Spring in the Air captures Keeneland's Darley Alcibiades

awincze@herald-leader.comOctober 5, 2012 


    Keeneland Fall Meet

    When: Oct. 5-27. Gates open at 11 a.m. Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m.; races are run approximately every half hour. Closed Mon., Tue.

    Where: Keeneland Race Course, 4201 Versailles Rd.

    Tickets: $5 general admission, free for children 12 and younger

    Learn more: (859) 254-3412. Keeneland.com.


    Oct. 5-7: Fall Stars Weekend. Keeneland's richest weekend of racing, featuring nine stakes races worth more than $3 million in total purses.

    ■ $175,000 Stoll Keenon and Ogden Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 5.

    ■ $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1). 5:21 p.m. Oct. 5.

    ■ $150,000 Woodford Stakes. 3:13 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). 3:45 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $350,000 First Lady (G1) stakes. 4:17 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $400,000 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (G1). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). 5:21 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $150,000 Bourbon Stakes (G3). 4:17 p.m. Oct. 7.

    ■ $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 7.

    Oct. 11: $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 12: $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes. 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 13: $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1). 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 18: $100,000 Sycamore Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 19: $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3). 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 20: $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2). 5:27 p.m.

    Oct. 21: $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes. 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 27: $150,000 Fayette Stakes (G2). 5:21 p.m.


    Highlights of the fall meet

    Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26: Friday Happy Hour. 5 p.m.-midnight. Paddock. Live music by Roger BonDurant (Oct. 5), Willie Eames (Oct. 12), American Trio (Oct. 19) and Chris Campbell Duo (Oct. 26); simulcast racing from Santa Anita, Golden Gate and Hawthorne.

    Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27: Sunrise Trackside. Activities before racing starts.

    ■ Breakfast With the Works. 7-8:30 a.m. Equestrian Dining Room. $7, free for kids 3 and younger. Trackside show-and-tell with farrier Hans Albrecht.

    ■ Children's activities. 7-9 a.m. Visit the Kids Club Corner and meet Buckles, the Keeneland mascot. Free activities and crafts with the Explorium of Lexington adjacent to the Equestrian Dining Room.

    ■ Tours. 8:30-10:30 a.m. A new event gives fans a walking tour of Keeneland with guides throughout the grounds.

    ■ Paddock demonstration. 8:45 a.m. Saddling paddock. Live educational equine demonstration by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital (Oct. 6, 13), Old Friends equine retirement facility (Oct. 20) and Mustang Troop (Oct. 27).

    ■ Photos with Bucky the Bugler. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Paddock area.

    ■ Handicapping seminar. 11:30 a.m. Trackside.

    ■ Jockey Q&A. 12:05 p.m. Walking Ring.

    Oct. 10: Make-a-Wish Day. All day. Nine Make-a-Wish Foundation children present trophies.

    Oct. 10: Wine, Women and Shoes. 5-9 p.m. Keene Barn and Entertainment Center. Shopping marketplace, wine, fashion show by Saks Fifth Avenue Cincinnati. $100-$150; benefits Lexington Cancer Foundation. 1-888-388-2620. Winewomenandshoes.com/lexington2012.

    Oct. 11: Race for Education. All day. Learn about scholarships from the organization.

    Oct. 12: College Scholarship Day. All day. Free admission to college students with ID, live music, giveaway of 10 $1,000 scholarships.

    Oct. 12: Buffalo Trace Giveaway. All day. Enter to win a "VIP Experience" at the Frankfort distillery. Oct. 13: Bucky Sallee Salute. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Paddock area. Free photos and autographs with Keeneland's longtime bugler. Souvenir programs available.

    Oct. 13: Lexus Test Drive. 6:30- 9 a.m. Clubhouse parking area. Test-drive a Lexus.

    Oct. 14: Meet Plum Pretty. All day. Paddock area. Meet the 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner.

    Oct. 18: Jockey Autograph Signing. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Adjacent to Paddock. Jockeys will autograph $10 Jockey Colony prints. Proceeds benefit Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

    Oct. 19: See Blue Day. All day. Free general admission for UK students, alumni and faculty; activities for all Wildcat fans. Autograph signing with Denver Bronco and former UK star Jacob Tamme, UK cheerleaders and more, noon-3 p.m., North Terrace. UK/Keeneland tumblers available for $15; benefits UK's DanceBlue fund-raiser.

    Oct. 21: Military Family Day. All day. Free general admission for active and inactive military and their families with ID. Free food, live music and activities on North Terrace.

    Oct. 26: Fan Appreciation Day. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., North Terrace. First 3,000 patrons get a free sample of bread pudding.

    Oct. 27: Fashions on the Field. All day. Sales Pavilion. In a new event, top dressed patrons will vie to be named Keeneland's best dressed patrons after strutting their stuff in front of celebrity judges. Fashionattheraces.com.

Throughout their partnership which has yielded more than 80 stakes victories to date, trainer Mark Casse and jockey Patrick Husbands jokingly spar over which one pulls the most weight in the relationship.

"He calls me up all the time and says, 'I'm making you look good,' and I say, 'No I'm making you look good,'" Casse laughed Friday.

One thing both agreed upon in the aftermath of the Grade I Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland is that race victor Spring in the Air successfully made all parties look equally brilliant.

The first half of Casse's plan to keep his top juvenile fillies apart — and, thus, keep multiple owners happy — went off without a wrinkle Friday. One day before her stablemate Spring Venture competes in Woodbine's Grade III Mazarine, 4-to-1 favorite Spring in the Air rolled up on the outside path for a one-length triumph in the $400,000 Alcibiades before a Fall Meet opening-day crowd of 18,417 at Keeneland.

After Spring in the Air was defeated by Spring Venture in the Grade II Natalma over the Woodbine turf on Sept. 15, the main request from owner John Oxley was to put his filly on a path away from the fellow Casse trainee.

The 11⁄16-mile Alcibiades proved the perfect diversion for Spring in the Air as the daughter of Spring at Last advanced steadily on an outside path to earn her first graded stakes triumph and a likely trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park next month.

"She's starting to grow on me," Casse said of Spring in the Air. "When we bought her (at the 2012 OBS March 2-year-old sale), I told Mr. Oxley you wouldn't go buy her in a yearling sale because she's just very average looking. But she moves — on a scale of one to 10, she's a 10.

"The other filly is a little tougher to handle and we thought maybe bringing her to Keeneland might set her off a little bit. This filly is pure class, she doesn't care about anything."

Reuinted with Husbands, who rode the bay filly in her first two career starts before piloting Spring Venture last time out, Spring in the Air was about 8 lengths from the front heading into the lane as Magical Moon took over the lead after sitting off a half mile in :47.13.

Husbands angled his mount out and got a wicked response from just mild urging, hitting the wire in 1:44.33 with long shot Broken Spell two lengths clear of Magical Moon for second.

Spring in the Air broke her maiden over Woodbine's Polytrack by 101/4 lengths in August but Casse didn't feel shifting her form to dirt would be an issue.

"Honestly she'll do anything you want her to do," he said. "I ran her on the grass simply because there was nowhere to go."

In the day's other graded stakes, Tom Amoss trainee Sum of the Parts put himself in the discussion for a possible start in the Breeders' Cup Sprint when he earned a 11/4-length truimph in the Grade III, $175,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes.

The son of Speightstown won in gate-to-wire fashion under jockey Julien Leparoux, stopping the teletimer in 1:09.88 going 6 furlongs for his first graded score in 10 career starts.

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com.

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