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A field of 11 juvenile fillies will try for Grade 1 glory this Friday in the 68th running of the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. The event is one of two major highlights on Opening Day at the historic race track in Lexington, KY.
Trainer Mark Casse is seeking his fourth win in this event with the likely favorite Perfect Alibi. The Sky Mesa filly won back-to-back graded stakes races at Saratoga this summer, the Adirondack (G2) and the Spinaway (G1). She also won her debut, a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs, before running second in the Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park. Red-hot jockey Jose Ortiz will have the mount from post 7.
The winner of the Darley Alcibiades Stakes will receive an automatic position in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (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 Gone Glimmering – After two straight dominating wins at Indiana Grand, it’s time for her to move up the ranks and give graded stakes company a try. She was a 4-length winner on debut in a maiden special weight before defeating allowance company by 2 1/2 lengths in her next start. Her pedigree suggests that this stretch out in distance could be right up her alley, which could help ease the class jump.
#2 Three D Flag – Her debut did not go well when she tried turf, but she won last time out when she switched to dirt. Both of her starts came at Ellis Park, with her victory coming in a maiden special weight going 7 furlongs. In that win, she was able to get out to the early lead, something that she’ll likely do again from this inside draw.
#3 Spitefulness – This filly will move back to the dirt after running second last time out in the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes over the Arlington Park synthetic surface. She has not finished outside of the money in three synthetic starts, but she was seventh in her only dirt start, the Ellis Park Debutante Stakes. She did not break well in that race, though, which could explain her poor showing.
#4 Alandra – With just one race under belt, she will take on Grade 1 company. That one race was impressive, though; she won a 7-furlong maiden special weight at Saratoga by a 1/2-length. Her pedigree hints that she should love going two turns, and Joel Rosario will once again have the mount, which is a good sign.
#5 Micheline – She will make her dirt debut after running twice on grass, but the good news is that both of her starts were around two turns. That could give her an advantage over her rivals in this spot, and her pedigree indicates that she should handle dirt. Last time out, she broke her maiden in the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park by nearly 2 lengths.
#6 British Idiom – This Brad Cox trainee was one of the most impressive maiden-breakers at Saratoga this summer. In her only start, she cruised to a 3 1/2-length victory in a maiden special with Javier Castellano aboard, who will ride her again here. Her connections entered her in last month’s Pocahontas Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs, but they scratched her in favor of this spot.
#7 Perfect Alibi – There is no question why this filly headlines the field. She has won three of four starts, including the Adirondack Stakes (G2) and the Spinaway Stakes (G1) in her last two starts. In both of those efforts, she showed a tremendous turn of foot down the stretch, wearing down her opponents. Mark Casse has won this race three times and has a big shot to add to that here.
#8 Heir of Light – It will be a quick turn-around for a filly who just won a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs on September 13. That race was contested at a mile, which might bode well for this slightly longer event. Norm Casse was part of several big victories at this track with his father, Mark, but this would be the biggest win of his career since going out on his own.
#9 Sequin – Another filly who will be trying the dirt for the first time, she will also be trying to win for the first time. She was only a neck away from doing so on debut, finishing second in a maiden special weight at Saratoga. Last time out, she was within a 1/2-length of winning at the same level at Kentucky Downs. If she takes to the dirt, then her speed figures are good enough to compete with this group.
#10 Western Taffy – She’ll make her dirt debut after racing over Woodbine’s synthetic and turf surfaces. Her debut came on the synthetic, which she won by 1 3/4 lengths against maiden special weight company. Next, she moved to the turf for the Catch a Glimpse Stakes, where she was a solid second. Now, the Ontario-bred will give the dirt a try while also moving up in class.
#11 How Ironic – Yet another filly making her first dirt appearance, she was able to capture a maiden special weight on debut over the lawn at Indiana Grand before finishing fourth in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint last time out. From a pedigree standpoint, this filly could like the dirt, and two turns should be definitely within her realm.
The Darley Alcibiades Stakes serves as one of 16 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:
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.
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