Spring in the Air BC-bound; Phoenix top two still pondering
John Oxley's Spring in the Air returned to Churchill Downs on Friday night after her one-length victory in the Grade 1 Alcibiades and "is great this morning," trainer Mark Casse said Saturday. The victory earned Spring in the Air a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies to be run November 2 at Santa Anita. Casse said her travel itinerary to California has not been set.
"I'm not sure when she will go out," Casse said. "It depends on a couple of other horses that are running. I have a filly running today at Woodbine (Spring Venture in the Grade 3 Mazarine) and a colt that is four-for-four (Uncaptured in Sunday's Grade 3 Grey)."
The victory was the first in a Keeneland stakes for Casse.
"I have not raced that often at Keeneland," Casse said. "When I was the leading trainer the one year at Churchill Downs, most of my horses were claimers.
"But when I was riding, I won my first real race at Keeneland. I had won a couple races at the Great Barrington Fair (in Massachusetts) but my first win at a major track was at Keeneland. It was a $5,000 claimer and the race was a mile and an eighth. The jockey on the other horse misjudged the finish line and we won by a nose."
Trainer Al Stall Jr. said that Alcibiades third-place finisher Magical Moon will be headed to Camden, South Carolina, on Monday night for a short break.
"No more races for her this year," Stall said of the filly, who is owned by Columbine Stable. "She came back tired yesterday. The track was quite a bit different yesterday than what we had trained on. The last eighth and sixteenth of a mile were not pretty, but clearly the talent is there."
The Breeders' Cup status of the top two from Friday's Grade 3 Phoenix, Sum of the Parts and Noble's Promise, was yet to be determined.
Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence's Sum of the Parts exited his 1 1/4-length victory in the Phoenix in good shape, according to trainer Tom Amoss.
"He will stay at Keeneland no matter what because he gets over the Polytrack so well," Amoss said of Sum of the Parts, who earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint with his victory Friday.
Amoss said he will get with Seth Klaman of Klaravich and Lawrence next week to talk Breeders' Cup.
"It is awfully tempting with everything all taken care of," Amoss said of the fees-paid win. "But one thing we are not losing sight of is he is just a three-year-old and he has a lot of races ahead of him. We will weigh all those things and pay attention to the race (the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship featuring defending Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Amazombie) today."
Running second to Sum of the Parts in the Phoenix might have earned J C M Racing's Noble's Promise a trip to California for the Breeders' Cup, trainer Ken McPeek said Saturday.
"That'd be nice," McPeek said. "He's been running some really good numbers. He's going to have to run the race of his life. We'll see who's going in. We're going to analyze it."
Winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in 2009, Noble's Promise ran third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The five-year-old son of Cuvee is winless in eight starts this year but has three seconds in stakes company at six furlongs to seven furlongs.
One McPeek runner who is headed to the Breeders' Cup is Magic City Thoroughbred Partners' Golden Ticket, dead-heat winner of the Grade 1 Travers on August 25.
On Saturday at Keeneland, the three-year-old Speightstown colt breezed a half-mile on the Polytrack in :52 4/5.
"It's what I'd call 'a happy half,'" McPeek said. "He is probably going to have another one of those next weekend and then fly to California. It looks like he is set for the Classic."
In other notable works at Keeneland Saturday, Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint contender Judy the Beauty worked five furlongs in 1:02 for owner-trainer Wesley Ward. A multiple Grade 1-placed stakes heroine, the daughter of Ghostzapper was most recently runner-up in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap.
Caroline Forgason's Somali Lemonade, an invitee to next Saturday's Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, toured a half-mile in :49 2/5 in company with Welcome Dance. The Michael Matz trainee, who captured last year's Grade 3 Jessamine over the Keeneland turf, just missed in the Grade 1 Garden City.
Ten Broeck Farm's Nechez Dawn, expected to run in Friday's Franklin County, wasn't listed on the official tab, but the Keeneland publicity team reported that she went a half-mile in :48 1/5. The Jeff Bonde filly landed the Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar two back and exits a fourth in the Turf Amazon at Parx.
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