Full Field in Search of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Spot Set for Alcibiades

Alcibiades-Stakes-Odds-USRThree Chimneys Farm and Fern Circle Stables’ Restless Rider is the early 3-1 favorite for Friday’s 67th running of the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland. The Spinaway Stakes (GI) runner-up will face a full field in her attempt to secure her first graded stakes score, having previously captured the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs more than three months ago.

Additionally, the Alcibiades winner will secure a spot for herself in the gate for the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Churchill Downs and attempt to become the fourth winner of Keeneland’s signature event for juvenile fillies to go on and win on Racing’s Championship Day, joining Eliza (1992), Countess Diana (1997) and Silverbulletday (1998). The Alcibiades serves as the centerpiece of the opening-day program for the 17-day Fall Meet that runs through Oct. 27.

The rain from earlier in the week is expected to hang on through Friday’s opening-day program, so an off track is at least possible, if not likely. The temperatures will be warm, though, with highs reaching into the low- to mid-80s. First post time Friday for the 10-race program is 1:05 p.m. ET, with the Alcibiades set as the ninth race with a 5:30 p.m. post time.

Trainer Kenny McPeek, who has won the Alcibiades three times, sends Restless Rider out for her Keeneland debut, but the daughter of Distorted Humor has been training exceptionally well over the surface for the better part of a month and logged a nice bullet five furlongs in :59 2/5 on Sept. 22. Regular jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. again has the mount and the pair will break from post position three.

Bella Ciao, who is trained by co-owner Antonio Sano, broke her maiden Gulfstream Park before finishing fourth last out in the Spinaway at odds of 125-1. The daughter of Flatter has improved with each start and Luis Saez has the mount for the first time. A stalker type, she will break from post position 14, which may prove problematic for her preferred running style.

Impact Thoroughbreds and Madaket Stables’ Reflect, who is trained by California-based Keith Desormeaux, won at first asking in June at Santa Anita and then chased division standount Bellafina before finishing fifth in the Sorrento Stakes (GII) at Del Mar in early August. Reflect, who was sixth in the Spinaway last out, will be ridden by James Graham and is another with some eyebrow-raising works heading into this event. She will break from post position one.

Scott and Evan Dilworth’s Lady T N T makes her stakes debut after winning her last two in maiden and optional claiming/first level allowance company. The Joe Sharp-trained daughter of Justin Phillip will no doubt be part of the early pace under Corey Lanerie and has improved in each of her three career starts, so more improvement here can be expected.

John Oxley’s Catherinethegreat won the Schuylerville Stakes (GIII) at Saratoga prior to her wide and troubled Spinaway performance. The daughter of Uncaptured, who is trained by three-time Alcibiades winner Mark Casse, will likely be hustling to the front from post nine under jockey Julien Leparoux and she’s posted two impressive bullet works — one at Churchill and one over the Keeneland main track — since her last race.

Leading California trainer Peter Miller sends two runners to Keeneland for the Alcibiades — Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s Boujie Girl and Rockingham Ranch’s Kim K. Boujie Girl finish third behind Bellafina in the Sorrento Stakes and Del Mar Debutante Stakes (GI) in her last two after breaking her maiden in late July wearing an $80,000 price tag. Geovanni Franco will be in town to accept a return assignment on the daughter of Flashback and she will break from post position seven. Kim K, a $335,000 daughter of Will Take Charge, broke her maiden in her second start when winning the Barretts Debutante at Los Alamitos three weeks ago and will be ridden by her regular pilot, Heriberto Figueroa. She drew post position five.

The field for the Alcibiades, with jockeys and morning line odds, from the rail out is: Reflect (Graham), 12-1; Meadow Dance (Florent Geroux), 15-1; Restless Rider (Hernandez Jr.),  3-1; My Wynter Rose (Cory Orm), 30-1; Kim K (Figueroa), 12-1; Into Trouble (Jose Ortiz), 15-1; Boujie Girl (Franco), 6-1; Lady T N T (Corey Lanerie), 4-1; Catherinethegreat (Leparoux), 5-1; Malocchio (John Velazquez), 12-1; Somewhere (Tyler Gaffalione), 15-1; Abbo (Jevian Toledo), 30-1; Chocolate Kisses (Shaun Bridgmohan), 20-1; and Bella Ciao (Saez), 15-1. Also-eligiblesChampagne Anyone (Chris Landeros), 30-1; and Khairiya (Jack Gilligan), 30-1.

All starters will carry 118 pounds.

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.

She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law known as the “Borell Law.”

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.

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