Keeneland Communications October 6, 2021
Scheduled as Saturday’s eighth race with a 4:44 p.m. EDT post time, the First Lady is a win-and-you’re-in race for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Del Mar on Nov. 6.
Trained by Charles Appleby, the Great Britain-bred Althiqa already was multiple group-placed in Europe as well as a Group 2 winner in the United Arab Emirates before coming to North America, where she took the Just a Game (G1) at Belmont in June and the Diana (G1) in July at Saratoga.
Althiqa will be ridden Saturday by Jamie Spencer and will exit post 3.
She will have to contend with another European invader in the Aidan O’Brien-trained Empress Josephine.
Ireland-bred Empress Josephine has made her last four starts in Group 1 company and won the Tattersalls Irish One Thousand Guineas. John Velazquez has the mount Saturday from post position 2.
Leading the U.S. contingent are Harvey’s Lil Goil and Princess Grace.
Trained by Bill Mott, Harvey’s Lil Goil won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland last fall and followed that with a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, where she was defeated by a neck.
A winner in one of four starts in 2021, Harvey’s Lil Goil will be ridden by Junior Alvarado from post position 8.
Princess Grace, a four-time graded stakes winner, has won six of seven career starts for trainer Mike Stidham and enters the First Lady off a victory in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3) on Sept. 11.
Kent Desormeaux has the mount on Princess Grace, who will start from post position 10.
Trainer Chad Brown, who has saddled the last three First Lady winners and four overall, will be represented by three runners: Viadera, Regal Glory and Blowout.
Viadera, a three-time graded stakes winner in the U.S., comes into Saturday’s race off a victory in the Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga. Florent Geroux has the mount Saturday and will leave post position 13.
Regal Glory, a multiple graded-stakes winner, captured the De La Rose at Saratoga in her most recent start. Jose Ortiz will ride Saturday and exit post position 6.
Blowout, who figures to be the pacesetter, is 1-for-2 in 2021, with the victory coming in the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) at Churchill on May 1. She was fourth in the Fourstardave (G1) against males at Saratoga. Blowout will start from post position 9 and be ridden by Flavien Prat.