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Robby Albarado and Silver Max 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. There were two on Friday, the Darley Alcibiades (G1) and Phoenix Stakes (G3) won by My Conquestadory and Sum of the Parts, plus two more on Sunday, the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) and Bourbon Stakes won by Emollient and Poker Player.
Silver Max wins the Shadwell Turf Mile
Jockey Robby Albarado sent Silver Max to the early lead through fractions of 23.79, 46.73, and 1:10.41 while stalked by 10-1 Hogy and 30-1 Handsome Mike. Entering the lane, Silver Max opened up a 2 1/2 length advantage, getting the mile in 1:35.47. Wise Dan, who raced fourth early while wide throughout, attempted to close but Silver Max held him off by 1 1/4 length in 1:42.06. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to 18-1 Willcox Inn third.
Left: Silver Max in the winner's circle after the Shadwell Turf Mile. Trainer Dale Romans said, "He had management issues. I threw him to the wolves probably a little quicker than I should have, but we backed up and regrouped and he's strong this fall. We had a tired horse last fall – this fall we're just peaking."
Right: Silver Max heads out for the post parade. Jockey Robby Albarado said, "He's got such a high cruising speed. Dale said, 'Take it to them right away and let them catch you.' He's doing so well. The horse has been training forwardly – the best he's been doing since he started with him. Dale prepared him well this year with stretching his races out. He's a fresh horse."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Wise Dan in the post parade. Jockey John Velazquez said, "First time running on the Polytrack and it's really wet and it seemed like he was tiring from it today. He couldn't seem to get his footing. After that he kept trying. At the 3/8 pole, I thought I was going to be in control, but when I went after him, (Silver Max) started running again. It was only a matter of time whether (Wise Dan) would handle the track. He handled the track OK, but the track is different today, a lot of water. He had to work harder. Other than that he kept trying and ran hard."
Right: Third place finisher Willcox Inn returns after the race. Jockey James Graham said, "Great trip, saved all the ground, ran third. If (the race) had been on the grass and the grass was firm, I think he probably would have run in the same spot, but he ran his rear end off on it. He quickens better on the grass. His turn of foot is a little better on the grass."
Better Lucky (outside) winning the 2013 First Lady Stakes
7-1 Daisy Devine went to the lead first time by and set fractions of 24.19, 48.60, and 1:14.21 over the yielding course while 1 1/2 lengths ahead of 28-1 Winding Way stalking her in second. Into the stretch, Better Lucky, who was 4th early, moved up take the lead through 7/8 in 1:26.74. Dayattthespa rallied from third but Better Lucky held her off by a head in 1:39.78. It was a long 4 lengths back to Daisy Devine third.
Left: Better Lucky heads to the winner's circle. Jimmy Bell, representing owner-breeder Godolphin Racing said, "Today she was 'Better Lucky.' Last couple of times she's been a little unlucky, took wide trips and ran great races. We've been looking at this race for quite a while. Julien (Leparoux) gave her a great ride and (trainer) Tommy (Albertrani) had her to the minute tuned up. We were Better Lucky today and got it done."
Right: Better Lucky heads out to the track before the race as the rain pours down. Jockey Julien Leparoux said, "I'm telling you, I didn't see much either. My goggles all fogged up so it was not very easy to see on the backside. I tried to take them off and put them back on to see where I was. She took me into the race very nice. She fought back when (Dayatthespa) came back on the inside. She's a nice filly for sure."
Left: Second place finisher Dayatthespa in the paddock before the race and the rain. Co-owner Pete Bradley said, "What a game race she ran. She's a really good one. She got beat by a better horse today but she gutted it out all the way down (the stretch). We're pretty proud of her. She has proven she deserves to be with this group"
Right: Third place finisher Daisy Devine returns after the race. Jockey James Graham said, "She ran great. She runs her race every time you lead her over. (The rain and wind) didn't bother her. She ran her butt off. She always does."
We Miss Artie winning the 2013 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity
Solitary Ranger battled for the lead with 11-2 fourth choice General Jack through fractions of 23.17, 46.84, and 1:11.94 while stalked by 51-1 Laddie Boy and 13-1 Tiznowforamerica. At the top of the lane, the pacesetters tired as 12-1 Smarty's Echo gained the front through 1 mile in 1:39.84. However, 10-1 We Miss Artie, 8th early, closed 5 wide to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:46.91. It was another 2 lengths back to 9-1 Arctic Slope third, while favorite Solitary Ranger checked in ninth.
Left: We Miss Artie in the winner's circle. Owner Ken Ramsey said, "I have to take my hat off to my farm manager, Mark Partridge. He picked this horse out at the sale. It's not a Kitten's Joy, but it's an Artie Schiller and they run pretty good too."
Right: Owner Ken Ramsey and trainer Dale Romans lead We Miss Artie to the winner's circle. Jockey John Velazquez said, "Had a little bit of trouble into the first turn, had to steady him out of there, then I gave him a chance up the backstretch. Going to the second turn we saved a little bit of ground. Then when I pulled him out, he saw the light and that's when he started running."
Left: Second place finisher Smarty's Echo in the post parade. Jockey E.T. Baird said, "He broke out of the gate and I tried to get him forwardly placed. It worked out well. I think he ran super for the first start (in a stakes) of his life. He's learning all the time and he's done a great job."
Right: Third place finisher Arctic Slope in the post parade. Jockey Joe Rocco Jr. said, "My horse kind of hopped a bit on the first jump, left on his back legs. But then they went fast enough (and) I thought I'd be a little closer at first, but they were going so fast I think I would have ended up where I was anyway. From there, I more or less followed (We Miss Artie) around there. The rail was really heavy with a lot of water on it, so I wanted to keep my horse more toward the outside. He ran on well. It seems like he'll run all day long."
Judy the Beauty winning the 2013 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes
Gypsy Robin was quickest away and set fractions of 22.67 and 45.94 while stalked by Groupie Doll. At the top of the lane, Judy the Beauty, last early, came out 5 wide to gain the lead through 5/8 in 57.35, and outfinished Gypsy Robin late to win by 1 length in 1:09.23. It was another 3/4 length back to Groupie Doll third.
Left: Judy the Beauty in the winner's circle. Owner-trainer Wesley Ward said, "I've owned this filly for a few years now, and I'm just elated. Any time you can have a home- court advantage (the horses have) a big advantage and that's what this filly had. She trains here every day. She's just outstanding."
Right: Judy the Beauty in the post parade. Jockey John Velazquez said, "She broke well enough. When the speed went and when I saw (Groupie Doll) in front of me (I knew) that's the horse to follow. I got right behind (jockey Rajiv Maragh) and tried to get the jump on him before he got running. When my horse responded right away, I was a little surprised at how quick we got by (Groupie Doll). I was very proud of the way she did it. Not only that, but she had to put up a fight with (Gypsy Robin) inside."
Left: Second place finisher Gypsy Robin heads out to the track. Jockey Garrett Gomez said, "She left the gate really good and traveled beautiful for me. When we came off the turn, we started sprinting and she fought hard with that other filly. She ran a really good race. She did everything I wanted her to do. She just wasn't as good as the winner today."
Right: Third place finisher Groupie Doll in the paddock. Owner-trainer Buff Bradley said, "Rajiv got her to rate. He said she broke sharp, and she was laying right where we wanted to be. We were in a good spot all the way around. She just got outrun. I'm not happy about it, but that's the way it is. It looks so far like she came back good, so we'll look at her back in the barn and go from there."
Havelock winning the 2013 Woodford Stakes
Great Mills and Stormofthecentury battled for the lead through fractions of 21.64 and 44.86 over the firm course while stalked by 6-1 Spring to the Sky and 9-1 Ancil. Spring to the City gained the lead at the top of the lane through 5/8 in 57.04, but Havelock, last early, closed on the far outside to win by 2 lengths over 24-1 Expecting Cash in 1:03.17. It was a neck back to Spring to the Sky third, while favorite Great Mills faded to finish last.
Left: Havelock in the winner's circle. Trainer Darrin Miller said, "This is his home. Any time you load you're concerned, but yes I was concerned. But the biggest confidence I had in him was that Garrett (Gomez) was on him. I knew he would know where he needed to be."
Right: Havelock returns after the race. Jockey Garrett Gomez said, "That's just his style (off the pace). He's a big long horse and it takes a second for him to kind of get up on his feet. He's got a nice turn of foot and he just keeps coming. He's steady and just keeps coming, and especially when there's a little cut in the ground, that helps him too."
Left: Second place finisher Expecting Cash returns after the race. Jockey Eddie Castro said, "He ran a really nice race. I think he tried hard. I sat off the pace, and he was coming, but the other horse (Havelock), he is a really nice horse."
Right: Third place finisher Spring to the Sky returns after the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "He broke well – really, really fast. I was told not to take too much hold of him because one time before he tried to drift out when taking a hold of him. He ran really good, though. I think it was a little too fast too soon. Perfect trip, other than being wide."
Darley Alcibiades and Phoenix Stakes from Friday at Keeneland
Juddmonte Spinster and Bourbon Stakes from Sunday at Keeneland
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