Tepin comes home much the best in the 2015 First Lady. She will attempt to defend her title on Saturday
A massive group of Breeders’ Cup prep races is on the lineup this weekend, with a total of 12 “Win and You’re In” races scheduled between Belmont Park, Keeneland, and Santa Anita Park.
Kicking things off on Friday afternoon is the G2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. A.P. Indian is heavily favored in the field of seven off his back-to-back Grade 1 wins in New York, but local stars Alsvid and Limousine Liberal may well give him a run for his money in this six-furlong event.
Also on Friday is the G1 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies. A well-matched field of 14 will line up to go 1 1/16 miles over the main track, with last-out graded stakes winners Daddys Lil Darling and Diadura likely to draw favoritism.
Saturday starts off early afternoon at Belmont Park with the G1 Frizette, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. A field of six will contest the one-mile course, with the Todd Pletcher-trained Nonna Mela expected to be the heavy favorite.
Up next in New York is the G2 Kelso Handicap, a one-mile contest led by the trio of Upstart, Point Piper and Tamarkuz over Belmont’s main track. Anchor Down, for Todd Pletcher, will also be a major contender here.
Belmont’s G1 Flower Bowl is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, led by the Chad Brown-trained duo of Lady Eli and Sea Calisi. Lady Eli will be making her second start after being narrowly beaten last out following a lengthy layoff and recovery from laminitis. Sea Calisi won the G1 Beverly D last out, and Sentiero Italia will be looking to turn the tables on Lady Eli after she finished third behind her in the Ballston Spa.
Kicking off the graded action at Keeneland is the G3 Woodford Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf course. Mongolian Saturday is returning to the United States for this event, and Undrafted will also pose a strong threat. Alsvid has been racing well this season, and may well be competitive in this 12-horse field.
Keeneland’s G2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes offers a berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Stonetastic leads the six-horse field, but Fioretti was strong last out and Churchill and won this race here last year. Sarah Sis is also closing in on $ 1 million in earnings.
Back at Belmont, the G1 Champagne is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. A field of six is scheduled for the one-mile contest, led by Syndergaard, a listed stakes winner for Todd Pletcher. Practical Joke was impressive in winning the Hopeful at Saratoga for Chad Brown, and stretches out a bit in distance here. His stablemate Favorable Outcome is coming off a strong maiden win at the Spa.
Tepin leads the field in Keeneland’s G1 First Lady Stakes, coming off an impressive win in the Woodbine Mile over males in her last start. She will face a field of 10, with the heaviest competition coming from graded stakes winner Celestine.
In Belmont’s G3 Hill Prince Stakes, a field of 10 sophomores will contest nine furlongs on the turf course. Leading the group is the Chad Brown-trained duo of Camelot Kitten and Beach Patrol. They will likely be challenged by Inspector Lynley, who is stepping up in class here.
Up at Woodbine, the G3 Mazarine Stakes features juvenile fillies over 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track. Let It Ride Mom, for trainer Mark Casse, is likely to take the majority of the money in this spot.
Over to Santa Anita, the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship offers a berth the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Lord Nelson is appropriately favored in the field of five, but his Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Jazzy Times should prove a bit of a challenge in the early running.
Back at Keeneland, the G1 Breeders’ Futurity offers a berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. A field of 12 will line up for the 1 1/16 mile contest, led by the Mark Casse-trained Classic Empire. Despite that colt’s unexpected u-turn at the start of Saratoga’s Hopeful, he has proven very talented in his other two starts and is appropriately favored here, provided he behaves himself. Gunnevera and Bitumen will also be tough in this spot.
Belmont’s G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup will feature a small field of five to vie for the spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The ever-temperamental Effinex returns to the track to take on Mubtaahij, who was very impressive last out in the Woodford. California invader Hoppertunity will try this spot instead of last weekend’s Awesome Again, which California Chrome won impressively.
In Keeneland’s G1 Shadwell Turf Mile, an international field of 11 will line up for the berth to the Breeder’s Cup Mile. Mondialiste ships back to the United States to try to keep the ball rolling on his impressive season, while Tourist, Ironicus and Ring Weekend make up the best of the stateside threat. Miss Temple City will also be seeking a repeat of her performance over males this spring in the Maker’s 46 Mile.
Closing out Saturday’s graded stakes action is the G2 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita, in which Om and Obviously will face off over a mile on the turf course. Another in that field of 10 who should make his presence felt is Vyjack.
On Sunday, the action kicks off at Woodbine with the G3 Grey Stakes. Five juveniles will line up for the 1 1/16 mile contest over the all-weather surface, led by the Mark Casse-trained Golden Hawk.
Keeneland will offer another pair of Breeders’ Cup qualifiers, starting with the G3 Dixiana Bourbon for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Chad Brown’s Ticonderoga leads a full field of 14 for the 1 1/16 mile turf contest, and the Mark Casse-trained French-bred Keep Quiet should also play a factor under Florent Geroux.
In Keeneland’s G1 Spinster, a berth the Breeders’ Cup Distaff is on the line. I’m a Chatterbox is favored in the field of five for the nine-furlong event, though Paid Up Subscriber and Genre could prove worthy opponents.
Finally, the G3 L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita features fillies and mares over 6 1/2 furlongs. The Bob Baffert-trained Luminance leads the field of eight.
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