News and notes by Keeneland’s publicity staff (Coady Photo of Four Graces winning Keeneland’s Beaumont):
TRACK RECORD-HOLDER FOUR GRACES RETURNS
FOR SATURDAY’S LEXUS RAVEN RUN
When last seen at Keeneland, Whitham Thoroughbreds’ homebred Four Graces showed her hooves to four rivals in the July 10 Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select in track-record time.
She will be back in action here Saturday when she faces nine rivals in the 22nd running of the $200,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) going 7 furlongs on the main track.
In the Beaumont, run over the Beard Course of 7 furlongs and 184 feet, Four Graces went to the front from post two and never trailed in posting a 4¾-length victory in 1:24.90 to break a five-year-old track record.
She will break from post two Saturday under Julien Leparoux, who has been aboard Four Graces for all four of her victories.
“She has been inside before,” trainer Ian Wilkes said. “I can’t change it.”
In her most recent start, Four Graces was hooked early in a speed duel and wound up finishing second in the Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 4.
“She came out of that race well and this (the Lexus Raven Run) was the next logical spot,” said Wilkes, who plans to bring Four Graces to Keeneland from Churchill a day or two before the race.
Four Graces has had four works since the Eight Belles, the last a bullet five-eighths in :59.20.
“That was a good work,” Wilkes said. “She finished strong and galloped out strong.”
Any thoughts of a possible run in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) going 7 furlongs here on Nov. 7 are on the back burner.
“Let’s get through this one first,” Wilkes said.
SIBERIAN IRIS TOPS FIELD OF SIX IN SUNDAY’S ROOD & RIDDLE DOWAGER
Calumet Farm’s Siberian Iris (IRE), second against the boys this summer in the San Juan Capistrano (G3) at Santa Anita, tops a field of six fillies and mares entered Thursday for Sunday’s 29th running of the $125,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3).
The 1½-mile grass test, the final stakes race of the Fall Meet, is scheduled as the eighth race on Sunday’s nine-program with a 4:57 p.m. ET post time. First post Sunday is 1:05 p.m.
Trained by Richard Mandella, Siberian Iris stayed at Keeneland following a fifth-place finish in the TVG Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 15. She worked a half-mile on Keeneland’s all-weather training track in :50.80 Thursday morning.
Florent Geroux will have the mount and break from post position five.
The unknown commodity in the race is Brownwood Farm’s Naomi Broadway (BRZ), who was supplemented into the race.
Trained by Paulo Lobo, Naomi Broadway made her U.S. debut Sept. 28 at Indiana Grand, where she finished third going a mile in her first start in more than 10 months. A Group 1 winner in Brazil with four other Group 1 or 2 placings, Naomi Broadway will be ridden by Joe Talamo and break from post six.
The field for the Rood & Riddle Dowager, with riders and weights from the inside, is: With Dignity (Julien Leparoux, 121 pounds), Blame Debbie (Manny Franco, 118), Over Thinking (Rafael Bejarano, 121), Always Shopping (Tyler Gaffalione, 121), Siberian Iris (IRE) (Geroux, 121) and Naomi Broadway (BRZ) (Talamo, 121).
PRINCESS GRACE CAN ANSWER MANY QUESTIONS
IN FRIDAY’S PIN OAK VALLEY VIEW
Susan and John Moore’s homebred Princess Grace, undefeated in two starts, will take a major step up Friday in the 30th running of the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) for 3-year-old fillies going
1 1/16 miles on the grass.
“We will find out a little bit more about her tomorrow,” trainer Mike Stidham said Thursday morning. “I scratched her out of the stakes at Pimlico (the Hilltop on Oct. 3) because the course was yielding and I didn’t want to run her over soft ground. That spot was a little more reasonable than this, but there are not a lot of options.”
In a field of 12 in the Pin Oak Valley View, Princess Grace will be the least experienced. She did not race until August at Colonial Downs and won again five weeks later at Monmouth Park. Both races were at a mile on firm ground.
She had been ready to run over the winter at Fair Grounds.
“She had a very, very minor issue; nothing serious,” Stidham said. “It slowed her up a bit but we gave her time to get over it and she has been fine since.”
Shaun Bridgmohan will be aboard for the first time Friday in the Pin Oak Valley View.
Stidham had two near misses Saturday in Grade 1 stakes run less than an hour apart, both for Godolphin.
Mystic Guide came up three-quarters of a length short of victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, and Micheline was beaten by the same margin here in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana.
“They are both back at Fair Hill (Training Center in Maryland),” Stidham said. “Micheline went back Tuesday. Mystic Guide … we are kind of looking over everything and looking at the field for the Breeders’ Cup, which is unlikely. The ($500,000) Clark (G1 on Nov. 27 at Churchill Downs) is a possibility.”
CROSS COUNTRY PICK 5 HIGHLIGHTS SATURDAY WAGERING OPTIONS
On Saturday, the Cross Country Pick 5 wager will feature racing action from Keeneland and Belmont Park in a wager hosted by the New York Racing Association.
The race order and approximate post times (ET) are as follows:
Leg 1 Keeneland race 7 (4:24 p.m.)
Leg 2 Belmont race 9 (4:47 p.m.): Floral Park Stakes
Leg 3 Keeneland race 8 (4:57 p.m.)
Leg 4 Belmont race 10 (5:20 p.m.)
Leg 5 Keeneland race 9 (5:30 p.m.): Lexus Raven Run (G2)
Free Equibase past performances for the Cross Country Pick 5 sequence are available for download athttps://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/cross-country-wagers.
The minimum wager for the Cross Country Pick 5 is 50 cents. Every week features a mandatory payout of the net pool.
FALL MEET LEADERS
Through Oct. 14 (9 days of 17-day season)
|M and M Racing (Mike Sisk)||6||3||1||0||$75,040|
|Susan and Jim Hill||8||2||1||0||$75,614|
|Three Diamonds Farm (Kirk Wycoff)||5||2||1||2||$87,300|
|Gary and Mary West||9||2||1||2||$92,140|