Keeneland

Keeneland's Day at the Races: Breeders' Cup preparations picking up speed

Keeneland Race track.
Keeneland Race track.

Wednesday's figures: On-track attendance, 9,411; on-track betting, $509,593; total betting including simulcast, $3,791,501.21.

This day last year: On-track attendance, 7,901; on-track betting, $486,399; total betting including simulcast, $4,421,974.

Coming up: Stakes racing returns Thursday as a field of 11 has been entered for the Grade III, $100,000 Sycamore Stakes going 11/2 miles on the turf. Multiple graded stakes winner Divine Oath seeks to halt a six-race losing skid.

Final furlong

■ Following a short van ride from trainer Maria Borell's base at The Thoroughbred Center north of Lexington on Wednesday morning, James McIngvale's Breeders' Cup Sprint candidate Runhappy arrived at Keeneland and worked 5 furlongs in a blistering :57.80 from the gate. With exercise rider Marcus O'Donnell up, Runhappy posted splits of :12.2, :23.2, :34.6, :45.8 and :57.8 with a gallop-out in 1:10.6.

"He did it so easy, what can you say? I thought he went brilliantly," Borell said. "The thing with this horse is, he moves so easy. His stride lengthens ... he's hard to tell how fast he's going and you've got to get used to him, because he lengthens his stride so long."

With Edgar Prado aboard, Runhappy broke flat-footed and had his saddle slip but still drew off to win the Grade III Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 2. The son of Super Saver has won four straight heading into the Breeders' Cup including a victory in the Grade I King's Bishop Stakes on Aug. 29.

■ Julien Leparoux booted home three winners Wednesday to pull into a tie with Corey Lanerie for the lead in the jockey standings with nine wins apiece. Leparoux won the third, fourth and sixth races while Lanerie took the nightcap aboard Runway Blvd.

■ Last at the head of the stretch in the field of six, G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Annulment circled her rivals from the far outside to win the featured $62,000 Magdalena Purse for fillies and mares by 11/4 lengths. Trained by Vicki Oliver and ridden by Robby Albarado, Annulment covered the 11⁄8 miles on a turf course labeled good in 1:50.45.

■ Trainer Arnaud Delacour said a second set of bandages are scheduled to come off Thursday from a cut sustained by Lael Stables' Ageless in her victory in last Friday's Buffalo Trace Franklin County. "We probably have to come up with a game plan tomorrow," Delacour said regarding a possible start in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on Oct. 31. "The leg is as good as it gets. It depends on what it looks like." Ageless suffered a deep cut below her left hock in the run down the backstretch in the 5½ -furlong race and has been at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

ALICIA WINCZE HUGHES

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