Tom VanMeter II's Be Gentle, runner up to the undefeated Ashado last time out in the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I), looms large against six rivals in the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) Friday at Keeneland.
The 1 1/16-mile race for juvenile fillies highlights the opening day program, part of the three-day Fallstars Allstars weekend that offers eight stakes, seven of which are graded, and $2,725,000 in purses.
Three of the last six winners of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) have come out of the Alcibiades, including Countess Diana in 1997, the last year the Breeders' Cup was held in Southern California. In previous years, the race was sponsored by Walmac International, but will be presented by Darley for the first time. A bonus is attached to the winning connections, as they will receive a breeding season to Street Cry. Street Cry stands just minutes from Keeneland at Darley at Jonabell.
Facing the starter, and Be Gentle, in the two-turn race at Keeneland, are Sweet Jo Jo, In Rome, Galloping Gal, Whirlwind Charlott, Lokoya, and Deb's Charm. All fillies will carry 118 pounds.
Be Gentle, by Tale of the Cat, out of the Risen Star mare Gentlelistar, won her first two starts, a maiden win on May 11 and the Debutante Stakes (gr. III) on July 4, both at Churchill Downs. Over a sloppy track, she ran fifth behind Ashado in the Schuylerville Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga before rebounding in the seven-furlong Spinaway. Ashado figures to be the favorite in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Bred in Virginia by Nellie M. Cox and Rose Retreat Farm, Be Gentle was a $45,000 RNA at last year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Be Gentle worked a half-mile in :47 3/5 Sunday morning.
Trainer Kenny McPeek has a pair for the Alcibiades in Deb's Charm and Galloping Gal.
Robert Francello's Deb's Charm, from the first crop of Silver Charm, broke her maiden Aug. 9 at Saratoga going seven furlongs and has not started since. Francello paid $190,000 for Deb's Charm at last year's Keeneland September sale.
Bill Carl's Galloping Gal is two-for-two, breaking her maiden at Saratoga Aug. 20 going 1 1/16 miles, then winning an open allowance test at a mile at Kentucky Downs. Both efforts were on the turf. Galloping Gal is from the first crop of Victory Gallop, out of the A.P. Indy mare Indy Flash. Galloping Gal was a $50,000 Keeneland September yearling, selling on day six of the 12-day sale.
The Todd Pletcher-trianed Lokoya was second by a nose to stablemate Marylebone in the Matron Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont on Sept. 14. That race was a one-turn mile. The Woodman filly, owned by James Scatuorchio worked a half-mile at Belmont in :49 1/5.
Carl Pollard's In Rome worked five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 Saturday at Churchill Downs for trainer David Vance. She won the Pepsi Bassinet Stakes at River Downs in her last effort.
Sweet Jo Jo is coming off a third-place finish behind Class Above in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway Park Sept. 13.Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II), 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Oct. 3.
PP, Horse, Jockey, ML
1, Sweet Jo Jo, Corey Lanerie, 9-2
2, Be Gentle, Cornelio Velasquez, 3-1
3, In Rome, Pat Day, 8-1
4, Galloping Gal, Brice Blanc, 6-1
5, Whirlwind Charlott, Edgar Prado, 15-1
6, Lokoya, John Velazquez, 5-2
7, Deb's Charm, Robby Albarado, 3-1