Stately Victor, who scored his career biggest win at Keeneland in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) this spring, returns to the Lexington racetrack as one of the favorites for the closing day $150,000 Greenbrier Fayette (gr. II) on Oct. 30.
A field of 10 was entered for the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack event, including Stately Victor and a pair of other 3-year-olds—Exhi and Mint Chip. Exhi also won his biggest race at Keeneland in the April 17 Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and seeks his fifth win of the season.
Other contenders include the hard-knocking and well-traveled Battle of Hastings, who has recently been switched from turf to synthetics by new trainer Greg Fox, Ben Ali (gr. III) winner Dubious Miss, and grade III winner Successful Dan, a romping seven-length winner just three weeks ago at Keeneland in an optional allowance.
Stately Victor came into the April 10 Blue Grass off of five decisive defeats, but ran the race of his life under Alan Garcia while pulling a 40-1 shocker. The son of Ghostzapper proceeded to finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He is coming off a win in Woodbine’s Ontario Derby over Polytrack at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 25 for his second victory in eight starts this season.
Robby Albarado will ride Tom and Jack Conway’s bay colt for trainer Mike Maker. He will carry top weight of 122 pounds.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Exhi won four consecutive stakes at one point this year, all on synthetic surfaces. In August, he switched back to dirt when running second in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II), and last out was fourth in the Sept. 25 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II). The son of Maria’s Mon will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
The Fayette marks the first start for Stately Victory and Exhi against older horses.
Mike House’s Battle of Hastings, a 4-year-old gelded son of Royal Applause, is winless in his last 10 races but has been runner-up four times—all in grade I or grade II company. A turf horse for most of his career while trained by Jeff Mullins in California, he raced on synthetics in his last two starts, including a half-length defeat in the July 31 San Diego Handicap (gr. II). Fox assigned Jesus Castanon to ride.
The Paul McGee trained Dubious Miss will make his first start since winning Keeneland’s Ben Ali in April. Succesful Dan, from the barn of Charles Lopresti, is 4-for-6 lifetime but will stretch out to nine furlongs for the first time.
Also in the race is two-time graded stakes winner Adriano, who finished 19th in the 2008 Kentucky Derby and is making his first start since April, 2009.
Keeneland will card 10 races on its Oct. 30 program, which is the final day of its 17-day fall meet.
$150,000 Greenbrier Fayette (gr. II, Race 9, 5:23 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Stately Victor (KY), A Garcia, 122, M J Maker
2. Adriano (KY), S Bridgmohan, 119, W I Mott
3. Successful Dan (KY), J R Leparoux, 119, C Lopresti
4. Intercoastal (KY), E Trujillo, 119, W A Ward
5. Battle of Hastings (GB), J L Castanon, 119, G Fox
6. Mint Chip (KY), V Lebron, 116, G R Arnold II
7. Exhi (KY), J Castellano, 120, T A Pletcher
8. Boots Ahead (KY), G K Gomez, 119, G Weaver
9. Dubious Miss (KY), C H Borel, 121, P J McGee
10. Cherokee Artist (KY), K J Desormeaux, 119, H G Motion