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TVG's Emily Shields guides us through this weekend's action at Keeneland

The annual Fall Stars weekend at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky kicks off Friday with two major Breeders’ Cup prep races, and continues Saturday and Sunday with ten major stakes races total.

Friday’s stakes are the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) for two-year-old fillies and the $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) for older sprinters. Both are Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In events.

Defending champion Promises Fulfilled takes on popular Whitmore and fast three-year-old Hog Creek Hustle in the Phoenix, a six-furlong dash on the main track. Also in with a shot is Recruiting Ready, fresh off a victory at Churchill Downs, and 50-1 outsider Lexitonian, who has already won two stakes races this year.

In the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades, Perfect Alibi is a 5-2 choice. Mark Casse trains the filly, who is already a grade 1 winner and is three for four lifetime. Jose Ortiz will ride.

Saturday’s blockbuster cards starts with the $200,000 Woodford (G2) at Race 6. Extravagant Kid was third in this race last year, and hasn’t been worse than second since then. Imprimis was a grade 2 winner over this course in April. Smart Remark, 5-1 on the morning line, has been steadily improving whenever he is on the grass.

The $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) is a sprint on the main track for fillies and mares. Grade 1 winners Spiced Perfection (7-2) and Mia Mischief (9-2) take on rivals like Chalon and Danuska’s My Girl. Both Spiced Perfection and Mia Mischief won their only tries over the surface, while Chalon has been second here three times.

The grade 1 First Lady worth $400,000 is Race 8. Chad Brown has a formidable pair here with Breeders’ Cup winner Rushing Fall (9-5), who is unbeaten in four starts on this turf course, and Uni (4-1), who was a grade 1 winner in California last year and was most recently third over some of the best males in the division at Saratoga. She has won half her 16 starts lifetime. Offering some value is Vasilika at 5-1; the California shipper has won 13 of her last 15 starts and has earned over $1.5 million.

The Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for two-year-old colts has the Tapit son Tapi It to Win for Mark Casse. He broke his maiden at Saratoga after debuting on the grass at Woodbine. The Curlin son Ajaaweed comes in off a mile maiden victory at Belmont Park for Kiaran McLaughlin, and Joel Rosario is coming in to ride.

The day is rounded out by the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) with defending champion Next Shares at 8-1 on the morning line. He hasn’t won since January, but has faced some of the best horses all across the country. Bandua is 6-1 and was most recently third in the Arlington Million (G1) going much further. Valid Point for Chad Brown is uneabten in three starts and 5-1 morning line.

Sunday’s card has the $500,000 Spinster Stakes (G1) featuring top filly Dunbar Road, defending champion Blue Prize, grade 1 winner She’s a Julie, and the mighty Elate, who could use this as a springboard to the Breeders’ Cup Classic against males.

Emily Shields for TVG


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