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Wide Open Alcibiades Tops Keeneland’s Opening Day

Twelve 2-year-old fillies set to vie for graded stakes win and Breeders’ Cup berth.

As the Keeneland fall meet gets underway Oct. 8, the 2-year-old stakes competition continues to ramp up. Scheduled for opening day on Fall Stars Weekend is the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1), which drew a wide open field of 12 juvenile fillies set to race 1 1/16 miles.

All 12 entries will be looking for their first graded victory and a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 5 at Del Mar that will be available to the winner of the Alcibiades, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race.

Brad Cox, the Eclipse Award-winning trainer of 2020, won the Alcibiades in 2019 with British Idiom , who went on to win the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park and claim champion 2-year-old filly honors. He has two Ellis Park maiden winners entered for Friday’s race: Godolphin’s Matareya  and Albaugh Family Stables’ Juju’s Map .

Matareya, by Pioneerof the Nile, is a homebred out of 2016 Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) winner Innovative Idea  (by Bernardini). She won on debut racing 6 1/2 furlongs Aug. 20, leading throughout to post a 4 1/2-length victory.

“We have always thought highly of her,” Cox said.

Juju’s Map broke her maiden second time out when stretched to a mile Sept. 3, setting the pace and drawing away to win by 5 3/4 lengths. Albaugh Family, with Barry Berkelhammer as agent, purchased the Liam’s Map   filly for $300,000 from the Woods Edge Farm consignment at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. 

“Juju’s Map, I like her a lot,” Cox said. “She is a little more seasoned than Matareya, and she has won at a mile.”

Three fillies in the field come with black-type wins. 

James McIngvale’s homebred Runup , a Maryland-bred daughter of Runhappy  , captured the one-mile Sorority Stakes Sept. 6 at Monmouth Park, leading at every point of call to win by three lengths. That victory came off a waiver maiden claiming score Aug. 13 at Pimlico Race Course in her second start.

StarLadies Racing and Glen Hill Farm’s Miss Interpret  won her maiden on dirt in her third start, then took the off-the-turf P. G. Johnson Stakes Sept. 2 at Saratoga Race Course. Todd Pletcher trains the Street Sense   daughter, who rallied from last of four in the P. G. Johnson to win by 1 1/2 lengths.  

Diamond Wow , a Lookin At Lucky   filly, is undefeated in two starts at Gulfstream Park. She was a 1 3/4-length winner of the Sept. 18 Our Dear Peggy Stakes, which was moved from a mile on turf to seven furlongs on the main track. Patrick Biancone trains and co-owns the filly with Diamond 100 Racing Club and Amy Dunne. 

The field also includes Mama Rina , who rallied to finish a distant second in the Sept. 18 Pocahontas Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs going the Alcibiades distance. One race earlier, the Gormley   daughter broke her maiden in her second start racing the same distance at Ellis Park July 30. Mama Rina is trained by Kenny McPeek, a five-time Alcibiades winner who saddled Simply Ravishing  to victory in the race a year ago. McPeek trains Mama Rina for Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman, Paul Braverman, and Magdalena Racing.

McPeek also has Milam Farm’s Penny Saver  for this year’s Alcibiades. The Super Saver   filly was a 9 1/2-length winner racing 1 1/16 miles on Churchill Downs’ main track Sept. 24. Her win followed a runner-up effort sprinting on dirt on debut and a fourth-place finish at 1 1/16 miles on turf.  

Sequist , Dream Lith , and Myfavoritedaughter  all have grade 1 experience. The first two ran fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Sept. 5 Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, while the latter was fourth in the Sept. 5 TVG Del Mar Debutante (G1).

Myfavoritedaughter, trained by Jeff Engler for Average Joe Racing Stables, made her first three starts at Gulfstream Park before traveling to Del Mar. In her third outing, a seven-furlong, off-the-turf maiden race, she left her three rivals far behind in a 25-length romp. 

“She’s ready; I think she will run big,” Engler said. “She has had two works at Churchill (since the Del Mar Debutante) and her last breeze (a :47 2/5 half-mile Sept. 29) was exceptional.”

Maiden winner Pipeline Girl  switches back to the dirt after running third in an allowance optional claiming on the turf last out. The maiden Distinctlypossible , second in her lone start at Saratoga, completes the field.

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