LEXINGTON, Ky. (October 4, 2019) – Each week, the NTRA will provide a guide to the best stakes races in North America and beyond. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern). Full previews when available can be found through the link for each race.
Keeneland kicks off its 17-day Fall Meet on Friday and features a front-loaded Fall Stars Weekend that boasts nine graded stakes and nine Breeders’ Cup qualifiers. Belmont Park hosts four qualifying preps on Saturday and Sunday while Santa Anita Park, host of this year’s Breeders’ Cup on November 1-2, offers one “Win and You’re In” race each on Saturday and Sunday.
NBC Sports will televise four of Keeneland’s Challenge Series races on two broadcasts. On Saturday, the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes and Breeders’ Futurity will be broadcast live on NBCSN from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, NBC will present a live broadcast of the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes and Bourbon Stakes during a show airing from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Belmont Park’s Breeders’ Cup qualifiers will be broadcast live on NYRA’s “America’s Day at the Races” show presented by America’s Best Racing, Runhappy, and Claiborne Farm airing nationally on FS2 and on various regional channels. The weekend hours on FS2 are Saturday from 2:30 to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
TVG will offer fans and bettors a weekend full of prep races for the Breeders’ Cup and will also include coverage of champion Enable’s bid to capture a third straight Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe from Longchamp on Sunday. Post time for the Arc is 10:05 a.m.
HRRN will broadcast live from Keeneland this weekend, beginning Friday from 5-6 pm ET on Sirius 219/ XM 201, Saturday from 4:00-6:30 p.m. on Sirius XM 156, and again on Sunday from 5-6 p.m. ET, on Sirius XM 156. Programs on both days also will be streamed live on horseracingradio.net.
Friday October 4
4:57 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland on TVG
Promises Fulfilled and Whitmore, who finished a head apart in last year’s Phoenix Stakes, will renew their rivalry as they headline a field of 11 sprinters for the 167th running of the race, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Owned by Robert Baron and trained by Dale Romans, Promises Fulfilled already has secured a Breeders’ Cup berth by virtue of his victory in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud Stakes at Belmont on July 6 and will attempt to become the seventh horse to win this race in consecutive years. Whitmore, who won the Phoenix in 2017, not started since an eighth-place finish in the Grade 2 True North at Belmont on June 7.
5:30 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland on TVG
Tracy Farmer’s Grade 1 winner Perfect Alibi heads a field of 11 2-year-old fillies entered for the 68th running of the Darley Alcibiades, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with the winner earning a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Juvenile Fillies. Trained by three-time race winner Mark Casse, Perfect Alibi debuted May 16 at Churchill Downs where she romped to a 9 1/2-length victory going five furlongs. Following a runner-up effort in the Astoria at Belmont Park, Perfect Alibi swept the Grade 2 Adirondack and Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga.
Saturday October 5
3:05 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Matron Stakes at Belmont Park on FS2 and TVG
Trainer Wesley Ward’s Karak will headline a field of six juvenile fillies in the Matron going six furlongs on turf. Karak will look to sustain Ward’s prolific record with 2-year-olds, entering a race restricted to her own gender for the first time in her career. The precocious bay filly debuted successfully over Belmont’s Widener turf course in May, beating a field of males by three lengths before shipping overseas to contest the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, where she also faced open company. The daughter of Karakontie (JPN) faded to finish 15th in the Windsor Castle over soft ground, but promptly rebounded upon returning stateside by taking the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth Park by 2 ½ lengths.
3:54 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Woodford Stakes at Keeneland on TVG
Breeze Easy’s Imprimis, winner of the Grade 2 Shakertown Stakes in April, headlines a field of 10 horses for the $200,000 Woodford. Following the Shakertown with Imprimis finished sixth in the Group 1 King’s Stand at Royal Ascot in England on June 18. Trained by Joe Orseno, Imprimis returned to the races September 7, finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs.
4:04 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Greenwood Cup Stakes at Parx on TVG
Graded stakes winner Marconi seeks his fifth victory in 2019 when he faces six rivals in the 1 ½-miles Greenwood Cup. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Marconi – a $2 million purchase out of 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale – took the Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational Stakes last time out at Belmont Park on September 7 and also captured the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational Stakes in June.
4:15 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park on FS2 and TVG
A Thread of Blue will turn back in distance for the Hill Prince, a nine-furlong inner turf test for sophomores. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, A Thread of Blue contested two-thirds of the inaugural Turf Trinity, winning the second leg, the $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational gate-to-wire at 1 3/16-miles ahead of his last-out fourth over good going in the 1 ½-mile Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont.
4:29 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on TVG
Spiced Perfection, winner of the Grade 1 Madison Stakes, and Mia Mischief, winner of the Grade 1 Humana Distaff in May, top a field of nine fillies and mares entered for the Thoroughbred Club of America, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that awards the victor a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint. Trained by Peter Miller, Spiced Perfection will be making her first start since finishing fourth behind Mia Mischief in the Humana Distaff. Mia Mischief, whose lone Keeneland start resulted in a 16¼-length maiden-breaking victory in 2017, comes into Saturday’s race off two off-the-board finishes at Saratoga.
4:50 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes at Belmont Park on FS2 and TVG
Channel Maker will attempt to repeat his 2018 victory when taking on a field of seven assembled for Saturday’s Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at 12 furlongs over the Widener turf course. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Channel Maker will attempt to become the first horse to win back-to-back editions of the Joe Hirsch since his sire English Channel won in 2007-08. One of three contenders sired by the 2007 champion turf male, Channel Maker enters off of a trio of fourth-place finishes, most recently in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational, where he finished 2 3/4 lengths back of the victorious Annals of Time.
4:59 p.m.—$125,000 Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine TVG
Trainer Mark Casse, who has won five of the past seven editions of the Mazarine Stakes, will have a trio of opportunities to add to his impressive total Saturday with charges Roman d’Oro, Skygaze and Special Honor. A bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Roman d’Oro heads into Saturday’s feature off a 2 ½-length maiden win on September 15 at Woodbine. Under Tyler Gaffalione, the Gary Barber silk bearer, who left the gate as the 5-2 favorite, led throughout the six-furlong main track race to notch the milestone victory.
5:04 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland on TVG
Rushing Fall, winner of four graded stakes in as many attempts at Keeneland, and eight-time graded stakes winner Vasilika, head a field of 14 fillies and mares entered for the one-mile First Lady Stakes, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and trained by Chad Brown, Rushing Fall captured the Grade 3 Jessamine Stakes as a 2-year-old at Keeneland in 2017 and last year won the Grade 2 Appalachian and Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes. This spring, the daughter of More Than Ready took the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes to tie her with Take Charge Lady for the second most stakes wins at Keeneland.
5:22 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on FS2 and TVG
A talented seven-horse field of juveniles will look to add their names to the impressive list of past winners of the Champagne, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Stronach Stables’ Green Light Go is the field’s lone graded stakes-winner, improving to 2-for-2 with a win in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes on August 10. Both of the Hard Spun colt’s starts have garnered 84 Beyer Speed Figures, including his debut win on July 4 at Belmont going 5 ½ furlongs. Stretching out to the Saratoga Special’s 6 ½ furlong distance, Green Light Go drew away from runner-up Noose and third-place finisher Tuggle.
5:39 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on NBCSN and TVG
Team Valor International and WinStar Farm’s Gouverneur Morris, a nine-length winner in the slop in his debut at Saratoga on September 2, heads a field of 10 for the Breeders’ Futurity, a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Trained by two-time race winner Todd Pletcher, Gouverneur Morris will be ridden by Javier Castellano and break from post position 10. Also figuring to draw support is Anderson Stables’ By Your Side. Winner of his first two starts that included a three-length triumph in the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga, By Your Side finished fifth in the slop in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes in his most recent start.
5:50 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Multiple graded stakes winner Selcourt seeks her first victory of 2019 when she faces a field of five challengers in the 6 ½-furlong L.A. Woman Stakes. Trained by John Sadler, Selcourt will be making her fourth start this year and first outing since running fourth in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile on March 30.
6:15 p.m.—$1,000,000 Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on NBCSN and TVG
Six Grade or Group 1 winners, including Suedois (FR) and Next Shares, the past two victors of the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile, are among an overflow field entered the 34th running of the race which is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile. Multiple group winner Suedois enters the Shadwell Turf Mile off a fourth-place finish September 14 in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Solonaway at Leopardstown in Ireland. Next Shares, who romped to victory last year at 23-1 odds, finished seventh in the Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs on August 31 in his first start in nearly four months.
7:25 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 City of Hope Mile Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Phil D’Amato, who sent out Cleopatra’s Strike and Acclimate to run one-two in last Saturday’s John Henry Turf Championship, hopes for a repeat result with Andesh and Prince Carl in the City of Hope Mile, which drew 11 entrants. Andesh, an Irish-bred gelding, won an overnight race at Del Mar last out despite being squeezed at the start of the one-mile grass test. Prince Earl rallied from sixth in a field of 10 to win the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap on August 18.
7:55 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Grade 1 winner Omaha Beach, who has not raced since having to miss the Kentucky Derby due to a throat ailment, is scheduled to return in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, a “Win and You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The race will be decided at six furlongs, a distance in which Omaha Beach will be making his debut, having last raced on April 13 in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on a sloppy track. Shancelot, a front-running son of Shanghai Bobby trained by Jorge Navarro, has won three of his four starts, and looms as the 4-5 morning-line favorite.
Sunday October 6
10:05 a.m.—Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on TVG
Superstar mare Enable (GB) will face 11 rivals and break from stall nine in her bid to win the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for a record third time at Longchamp on Sunday. The 12-runner field is the smallest number of runners in the Arc since Dylan Thomas denied Youmzain in a similar-sized running in 2007. Enable, the mount of Frankie Dettori, extended her unbeaten run to 12 races when landing the Yorkshire Oaks in August and has won ten Group 1 races for John Gosden and owner Khalid Abdullah.
4:12 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park on FS2 and TVG
Leonard C. Green and Jonathan Green’s Another Miracle headlines a talented field of six juveniles assembled for the Futurity, which offers an expenses-paid spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Trained by Gary Contessa, Another Miracle, with three starts, is the most experienced horse in the Futurity field, highlighted by a last-out score in the Skidmore on August 16 on the Saratoga turf.
4:35 p.m.—$200,000 Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland on TVG
Ten Broeck Farm’s Kimari, the dominating winner of Saratoga’s Bolton Landing in her most recent start, heads a field of nine entered for the Indian Summer Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that provides the winner a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint. Trained by Wesley Ward, Kimari debuted here on the main track April 25 with a 15-length victory. From there she went to Royal Ascot in England and finished second in a field of 25 in the Group 2 Queen Mary.
4:47 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park on FS2 and TVG
Champion Sistercharlie (IRE) will look to add another Grade 1 victory to her robust resume when she contests the Flower Bowl Invitational, a “Win and You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. The brilliant Sistercharlie, who has finished out of the exacta just once in her 13-race career and amassed $3.7 million in earnings, enters the Flower Bowl on an incredible string of five straight Grade 1 victories, which began in July of last year in the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga Race Course. The Peter Brant color-bearer has followed a nearly identical progression in the second half of 2019, beginning her truncated season with dominant wins in the Diana and Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes.
5:10 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland on NBC and TVG
Walking L Thoroughbreds’ undefeated Fighting Seabee and Three Diamonds Farm’s Field Pass, the 1-2 finishers in Saratoga’s Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes in August, head a field of 14 for the Bourbon Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that provides the winner a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Trained by three-time Dixiana Bourbon winner Kenny McPeek, Fighting Seabee won his debut going a mile on the turf at Ellis Park prior to his Saratoga triumph.
5:20 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park on FS2 and TVG
Quality Response will look to extend her winning West Coast ways into her first graded stakes contest, shipping her 2-for-2 record to New York as part of a seven-horse field in the Frizette, which will offer an all-fees paid berth to the $2 million Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies. It also serves as New York’s first prep race in the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks,” offering 10 qualifying points to the winner for the 2020 Grade 1 contest on May 1 at Churchill Downs. Quality Response surged onto the scene a 7 ¼-length winner against a 10-horse field in her debut on September 1 at Del Mar. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, the Quality Road filly handled the stretch out in distance to post a 5 ½-length score in her stakes debut next out in the Phone Chatter 18 days later at Los Alamitos.
5:45 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on NBC and TVG
Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize (ARG), who scored her biggest U.S. victory last fall in the Spinster, will face four rivals Sunday as she tries to become the fourth horse to win the $500,000 race in consecutive years. Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Spinster is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with the winner getting a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Distaff. Trained by Ignacio Correas IV, Blue Prize has won one of four races in 2019 with the victory coming in her most recent start in the Summer Colony at Saratoga. Among those lining up to face Blue Prize are Grade 1 winners Elate and Dunbar Road.
6 p.m.—$100,000 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
A field of 11 juveniles passed the entry box for the five-furlong Speakeasy, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.