With horses shipping in from all over the country and having run some of their best races on all types of surfaces, the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) is a wide-open affair. A field of 11 was drawn for the nine-furlong Polytrack event Oct. 10 at Keeneland, with the winner receiving an automatic bid in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) next month.
Nelson McMakin’s homebred Hot Cha Cha scored her biggest career win at Keeneland but it came on the turf course, as she romped in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) at 8-1. The 4-year-old daughter of Cactus Ridge also has two other graded scores on the turf, but she has proved herself on Polytrack too. In March 2009, she won the Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) at Turfway Park.
Hot Cha Cha, who has produced a 6-3-4 record from 17 starts, will be ridden by James Graham for trainer Philip Sims.
Mrs. C. Wilson McNeeley III’s Funny Moon grabbed her grade I win in the Coaching Club American Oaks last summer on the Belmont dirt. The Malibu Moon filly has won once in four starts this season, that coming in the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II), also at Belmont. In her lone Keeneland appearance, she was runner-up by a length in the Doubledogdare (gr. III) in April.
Garrett Gomez will ride Funny Moon for the first time for trainer Christophe Clement.
Jerry Jamgotchian’s Rinterval lost by a head to Informed Decision in the seven-furlong Chicago Handicap (gr. III) July 4 on Arlington Park’s Polytrack and then came within a neck of Zenyatta in the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. I)) at Del Mar on Aug. 7. She was scheduled for a rematch with Zenyatta in last week’s Lady’s Secret (gr. I) at Hollywood Park, but flipped in the paddock prior to the race and had to be scratched.
Rinterval, who came back to work five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Oct. 4 before shipping to Keeneland, will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela for trainer Eric Reed. The 5-year-old Desert Prince mare seeks her first graded stakes victory. She ran sixth in a turf allowance race in April 2009 in her lone appearance in Lexington.
Darley Stable’s Tizaqueena is a five-time stakes winner, and has won over turf, dirt, and synthetics. The versatile daughter of Tiznow earned her second graded victory three starts ago in the Arlington Matron (gr. III) over the Polytrack, and has three wins in six starts this season. In her only appearance at Keeneland, Tizaqueena was runner-up in the 2009 First Lady Stakes (gr. IT) on the turf course. Javier Castellano will have the call for Michael Stidham.
Alex G. Campbell’s It’s Tea Time was runner-up in the grade I Ashland Stakes on the Keeneland main track in April before a failed ninth-place effort in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The improving Dynaformer filly has won her last two, taking a turf allowance race on Aug. 1 and then the Lake Placid (gr. III) three weeks later on dirt—both at Saratoga. Rusty Arnold has assigned Julien Leparoux to ride.
Also in the race is Arnold Zetcher’s Zardana, who defeated 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds in March and comes into the Spinster off a third-place finish behind stablemate Zenyatta in the June 13 Vanity Handicap (gr. I). Trained by John Shirreffs, Zardana will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.
Acoma, a two-time winner on the Keeneland turf course, also bears watching. The David Carroll trainee is a six-time graded stakes winner, including the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) in November at Churchill Downs. She is winless in three starts this season.
$500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I, Race 9, 5:44 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. It's Tea Time (KY), J R Leparoux, 121, G R Arnold II
2. Funny Moon (KY), G K Gomez, 124, C Clement
3. Tizaqueena (KY), J Castellano, 124, M Stidham
4. Zardana (BRZ), V Espinoza, 124, J A Shirreffs
5. Silver Reunion (KY), R A Dominguez, 124, H G Motion
6. Milwaukee Appeal (ON), K J Desormeaux, 124, S H Fairlie
7. Askbut I Won'ttell (FL), M E Smith, 124, C M Block
8. Hot Cha Cha (KY), J Graham, 124, P A Sims
9. Rinterval (IRE), P A Valenzuela, 124, E R Reed
10. Striking Dancer (KY), R Albarado, 124, K G McPeek
11. Acoma (KY), A Garcia, 124, D M Carroll