Keeneland media notes: My Gal Betty tops Jessamine

Lightscameraaction, shown winning a maiden race at Ellis Park, returns to grass in Keeneland’s Jessamine Stakes. Coady Photography


William Werner’s My Gal Betty, fresh off a runner-up effort as the favorite in the Natalma (G1) at Woodbine on Sept. 16, heads a field of 14 2-year-old fillies and two also-eligibles entered Friday for Wednesday’s 28th running of the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2).

Run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine is the last of 10 Breeders’ Cup Challenge races this meet that provides the winner a fee-paid berth into the World Championships Nov. 2-3 at Churchill Downs. Wednesday’s winner will punch her ticket to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at a mile on Nov. 2.

Wednesday’s race will go as the seventh on the eight-race program with a 4:24 p.m. ET post time. First post time Wednesday is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by Roger Attfield, My Gal Betty won her first two on starts on Woodbine’s all-weather surface and on her first turf try won the Catch a Glimpse going 6 furlongs. The Natalma was run at a mile.

Javier Castellano will have the mount Wednesday and break from post position 13.

Looming as the main challenger to My Gal Betty is Fierce Scarlett, runaway winner of a 1 1/16-mile turf maiden test at Belmont in her previous start.

Trained by Chad Brown, who won the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine in 2013 with Kitten Kaboodle and last year with Rushing Fall, Fierce Scarlett is owned by the partnership of Long Lake Stable, Madaket Stables, Thomas Coleman and Doheny Racing Stable.

Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount on Fierce Scarlett and will break from post position 10.

The field for the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine, with riders and weight from the inside, is: Lucky Girasol (Agustin Gomez, 118 pounds), Zalia (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118), Speedy Solution (Jose Ortiz, 118), Concrete Rose (Jose Lezcano, 118), Lightscameraaction (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Pakhet(John Velazquez, 118), Princesa Carolina (Ricardo Santana Jr., 118), City Diva (Florent Geroux, 118), Moravia (GB) (Manny Franco, 118), Fierce Scarlett (I. Ortiz Jr., 118), Irish Willow (Robby Albarado, 118), Espresso Shot (Flavien Prat, 118), My Gal Betty (Castellano, 118) and MonkeysUncle (Julien Leparoux, 118). Also-Eligibles: No Mo Temper (Geroux, 118) and Belle Laura (Leparoux, 118).


Keeneland racing analyst Tom Leach talked to these trainers about horses they will saddle in Fall Stars Weekend stakes:

Kenny McPeek on Restless Rider in today’s Darley Alcibiades (G1), Signalman in Saturday’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Eskimo Kissesin Sunday’s Juddmonte Spinster (G1);

Wesley Ward on his Saturday runners: Undrafted in the Woodford (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select and Happy Like a Fool in the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2); and

Rusty Arnold on his Saturday runners: Borracho in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Awestruck in the Thoroughbred Club of America.


Trainer Chad Brown, who is rolling toward a fourth consecutive $20 million year in stable earnings, is ready to pick up where he left off last spring when he won four graded stakes here.

Brown has six runners entered in Saturday’s three Grade 1 races. Those horses arrived at Keeneland midweek under the care of assistant Whit Beckman.

The First Lady (G1) trio of 5-year-olds A Raving Beauty (GER), Quidura (GB) and 6-year-old Off Limits (IRE) are all multiple graded stakes winners as is the 6-year-old Almanaar (GB) in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

Almanaar will be joined in the Shadwell by Analyze It, the lone 3-year-old in the field of 14.

A winner of his first three starts, including a Spring Meet tally in the Transylvania (G3) here, Anaylze It has finished second in his next three starts, losing in photos each time.

“He made the lead so easy and then to get caught late was frustrating,” Beckman said. “This is a good spot and he has run well here before.”

Prior to the Shadwell Turf Mile, Brown will send out Standard Deviation in the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1). Standard Deviation will break from post position 14 in the
1 1/16-mile race.

“The 14 spot is not ideal,” Beckman said of Standard Deviation, who won his lone start by 2¾ lengths at Saratoga at 7 furlongs in a race taken off the turf.

“There had been a lot of rain at Saratoga, and he entered in case it came off the turf,” Whitman said. “He has breezed well on the dirt, and he’s a Curlin out of an A.P. Indy mare.”

Next week, Brown figures to have two major stakes players with Fierce Scarlett in the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) and Rushing Fall in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1).

Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last year, Rushing Fall is scheduled to arrive here Sunday, according to Beckman.


Gunpowder Farms’ Divisidero, a game fourth in last year’s Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), will try again in the same race on Saturday. The 6-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy is coming off a fifth-place effort in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) after taking the Arlington Handicap (G3) in July and finishing third in the Fourstardave (G1) in August.

Divisidero is trained by Kelly Rubley, a former school administrator who obtained her trainer’s license in 2014 after working as an exercise rider and assistant to others. She accepted Divisidero into her stable following last year’s Shadwell Turf Mile when his connections reasoned the horse would thrive in the tranquil setting of Fair Hill training center in Maryland where he can enjoy outdoor leisure time in a small paddock area.

“He goes out every day to have some fun before he trains,” Divisidero’s exercise rider, Pedro Nazaro, said Friday morning. “If the ground is dry, he will go in the paddock where he can eat some grass, but if it is too wet he will go in the smaller round pen.”

Divisidero’s conditioning alternates between gallops on Fair Hill’s all-weather track and the turf surfaces. In the afternoons, a handler takes him out again for 15 minutes of grazing.

In 21 career starts, Divisidero has a 6-3-4 record and has earned $1,317,019. When previously trained by Buff Bradley, he won such races as the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) twice and American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs.


Saturday’s 21st running of the $400,000 First Lady (G1) will feature a distinctive European flavor with Godolphin’s Crown Walk (GB) and Mr. P.K. Siu’s Indian Blessing (GB) crossing the pond for the 1-mile grass test.

The First Lady is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with the winner receiving a fees-paid berth into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) to be run at 1 3/8 miles at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.

“Grade 1s are hard to come by,” said Jimmy Bell, president of Darley America, before Crown Walk trained on the main track under Emile Eddaou. “She has raced at that level of competition and European form has held up well here.”

Crown Walk, the lone 3-year-old in the field of 10, has compiled a record of 4-2-2-0 on turf. In her most recent race, she was second in the Prix Rothschild (G1) at Deauville on July 29 on a course labeled good to soft.

“She has run well on soft and heavy ground and judging by driving around this morning, there is a pretty good chance of that tomorrow,” Bell said.

Trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, Crown Walk will be ridden by Mike Smith, who won the First Lady in 2001 with Spook Express (SAF) and in 2010 with Proviso (GB).

The 4-year-old Indian Blessing will be making her second U.S. start for trainer Ed Walker. She was third in the Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga in August. According to exercise rider Charles Guet, the lure of a Grade 1 was a big reason for the return to the States.

“There are not that many Grade 1s for fillies, and she has always been better the second part of the year,” Guet said. “So why not try again?”

Indian Blessing has trained two mornings here, and Guet says the filly is equally adept on firm or soft going.

“She doesn’t necessarily need soft footing,” Guet said the morning after overnight rain saturated Keeneland. “But I don’t think she wants it too heavy.”

Feargal Lynch will have the mount Saturday.


Under new management, Chalon has returned to Keeneland for a run in Saturday’s $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) for fillies and mares going 6 furlongs on the main track.

The race is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with the winner getting a fees-paid berth into the
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at 7 furlongs on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.

After finishing second in the TCA and Lexus Raven Run (G2) here last fall, Chalon went through the sales ring and was purchased by Lael Stables.

“Doug Cauthen, who is their racing manager, and I already liked her off the two good races she ran here last year,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said. “We bought her as a racing prospect and gave her the winter off because she had had a long campaign with a lot of shipping last year.”

Chalon returned to the races in April, winning a stakes at Laurel and also scoring in the Regret at Monmouth, both races at 6 furlongs. In between, she finished second in the Vagrancy (G3) at 6½ furlongs at Belmont.

“She ran two good races, but the race at Belmont may have been a bit too far,” said Delacour, who headed to Saratoga with Chalon for the summer.

“She got cast in her stall when we got to Saratoga and messed up her hock,” he said. “For four weeks we did nothing with her, just minimal walking.”

Chalon returned to the work tab at Delacour’s base at Fair Hill training center in early September and has logged four works for the TCA with her most recent being a bullet 5 furlongs in 1:00 on Sunday.

“She is doing good and breezed well over the weekend,” Delacour said. “Hopefully we can make up for the lost time in the fall.”


$100,000 BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY (G3) (Entries taken Sunday; race Friday, Oct. 12) – Brielle’s Appeal (trainer Al Stall Jr.), Girls Know Best (Eddie Kenneally), Miss Gossip (IRE) (Eduardo Caramori), Morticia (Rusty Arnold), Ruby Notion (Darrin Miller), Smiling Causeway (Arnaud Delacour). Possible: Goldwood (Alan Goldberg), Lady Alexandra (Graham Motion).

$500,000 QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP PRESENTED BY LANE’S END (G1) INVITEES (Entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, Oct. 13) – Beyond Blame (Brad Cox), Capla Temptress (IRE) (Bill Mott), Daddy Is a Legend (George Weaver), Fatale Bere (FR) (Leonard Powell), Mission Impassible (IRE) (Jean-Claude Rouget), Nyaleti (IRE) (Mark Johnston), Pollara (IRE) (Chad Brown), Princess Warrior (Kenny McPeek), Rushing Fall (Brown), Secret Message (Graham Motion).



 In selected races during Keeneland’s 2018 Fall Meet, grooms of racehorses determined to have the best overall appearance in the Saddling Paddock are recognized in a special ceremony before each race as part of the Best Turned Out Awards. The groups that sponsor some of Keeneland’s most important races will provide cash prizes ranging from $250 to $500.

 Today, representatives of Darley, sponsor of the Darley Alcibiades (G1), and Stoll Keenon Odgen, sponsor of the Phoenix (G2), will select horses in separate races throughout the day. Judges choose horses and grooms based on overall appearance as well as specifics such as the Thoroughbreds’ shiny hair, flowing tails and manes and the handlers’ neat attire.

“We are so grateful to our sponsors that present the Best Turned Out Awards,” Keeneland Sponsorship Director Bonnie Senft said. “They enjoy judging the horses in the Saddling Paddock and having the opportunity to honor their grooms – the unsung heroes who give such good care to the Thoroughbreds.”

On Saturday, Shadwell Farm will be sponsoring the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) for the 20th year. Shadwell’s participation includes Best Turned Out Awards throughout the day. Awards also will be handed out by the sponsors of the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).

Sunday’s Best Turned Awards will be presented by Juddmonte Farm, sponsor of the Juddmonte Spinster (G1), and Dixiana Farm, sponsor of the Dixiana Bourbon (G3). On Saturday Oct. 13, Lane’s End will present the award as part of its sponsorship of the Lane’s End Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1).

On Friday, Oct. 19, Pin Oak Stud will bestow the honor for the Pin Oak Valley View (G3) and races throughout the day. Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, sponsor of the Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3), will present a Best Turned Out Award on Sunday, Oct. 21. On closing day, Saturday Oct. 27, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute will make the presentations as part of its sponsorship of the Hagyard Fayette (G2) for races throughout the day.


Through Spring 2019

Keeneland Library exhibit “From the Vault: Historic Tracks.” This exhibit features 26 select images from the Library’s archive that showcase photographs from a variety of tracks from the early 20th century. Pioneering Turf photographers John C. Hemment and Charles Christian Cook are featured, with additional representation from Joel Clyne Meadors and Robert Lee McClure, among others. The Library is open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.

The online exhibit “Photo Treasures from the Keeneland Library” presents nearly 100 other historic images of U.S. racing facilities in its “Tracks Gallery.”

Saturday, Oct. 6

Sunrise Trackside. Thoroughbreds and their human connections begin the day well before sunrise. See what they’re up to during Sunrise Trackside, a free, family-friendly event with activities for all ages: Breakfast With the Works features breakfast for purchase and trackside commentary (7-8:30 a.m.) while racehorses train on the main track; children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7:30-9:30 a.m.); free guided Keeneland tours (7:30-10 a.m.); and Paddock demonstration with Asbury University Mounted Police (9 a.m.).

The Hill (weather permitting). As Keeneland’s designated tailgate lot, The Hill offers fans a jumbo screen TV to watch live racing and football, wagering, live music, local food trucks and free shuttles to the Grandstand.

The Keeneland Shop presents a trunk show with Christine A. Moore Millinery.

$350,000-guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four Presented by TVG on races 7-10: Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), First Lady (G1), Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

$250,000-guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Five Presented by TVG on races 6-10: Woodford (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select, Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), First Lady (G1), Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

Sunday, Oct. 7

Keeneland’s new Owner’s Experience Tour will make participants feel like racehorse owners. Before the first race, they will follow horses through the Saddling Paddock and Walking Ring then watch the race from the Winner’s Circle. Click here for more information about this tour and other Official Keeneland Tours.

The Keeneland Shop presents a trunk show with Christine A. Moore Millinery.

Jockey Autograph Signing. Meet jockeys competing during the Fall Meet, retired jockeys, Hall of Famers, history makers and Keeneland favorites and participate in an autograph signing to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Scheduled to appear along with current Keeneland jockeys are James Bruin, Mike Bryant, Jean Cruguet, Tony D’Amico, Carl Faulconer, Mike Manganello, Larry Melancon, Suzie and John Oldham, Shane Sellers, Mickey Solomone, Anthony Stephen, Bill Troilio, Kaoru Tsuchiya and Charlie Woods.

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Jennie Rees

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