In a race like the Oct. 6 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland, it is only fitting that the likely favorite is bred and owned by Shadwell Stable, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, and coming off an impressive victory in a major stakes race.
Enter Shakis (IRE), the 7-year-old son of Machiavellian who, following the $600,000 Shadwell, may be a viable candidate for the Oct. 27 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park. Never mind the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” implications of the Shadwell – McLaughlin had already pegged the championship day as a target for Shakis after his rail-skimming victory in the Aug. 25 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga. The talented turf horse has two wins in four starts in the United States and has not been worse than fourth since arriving at McLaughlin’s barn from Dubai. Jockey Alan Garcia, who has ridden Shakis in all of his U.S. starts, retains the mount.
Tackling Shakis once again is the Patrick Biancone-trained Cosmonaut, fifth in the Bernard Baruch. Prior to that race, the 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid won the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park July 21. From 25 starts, he has a 6-4-1 record for Flying Zee Stable, including a second-place finish in Pimlico’s Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) last year.
Juddmonte Farm's Art Master comes into the race looking to recover from a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Sept. 16 Woodbine Mile (CAN-I). The Bobby Frankel trainee won the Poker Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont July 14, then ran second in an allowance optional claimer over the Saratoga turf Aug. 2. A 6-year-old son of Royal Academy, Art Master kicked off his career in France with a four-race winning streak that included two group III victories.
Also of interest is the 3-year-old Danzig colt Astronomer Royal, owned by Derrick Smith, who hails from the powerhouse stable of European champion trainer Aidan O’Brien. O’Brien sent another 3-year-old to Keeneland for last year’s Shadwell, and Aussie Rules ran off with the top prize. John Velazquez has been named to ride Astronomer Royal, who has two victories in seven career starts. His most significant score came in the French 2,000 Guineas (FRA-I).
T.D. Vance, Purim, Independent George, Istan, and Spotsgone complete the field.
$600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. I, Race 9, 5:45 p.m.), one mile, 3-year-olds & up (turf)
(All entries carry 126 pounds)
PP, Horse, Jockey
1. T. D. Vance, Ramon Dominguez
2. Art Master, Rafael Bejarano
3. Purim, Jamie Theriot
4. Astronomer Royal, John Velazquez
5. Independent George, Corey Nakatani
6. Istan, Robby Albarado
7. Cosmonaut, Julien Leparoux
8. Spotsgone, Earlie Fires
9. Shakis (IRE), Alan Garcia