Normandy Farm's Daddys Lil Darling, winner of the Sept. 17 Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) in her most recent start at Churchill Downs, headlines a field of 14 2-year-old fillies entered for the 65th running of the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) at Keeneland Oct. 7.
The Alcibiades anchors the first card of Keeneland's 17-day fall meet, which runs through Oct. 29. First post Friday is 1:05 p.m. EDT, with the Alcibiades going as the ninth race at 5:30 p.m.
The Alcibiades, run at 1 1/16 miles on dirt, is the first of six grade I races scheduled for the fall meet, and one of eight Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" events hosted by Keeneland for the Breeders' Cup World Championships to be run Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita Park. The Alcibiades winner gets a fees-paid entry into the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) Nov. 5, but Daddys Lil Darling already secured a spot with her Pocahontas win.
Three Alcibiades winners have gone on to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Eliza (1992), Countess Diana (1997) and Silverbulletday (1998).
Kenny McPeek, a three-time Alcibiades winner, trains Daddys Lil Darling, a homebred Scat Daddy filly who has won two of three starts. Corey Lanerie, aboard in the Pocahontas, has the return call.
Empyrean Stables and Two Princesses' undefeated Diadura takes a step up to challenge Daddys Lil Darling. Trained by Mike Stidham, Diadura has won her two starts as the favorite over the all-weather surface at Arlington International Racecourse. Her most recent victory was a 51/2-length score over fellow Alcibiades contender Benner Island in the Sept. 10 Arlington-Washington Lassie at seven furlongs.
Carlos Marquez Jr., who has ridden Diadura in both of her starts, rides again. The duo departs post 11.
Schuylerville Stakes (gr. II) runner-up Fun returns off a fourth in the Sept. 3 Spinaway (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course; trainer Ian Wilkes reunites the Harlan's Holiday filly with Brian Hernandez Jr., who rode her to her maiden win at first asking at Churchill in June. They drew the rail.
Maiden winners Sully's Dream, Queen Bernardina, Dancing Rags, Lady Hansen, Caroline Test, Cold Hearted Pearl, Dream Dancing, Price too High, I'mluckysgirl, and For Honor complete the field. All starters carry 118 pounds.