You know its autumn when Keeneland Race Course opens.
Opening day of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall meet features two graded stakes races, highlighted by the 68th running of the $400,000 Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The field of 11 is set for race 9 of the 10-race card and has an approximate post time of 5:30 p.m. ET, with the winner receiving an automatic berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Friday, Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
#8, Heir of Light, Julien Leparoux, 5-1
Heir of Light comes into today’s race, coming off a ½ length victory as the second choice in a $95,000 maiden special weight race going a mile at Churchill Downs on Sept. 13. In that race, she led from the ¼ pole on and held off Beautiful Trauma and Tempers Rising down the stretch for his first career win. In her debut, she placed third behind Wasabi Girl and Tempers Rising in a $50,000 maiden special weight at Ellis Park on Aug. 9. I like the fact Leparoux comes back for his second straight start. I like the fact that trainer Norm Casse gets a chance to defeat his dad’s morning-line favorite in Perfect Alibi. And guess what? I like her chances. The pick.
#7, Perfect Alibi, Jose Ortiz, 5-2
She will be a tough one to beat, winning three of her last four races, including two straight graded stakes in the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes by a 1/2-length over Frank’s Rockette on Aug. 4 and a 1 1/4-length victory over again Frank’s Rockette (Lepraoux by the way) and Figure of Speech in the $350,000 Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 1. She is on a roll right now, but she has won at 5, 5 ½, 6 ½ and 7 furlongs, will she like the extra distance for trainer Mark Casse in her first two-turn opportunity? We shall see. Runner-up.
#5, Micheline, Brian Hernandez, Jr., 8-1
Micheline won her second career start by 1 ¾-lengths in the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 1 and in her debut finished third in a $90,000 maiden special weight at Saratoga on Aug. 11. She is the only starter in today’s race to have experience and winning a two-turn race. That will play huge for trainer Michael Stidham, who will go with the solid Brian Hernandez, Jr. aboard, the third such change he has made thus far with Micheline. Contender.
#4, Alandra, Joel Rosario, 5-1
Alandra had a very successful debut, winning a $90,000 maiden special weight over seven furlongs by a 1/2-length over Slam Dunk and Day Dayenu at Saratoga on Sept. 1, with Joel Rosario aboard. The footnotes on Alandra’s performance that day in the Equibase chart ended with ‘dug in with good courage through it all and got the job done’. Guess who returns to the saddle today? Rosario. A good sign. In the mix.
By Lou Monaco