) on turf at Saratoga on August 30), but I'm grateful for today. I don't think we really had an option (but to take the lead). He was going to be forwardly placed no matter what post position he drew. But from the one hole, it kind of made it a no-brainer."
Right: Joha in the paddock before the race. Jockey Rajiv Maragh said, "This horse broke well from the gate. I got the lead and I got to slow it down going down the backstretch. He had a lot in the tank. He just kept on fighting when they came to him. He had a lot of power today. He seemed like once he got relaxed on the lead that he was going to give me more once I asked him. Once I did, he did kick on."
Left: Second place finisher Dynamic Sky returns after the race. Trainer Mark Casse said, "He was the best horse in the race but he runs very green. He showed he could step up in class. I'm very pleased with him. If we ever get him to run straight he's going to be really, really tough."
Right: Third place finisher Java's War heads out for the post parade. Trainer Ken McPeek said, "It looked like we had a chance to win it but he got bumped pretty good. We'll see (about the Breeders' Cup). We got a couple good choices between the dirt and the turf. We try to get them a two-turn experience early on. I think that helps. Like this colt has had two races going two turns and has two nice wins.
Groupie Doll winning the 2012 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes
Jockey Robby Albarado sent Honey Chile to the lead exiting the chute and she set fractions of 22.73 and 45.85 while pressed by 40-1 Newstouse. On the turn, Groupie Doll, who settled in fourth early, came through between horses to gain the lead through 5/8 in 57.46, and drew off to win by 6 1/2 lengths over late-running 25-1 Strike the Moon in 1:09.21. It was another 1/2 length back to Honey Chile third.
Left: Groupie Doll in the winner's circle. Winning owner-trainer Buff Bradley said, "We know she's right right now. She's been training well up to the race. After she came out of the Presque Isle (Masters), I really felt good. She came into form again. Sometimes when you give them time off like that you don't know if they're going to come back as strong. But she sure has."
Right: Groupie Doll in her winner's blanket. Jockey Rajiv Maragh said, "The speed developed in front of her and I kinda waited patiently on the inside. When it was time to go in the stretch, I asked her to run and she sprinted home. I had a ton of horse. I was just being patient. I just waited for the opening. I could have gone outside early but I would have had to go real wide so I was just patient and knew she was going to give me her run when it opened up and she sure did."
Left: Second place finisher Strike the Moon in the post parade. Jockey Jose Lezcano said, "I had a perfect trip but the best horse beat me. I made a run when I wanted to make a run – I was clear the whole way. The other horse [Groupie Doll] is a very good horse."
Right: Third place finisher Honey Chile in the post parade. Trainer Wayne Catalano said, "I thought we'd get an easier lead. But we got pressure early. I think that might have cost us a little. But she ran huge. She'll get a little freshener, then there is a race in Canada in early November (Ontario Fashion Stakes-G3) that we'll look at."
Bridgetown winning the 2012 Woodford Stakes
Jockey Julien Leparoux sent Great Mills to the lead through fractions of 21.67 and 44.53 while pressed by 41-1 longest shot Ginplay. Great Mills continued to lead to mid-stretch through 5/8 in 56.29, but Bridgetown, 4th early, came out 3 wide and took over inside the 1/16 pole to win by a length in 1:02.55 over the firm course. It was another 1/2 length back to Chamberlain Bridge third.
Left: Bridgetown in the winner's circle. Mike Dilger, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher said, "A race this short we thought Javier (Castellano) could do whatever he thought best. He knows the horse well; he's ridden him plenty of times before. I think he rode a great race."
Right: Bridgetown heads out for the post parade. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "It was a beautiful trip. It worked out great for me. My horse didn't break that sharp. I took my time on the backside. They went pretty fast in the first quarter mile. He settled beautifully behind the leaders and when I asked him he responded so well. He got it done."
Left: Second place finisher Great Mills heads out for the post parade. Jockey Julien Leparoux said, "My horse is fast, he has speed. The main thing is he was relaxed and comfortable. It wasn't like he was going too fast. I wish (Ginplay) didn't come with us. But that's part of the race – it's 5 1/2 furlongs and you have to go. He ran great."
Right: Third place finisher Chamberlain Bridge heads out for the post parade. Trainer Bret Calhoun said, "I thought he ran a great. He had a good trip. No excuses, no complaints. These horses are the top echelon of their division. You could run this race several different times and get several different results. I don't think we will go to the Breeders' Cup. I don't think (Santa Anita's) downhill (turf) course would be to his liking. He's been awful good to us. He's still healthy and sound and we hope to be able to keep running."
Darley Alcibiades and Phoenix Stakes from Friday at Keeneland
Juddmonte Spinster and Bourbon Stakes from Sunday at Keeneland
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