Fatal Bullet seeks an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in the Phoenix.

Fatal Bullet seeks an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in the Phoenix.

Michael Burns

Fatal Bullet Takes Aim as Keeneland Opens

Fatal Bullet is taking aim at the grade III Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland.

Bear Stables’ Fatal Bullet, second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I), returns to a synthetic surface in the grade III Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland for its Oct. 9 opening-day program.

The 10-race card, which features the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I), begins at the special time of 2:15 p.m. EDT. Thereafter, first post will be 1:05 p.m. through Oct. 31.

For opening day, there are seven races that attracted full fields of 12. The others have 11, 10, and nine entrants.

Fatal Bullet, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Red Bullet out of the Regal Classic mare Sararegal, will make his Keeneland debut in the Phoenix. In the past, however, he has shown an affinity for synthetic surfaces, having won on Polytrack at Turfway Park and Woodbine and finished second on the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita Park, which hosted the World Championships last year.

All eight of Fatal Bullet’s wins—in 13 starts—have come on synthetics. If he wins the Phoenix on Polytrack, he would earn an automatic berth in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint because the Phoenix is a “Win and You’re In” event.

Reade Baker trains Fatal Bullet, who entered the 2008 Sprint off a victory in the Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) at Turfway.

In his last start Aug. 9 at Saratoga, Fatal Bullet faded early in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes (gr. II) on the dirt. In his only other start this year, Fatal Bullet won the Bold Venture Stakes at Woodbine July 19 in a sharp 1:14.90 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Regular rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva is named to ride Fatal Bullet in the six-furlong Phoenix at 118 pounds.

High weight in the Phoenix will be carried by Joseph Rauch and David Zell’s Capt. Candyman Can, one of two 3-year-olds in the 10-horse field. Capt. Candyman Can, trained by Ian Wilkes, has developed into a top-class sprinter after starting out on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year.

Capt. Candyman Can, a Kentucky-bred gelding by Candy Ride  out of the Storm Creek mare Stormy Way, won his last start, the grade I King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga, on a disqualification. Previously, he finished second in the Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga.

In his lone start on a synthetic surface—Polytrack at Arlington Park last year—Capt. Candyman Can finished sixth after a troubled trip in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III).  Since then, he has five wins around one turn.

Others in the field include Tom Durant’s Sing Baby Sing, winner of the 2008 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland, and Darley Stable’s Past the Point, who cuts back in distance after finishing sixth in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I), won by Rachel Alexandra.

Post time for the Phoenix Stakes, race eight on the program, is set for 5:45 p.m. The Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies follows as race nine.

Here’s the field for the Phoenix, with jockeys and weights:

1 Greeley’s Conquest  Jamie Theriot   118 pounds
2 Silver Edition   Shaun Bridgmohan  118
3 EZ Dreamer   Julien Leparoux  118
4 Capt. Candyman Can  Javier Castellano  122
5 Hamazing Destiny  Terry Thompson  116
6 Past the Point   Garrett Gomez   118
7 Fatal Bullet   Eurico Rosa Da Silva  118
8 My Pal Charlie   Robby Albarado  118
9 Formidable   Rajiv Maragh   118
10 Sing Baby Sing  Chris Landeros  118