An outstanding field of five females will battle this Sunday at Keeneland in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1). The race will be televised on NBC, with coverage starting at 4:30 PM ET.
Even with a small field, this could end up being the most exciting race of the weekend. The Bill Mott-trained Elate headlines the field, but she will have a strong challenge from 3-year-old sensation Dunbar Road and defending Spinster champion Blue Prize. Elate comes into the race off of a narrow defeat in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, while Dunbar Road is coming off of an impressive victory in the Alabama Stakes (G1). This will be her first start against older horses. As for Blue Prize, she also comes into this one off of a win at Saratoga in the Summer Colony Stakes.
The winner of the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes will receive an automatic position in the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of California will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
Here is a look at the full field:
#1 Dunbar Road – It will be fun to see if this 3-year-old filly can step up and take on older horses for the first time with success. She comes into this race with three straight victories and seems to be the number-one horse in her division. Two back, she dominated a lackluster Mother Goose Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park before picking up the biggest win of her career in the Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. Her rapid development bodes well for her chances here.
#2 Blue Prize – The defending champion is back to defend her crown. Last year, she won the Spinster by 3/4 of a length before finishing a solid fourth in the Longines Breeder’s Cup Distaff (G1). This year, she has hit the board in all four starts and picked up a win last time out at Saratoga in the Summer Colony Stakes. She’ll have to find a way to turn the tables on Elate, though, who has finished ahead of her twice this season.
#3 Vexatious – She scratched out of the Beldame Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park last week to give this race a try. After starting her career on dirt, she competed in several turf races before returning to the dirt in her last start. That race was the Summer Colony Stakes, where she went toe to toe with Blue Prize, losing by a neck. Dirt seems to be her best surface.
#4 She’s A Julie – This filly has had a very consistent 4-year-old season, hitting the board in all five starts. She kicked off her year with a win in the Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park before becoming a Grade 1 winner with a victory in the La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs. She is another one who must try to turn the tables on Elate, though, as she has finished behind her in two of her last three starts.
#5 Elate – This superstar mare is running better than ever at age 5, with three tremendous efforts in a row coming into this spot. She picked up her first win of the season in the Fleur De Lis Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs before dominating foes next time out in the Delaware Handicap (G2) for the second straight season. Last time out, she ran too good to lose, losing to Midnight Bisou in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1). With a win in this race, her connections may consider taking on the boys in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in her next start.
The Juddmonte Spinster Stakes serves as one of 15 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events this weekend at Keeneland, Santa Anita Park, and Belmont Park. Here is the full schedule for this coming weekend:
- Friday: The Darley Alcibiades Stakes (Juvenile Fillies) at Keeneland
- Friday: The Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (Sprint) at Keeneland
- Saturday: The Champagne Stakes (TVG Juvenile) at Belmont Park
- Saturday: The Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (TVG Juvenile) at Keeneland
- Saturday: The First Lady Stakes (Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf) at Keeneland
- Saturday: The Shadwell Turf Mile (TVG Mile) at Keeneland
- Saturday: The Thoroughbred Club of American Stakes (Filly and Mare Sprint) at Keeneland
- Saturday: The Santa Anita Sprint Championship (Sprint) at Santa Anita Park
- Sunday: The Flower Bowl Stakes (Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf) at Belmont Park
- Sunday: The Frizette Stakes (Juvenile Fillies) at Belmont Park
- Sunday: The Futurity (Juvenile Turf Sprint) at Belmont Park
- Sunday: The Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (Juvenile Turf) at Keeneland
- Sunday: The Indian Summer Stakes (Juvenile Turf Sprint) at Keeneland
- Sunday: The Juddmonte Spinster (Longines Distaff) at Keeneland
- Sunday: The Speakeasy Stakes (Juvenile Turf Sprint) at Santa Anita Park
The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events come to a close on Wednesday, October 9, with the running of the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland. That race will be a “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.