Wide-Open Spinster Tough to Crack
Shug McGaughey, Bill Mott, and Todd Pletcher, who have won three of the last four editions of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I), are back again with multiple contenders in the prestigious race Oct. 9 at Keeneland.
The three trainers have entered five in the field of 12 fillies and mares that are scheduled to run 1 1/8 miles on the Polytrack. One also-eligible was also part of the draw.
The winner of the evenly-matched race will earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. The Spinster, which will be run just prior to the Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) for juveniles on the turf, will go to post at 5:45 p.m. EDT.
McGaughey entered Protesting and Theyskens' Theory, though the latter was cross-entered in the First Lady (gr. IIT) on Oct. 9. Phipps Stable’s Protesting broke her maiden by five lengths on the Keeneland main track in 2009 and was fourth in the Central Bank Ashland (gr. I) last year. The 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy has a win in three starts in 2011, that coming in a dominating optional claiming score at Saratoga in July. Most recently, the filly was fourth in the Personal Ensign (gr. I).
John Velazquez will ride Protesting for McGaughey, who last won the Spinster in 2008 with Carriage Trail and has taken the event four times in his career. Kent Desormeaux has been assigned to ride Theyskens’ Theory, if she goes. The only 3-year-old entered, she was a close second to Winter Memories last month in the Garden City (gr. IT).
Pletcher will have two chances with Fares Farm’s Embur's Song and Bobby Flay’s Super Espresso. Embur’s Song, winner of the Doubledogdare (gr. III) at Keeneland during the spring meet, will make her grade I debut. Undefeated in two starts at Keeneland and a two-time grade III winner on Woodbine’s Polytrack, Embur’s Song has won four of her last five starts. Her only blemish came by less than a length Sept. 3 in the Seaway (Can-III). Jesus Castanon will ride.
Super Espresso won the Allaire DuPont Distaff (gr. III) back in May at Pimlico and has been grade I placed in two starts since then. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro will be making her first start on a synthetic surface in her 16th try.
Pletcher won the Spinster in 2007 with Panty Raid.
Mott, who won in 2009 with Mushka, will send out Lewis Lakin’s Dynazaper, in seach of her first graded stakes triumph. The 4-year-old Ghostzapper filly broke her maiden at Keeneland in 2009 and has won once in seven starts this season. Edgar Prado will be in the irons.
Two other Spinster entrants have graded stakes victories on all-weather surfaces: La Gran Bailadora and Pachattack.
Tracy Farmer’s La Gran Bailadora won the Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. III) at Turfway Park on Sept. 24 in her most recent start and has three other Polytrack victories in her career. Trained by Mike Maker, La Gran Bailadora will be ridden by Corey Lanerie.
Druid Racing’s Pachattack was a six-length winner of the Arlington Matron (gr. III) on May 28, defeating La Gran Bailadora in the process. In her most recent start, Pachattack ran second in the Personal Ensign. Trained by Gerard Butler, Pachattack will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh.
Aruna, scratched from the Flower Bowl (gr. IT) at Belmont last weekend when the turf came up soft, has won a pair of graded stakes during the last 12 months and was runner-up in the Diana (gr. IT) in her last try. She should go off as one of the favorites.
A pair of Woodbine stakes winners are also in the field. Augustin Stable’s Sugar Again won the Ruling Angel sprinting last fall at Woodbine. She is trained by Jonathan Sheppard.
Richard Brown’s Stars to Shine was an easy winner of the Belle Mahone at Woodbine in August. Trained by Mark Frostad, she was third in the Canadian (Can-III) in her last start.
Acoma won the Spinster in 2010 for David Carroll.
The Bourbon, at 1 1/16 miles on turf, had 13 pass the entry box as well. All of the juveniles will carry 118 pounds.
Trainer Graham Motion has entered two in the wide-open affair—Gold Megillah and Lucky Chappy. West Point Thoroughbreds’ Gold Megillah is still a maiden after two tries, but was a close second last out on turf at Belmont to Our Entourage , who was entered in the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) on Saturday.
Irish-bred Lucky Chappy will be making his first start for Motion and Team Valor International. The High Chaparral colt makes his U.S. debut after winning two of three starts in Italy.
Trainer Ken McPeek won the Bourbon last year with Rogue Romance and is back again with Here Comes Frazier, a Badge of Silver colt that he also owns. Here Comes Frazier romped by seven lengths in his Sept. 5 debut at Arlington, going wire-to-wire at six furlongs. Julien Leparoux picks up the mount.
$150,000 Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 5:13 p.m.), 2YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
$400,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I, Race 9, 5:45 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack)
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