Fayette Winners Square Off in Ben Ali

Fayette Winners Square Off in Ben Ali
Photo: Keeneland Photo
Newsdad won the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland in 2012.

Newsdad and Nikki's Sandcastle, winners of the past two runnings of Keeneland's Fayette Stakes (gr. II), top the field of 10 older runners entered for the Lexington track's $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track April 19.

Trained by Bill Mott for owner-breeder James K. Karp, Newsdad enters the Ben Ali off his second victory in the Pan American Stakes (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park. The 6-year-old Arch   horse has six victories to his credit from 23 starts, with earnings of $619,085.

Sidelined five months after winning the Fayette in 2012, Newsdad finished third in last year's Pan American in his only start of 2013. In his first outing after being off nearly a year, Newsdad finished seventh, 3 3/4 lengths behind the winner, in a March 3 allowance/optional claimer at Gulfstream as a prep for his Pan American triumph.

In addition to winning the Fayette and the 2012 and 2014 editions of the Pan American, Newsdad has placed in four graded stakes. In the Ben Ali, Newsdad will break from post position 10 and be ridden by Joel Rosario while toting 123 pounds.

Also assigned 123, Nikki's Sandcastle is winless in three starts since taking the Fayette at 12-1 odds last October. The 7-year-old Castledale gelding trained by Dave Kassen for owner-breeder Richard Sherman has been on the board in 23 of 38 career outings and has earned $552,907. Second to Newsdad in the 2012 Fayette, Nikki's Sandcastle will break from post position 3 under Corey Lanerie.

Additional Keeneland graded stakes winners entered in the Ben Ali are Joha, winner of the 2012 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I), and Winning Cause, victorious in last year's Lexington Stakes (gr. III).

Owned by Wade Wacker and trained by Tom Albertrani, Joha will break from post position 4 and be ridden by Javier Castellano. The 4-year-old Johar colt is seeking his fifth career victory in and is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Pan American.

Trained by Todd Pletcher for Alto Racing, Winning Cause is making his 2014 debut after a campaign last year in which he won three of 12 starts, with six placings.

$150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, approximate post time 4:42 p.m. EDT), 4YOs&Up, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Norumbega (KY), S Bridgmohan, 118, C R McGaughey III
2. Steelcase (KY), S Elliott, 118, M E Casse
3. Nikki's Sandcastle (KY), C J Lanerie, 123, D Kassen
4. Joha (KY), J Castellano, 118, T Albertrani
5. Hattaash (KY), E Equivel, 118, C Winebaugh
6. Winning Cause (KY), J Rocco Jr., 118, T A Pletcher
7. Red Rifle (KY), R Albarado, 118, T A Pletcher
8. Farhaan (KY), I Ortiz Jr., 120, K P McLaughlin
9. Frac Daddy (KY), A Garcia, 118, K G McPeek
10. Newsdad (KY), J Rosario, 123, W I Mott
 

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