Judy the Beauty worked Sept. 27 at Keeneland

Judy the Beauty worked Sept. 27 at Keeneland

Keeneland Photo

Champion Judy the Beauty Back in TCA Stakes

Past two TCA Stakes winners, Leigh Court and Judy the Beauty, to meet Oct. 3.

When owner-trainer Wesley Ward decided to race champion female sprinter Judy the Beauty one more season this year, the goal was always to get back to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I) which this year will be contested at Keeneland—where Judy the Beauty is based—for the first time.

The final stretch of that plan begins Oct. 3 when 6-year-old Judy the Beauty, who last year's Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Park, preps for this year's Breeders' Cup in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. II), a six-furlong test for fillies and mares 3 and older.

Judy the Beauty has been lightly raced this season with just two starts under her belt, a close second to Dame Dorothy in the Humana Distaff Stakes (gr. I) in May at Churchill Downs and a third in the Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. I) in late July at Saratoga Race Course. Ward said the daughter of Ghostzapper  is thriving at Keeneland, where she worked four times in September, earning three bullets.

"That's her home track. She has been training there her whole life, Ward said. "I kind of held back and waited for this meet to come up and I'm really excited about what's going to happen here—or hopefully what's going to happen here this week and also for the Breeders' Cup."

Though Judy the Beauty will be starting on the Keeneland dirt (installed before last year's fall meet) for the first time, she is undefeated in four starts at the Lexington track on its former Polytrack surface, including scores in last year's Madison Stakes (gr. I) and the 2013 TCA.

"She's a 6-year-old mare, and more likely than not with anybody else training her or owning her, they would've made the decision to retire her," Ward said. "But I made the decision to sort of continue on based on the Breeders' Cup being at her home track of Keeneland where she's trained since when she was purchased as a yearling and then trained from a 2-year-old until now.

"So I just kind of feel like I've got a home-court advantage, and she's undefeated at Keeneland and hopefully remains that way."

Judy the Beauty is not the only previous TCA winner in the expected field of eight fillies and mares as Leigh Court is back after her three-length score last year. Like Judy the Beauty, Speedway Stables' Leigh Court is winless this season in two starts but ran well in each of them, finishing second in the Royal North Stakes (Can-III) on the Woodbine turf and, most recently, second in the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (gr. II) Sept. 7.

After last season Leigh Court was sold by owner-breeder Eugene Melynk for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale to Speedway Stables. She was moved from trainer Josie Carroll to Mike Stidham, who likes how the 5-year-old daughter of Grand Slam is coming into Saturday's sprint.

"Obviously, she ran two strong races coming into this," Stidham said. "In actuality, she ran two of her best numbers in those races, so she's running up to her potential and has been unlucky not to win both. We're hoping that she will run well coming back to Keeneland, a track we know she likes. She's on schedule for the Breeders' Cup."

The TCA Stakes is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" to the Filly and Mare Sprint

Entries: Thoroughbred Club of America S. (G2)

Keeneland, Saturday, October 03, 2015, Race 6

  • Grade II
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $250,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:00 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Heykittykittykitty (OK)Ricardo Santana, Jr.120Ron Moquett-
22Desert Valley (KY)Robby Albarado118Joe Sharp-
33Judy the Beauty (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateMike E. Smith120Wesley A. Ward-
44Sweet Whiskey (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux120Todd A. Pletcher-
55Leigh Court (KY)Victor Espinoza120Michael Stidham-
66Spelling Again (PA)Shaun Bridgmohan122Brad H. Cox-
77Fioretti (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateSophie Doyle120Anthony J. Hamilton, Jr.-
88Brown Eyed Mary (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie120Murat Sancal-