The Month Ahead: October 2013
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
The final run-up to the Breeders’ Cup begins in October. The last 17 BC qualifying races are scheduled for the first two weeks of the month. Eight of those races will be run at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, which will open its fall meet on October 4th. Keeneland, one of the jewels of North American racing, will have 17 stakes races, including six Grade 1 races, during its fall meeting. The Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile on opening weekend is expected to include reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan.
October is full of exciting stakes action and will be dominated by discussion about the upcoming Breeders’ Cup scheduled for Santa Anita Park on November 1st and 2nd.
Here is a closer look at the month ahead in thoroughbred racing:
This first Friday of the month brings opening day of the fall meeting to Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. The much-anticipated meeting will open with two Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. The winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades will earn a place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The Grade 3 Phoenix winner will qualify for the BC Sprint.
The month’s biggest day of racing will be opening Saturday at Keeneland. A total of five graded races and three Breeders’ Cup qualifying races are on the card at the historic track in Lexington. Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan is expected to start in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, a race he won last year during his championship campaign. The race is a qualifying race for the BC Mile. The Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity will earn the winner a trip to the BC Juvenile and the winner of the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America will qualify for the BC Filly and Mare Sprint. The Grade 1 First Lady for female turf runners and the Grade 3 Woodford for turf sprinters round out a huge day of racing at Keeneland.
The winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The race will serve as a significant prep for the BC Sprint, run less than a month later over the same distance and surface. The Grade 2 Arroyo Seco Mile at 1 mile over the turf will also be on the card.
The first Saturday of October at Belmont Park brings two opportunities for 2-year-olds to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup. The Grade 1 Champagne winner will earn a place in the BC Juvenile. Two of the last three winners of the Champagne have won the BC Juvenile, including last year’s Shanghai Bobby. Entry in the BC Juvenile Fillies will go to the winner of the Grade 1 Frizette. The Jamaica for 3-year-olds on the turf completes a tripleheader of Grade 1 stakes races in New York.
Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago tops its Saturday card with the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby for 3-year-olds on the turf.
The lone graded stakes races on the Indiana Downs 2013 schedule headline the day at the track in Shelbyville, Indiana. The Grade 2 Indiana Derby is expected to draw California shipper Holy Lute, who won the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar in his last start. The Grade 2 Indiana Oaks for 3-year-old fillies is also scheduled.
Sunday at Belmont Park will feature a doubleheader of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races for 2-year-old turf runners, the Grade 3 Miss Grillo for the fillies and the Grade 3 Pilgrim for colts. Winners of each will qualify for their divisions’ BC juvenile turf races.
Keeneland headlines its Sunday racing with the Grade 1 Spinster for fillies and mares. The winner will earn a place in the BC Distaff. The Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes for 2-year-olds will get the winner a spot in the BC Juvenile Turf.
The final Breeder’s Cup qualifying race in the United States will be the Wednesday feature at Keeneland. The winner of the Jessamine Stakes will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Two Grade 3 races over the Belmont Park turf will highlight Saturday racing in New York. The Athenia is for fillies and mares and the Knickerbocker is open to all horses 3-years-old and up.
The high-class racing at Keeneland continues with the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup over the turf course for 3-year-old fillies.
The final Breeders’ Cup Challenge race of 2013 comes at Woodbine in Canada with the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes, a turf sprint at 6 furlongs that will earn the winner a place in the gate for the BC Turf Sprint.
The Thursday card at Keeneland is capped by the Grade 3 Sycamore at 1 1/4 miles for older horses over the turf.
Remington Park in Oklahoma City has its annual card for state-breds. A total of seven races with combined purses of over $800,000 will be restricted to horses bred in the state of Oklahoma.
Keeneland has the Grade 3 Valley View for 3-year-olds over the turf.
Both New York and Maryland card races for state-breds. Laurel Park will be the host for the Maryland Millions, a series of nine races for Maryland-breds headlined by the Maryland Million Classic. New York has its day for state-breds at Belmont Park featuring seven races with total purses exceeding $1.1 million.
The 7-furlong Grade 2 Raven Run for 3-year-old fillies is the main event at Keeneland.
Closing day for the Keeneland fall meeting will have the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes for horses 3-years-old and up.
Belmont Park has a twin bill of Grade 3 stakes with the Bold Ruler at 7 furlongs and the Turnback the Alarm for fillies and mares.
Santa Anita Park cards its final graded stakes of the month with the Grade 3 Autumn Miss for 3-year-old fillies on the turf.
The $1 million Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International over the turf at Woodbine is one of the most prestigious stakes races run in Canada. The 1973 edition of the race was the final career run for Secretariat. The card at Woodbine will also have the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor for fillies and mares.
Enjoy and good luck this month!