By Margaret Ransom
Midnight Bisou has been retired. Swiss Skydiver is running in the Preakness (G1) on Saturday (Oct. 3). Nonetheless, Sunday’s $400,000 Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland is still a race of note with Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Shedaresthedevil the 7-5 favorite in a field of six fillies and mares.
Taking on older rivals for the first time, the 3-year-old upset winner over Swiss Skydiver in the Oaks is trained by Brad Cox and will be ridden by Florent Geroux in the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event with the winner earning a fees-paid berth in the BC Distaff (G1) on Nov. 7.
Owned by Qatar Racing, Flurry Racing Stables and Big Aut Farms, Shedaresthedevil is looking for a fourth straight victory entering the 65th edition of the 1 1/8-mile Spinster.
The race is a key prep for the BC Distaff; a year ago Blue Prize used the race as a springboard to winning the year-end championship race for the filly and mare dirt division and joined other winners of both races such as Inside Information, Bayakoa (twice), Sacahuista and Princess Rooney. Other recognizable names to have captured the Spinster include Horse of the Year Azeri, Take Charge Lady (twice), Banshee Breeze, Paseana, Glorious Song, Susan’s Girl (twice), Gallant Bloom, Lamb Chop and Doubledogdare.
Hall of Famers Ron McAnally and Shug McGaughey each lead the trainer standings with four winners; Laffit Pincay Jr. and Pat Day each rode five winners.
Grade 1 winner Ollie’s Candy ships in from the West Coast for trainer John Sadler to challenge the favorite and is 2-1 on the morning line off a second-place effort in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1) at Del Mar in her last start.
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The field, by post position, with jockey, trainer, odds:
$400,000 Spinster Stakes (G1) Odds
$200,000 Bourbon Stakes (G2), 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, turf
More Than Ready Juvenile winner Barrister Tom is coming off two grass wins when he faces 10 other juveniles in 30th edition of the Bourbon, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event for the BC Juvenile Turf (G1) on Nov. 6.
The Bourbon – an appropriate stakes name for one of the Bluegrass’ most popular industries – was initially contested as the Hopemont Stakes and was first run in 1991. It was renamed to the Bourbon County Stakes in 2003 to honor the Lexington-area county where many of the top thoroughbred Farms are located. The name was then shortened to the Bourbon Stakes when Woodford Reserve took up sponsorship in 2005 and the name has remained, though it has held different sponsors.
Champion Gio Ponti and two-time Breeders’ Cup runner-up (Classic, 2009; Mile, 2010) is probably the most famous winner of this race. Trainers Mark Casse and Todd Pletcher have each sent out four winners; jockey Julien Leparoux has been aboard four winners The Bourbon, by post position, with jockey, trainer, odds:
$200,000 Bourbon Stakes (G2) Odds
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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.