Gio Ponti

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Mathea Kelley

Fields Taking Shape for Keeneland Stakes

Lexington track presenting nine graded stakes over Oct. 7-9 opening weekend.

Multiple Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti  returns to Keeneland on Oct. 8 as he seeks to defend his title in the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT), one of nine graded stakes over the Lexington track’s opening weekend.

Keeneland will kick off its 17-day meet Oct. 7 and opening weekend features five grade I stakes. The Shadwell Mile is one of six stakes over the weekend that are “Win and You’re In” tests for the 28th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, with the winners receiving automatic starting berths in the Nov. 4-5 event at Churchill Downs.

The Shadwell Turf Mile is a “Win and You’re In” race for the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT). Trained by Christophe Clement, Castleton Lyons Farm’s Gio Ponti is likely to face grade I turf winners Get Stormy  and Court Vision . Other probables include Anak Nakal, Dance And Dance, Sidney's Candy, Society's Chairman , Tajaaweed, and Wise Dan.

Fields are taking shape for the other stakes that will be contested over Keeneland’s “FallStars Weekend.".

The $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the main track highlights the Oct. 7 opening day card. Topping the probable entrants on stakes coordinator Allison De Luca’s list are grade III winners Flashy Lassie and Rocket Twentyone and undefeated two-time Woodbine stakes winner Tu Endie Wei.

Trained by Garry Simms for Barry King, Flashy Lassie won the Debutante at Churchill Downs in June. Frank Fletcher’s Rocket Twentyone won the Arlington-Washington Lassie to remain undefeated in two starts for trainer W.T. Howard. Tu Endie Wei is a homebred owned by Brereton Jones and trained by Reade Baker.

Other probables for the Alcibiades, which is a “Win and You’re In” race, include And Why Not, Ann of the Dance, Cheerleader, Egg Drop, Frolic's Revenge, Heart of Destiny, M'Dearest, Mais Oui, New Wave, On Fire Baby, Princess Phoebe, Soonerette, and Tavern On the Bay.

Also on the Oct. 7 card is the 159th running of the $175,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (gr. III) at six furlongs on the main track and a “Win and You’re In” test for the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I).

Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite , winner of the Commonwealth (gr. II) at Keeneland in the spring, tops the probables list that also includes Commonwealth runner-up Cool Bullet. Others considered likely to be named when entries are taken Oct. 4 are Flashpoint, Hamazing Destiny, and Southern Style, with either Comedero or Hollywood Hit considered as possible.

Also slated for Oct. 8 is the 14th running of the $350,000 First Lady (gr. IT) for fillies and mares at a mile on turf.

Topping the list of probables are Team Block’s Never Retreat and Team Valor International’s Daveron. Never Retreat has three grade II victories among her four 2011 triumphs, including a victory in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in the spring. Daveron is undefeated in three 2011 starts with her most recent score coming in the Ballston Spa (gr. IIT) at Saratoga in August.

Other probables include Bay to Bay, Category Seven, Cherokee Queen, Éclair de Lune, Gypsy's Warning, Snow Top Mountain, and 2010 Jenny Wiley winner Wasted Tears.

The third grade race Oct. 8 is the 98th running of the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at 1 1/16 miles on the main track for 2-year-olds. The race is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I).

Topping the probables are Jerry Namy’s Shared Property, winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III), and Jeffrey Bloom’s Majestic City , winner of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) disqualified from second to third in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I).

Other Breeders’ Futurity probables are Dullahan, E Valentino, Gung Ho, Here Comes Frazier, I'll Have Another , Indian Assault, Motor City, Optimizer , Shun, Space Race, and Take Charge Indy.

Also scheduled for Oct. 8 are the 31st running of the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. II) for fillies and mares going six furlongs on the main track, and the 15th running of the $150,000 Woodford (gr. IIIT) at 5½ furlongs on the turf.

C R K Stables’ multiple sprint grade I winner Switch and Pinnacle Racing Stable and Bill Kaplan’s Musical Romance, winner of the Presque Isle Masters (gr. II) in her most recent start, head the list of TCA probables. Others considered likely for the race, which is a “Win and You’re In” test for the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I), are Dances With Ashley, Devil by Design, Holiday for Kitten, I Knot, Indulgence, and Promised Mandate.

Probables for the Woodford include A Diehl, Country Day, Despite the Odds , Goldzar, Great Attack, Perfect Officer, Streakin' Mohican, and Wekiva Wachee, with Havelock, Keyite, and Uno Ducksy considered as possible.

The 56th running of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the main track highlights the Oct. 9 race card that also features the 21st running of the $150,000 Bourbon (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Probables for the Juddmonte Spinster, which rewards the winner a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I), are Aruna, Embur's Song, It's Tea Time, La Gran Bailadora, Pachattack, Protesting, Quiet Giant, Stars to Shine, Super Espresso, Tesoro de Amor, Well Monied, and Zagora.

Team Valor International’s State of Play, undefeated winner of the With Anticipation (gr. IIT) in his most recent start at Saratoga, tops the list of probables for the Bourbon, along with Scott Heider and Michael Dahir’s Monastic, a half brother to multiple grass stakes winner Keertana. Others considered likely for the Bourbon are Chalybeate Springs, Gold Megillah, and Musical Flair.