Sunday, Oct. 11, Keeneland
The Low-Down: There's no shortage of horsepower at Keeneland for Sunday's time-honored Spinster, which attracted 11 distaffers in search of a half-million dollar purse. No single stakes has produced more Breeders' Cup champions than the Spinster, which boasts 10 alumnae to have won on championship day. With New York's Beldame and California's Lady's Secret already "in the clubhouse" by the time the Spinster is contested Sunday, it's last call for this year's premier Ladies' Classic division contenders.
Our Eyes: Swift Temper carries the biggest stick with her G1 Ruffian and G2 Del Cap wins this year and is proven at the top rung. After that, the Spinster cast has a much more decided Grade 2/3 feel about it, though European import Proviso is G1 placed from France. The exodus fleeing Zenyatta on the West Coast includes Dawn After Dawn, third in the G1 Vanity, and Champagne Eyes, overmatched twice by the champion this year.
Sophomore Be Fair and turf specialist Tizfiz break alongside one another and should provide the early targets, along with the California raider Champagne Eyes. Ginger Brew runs her best when up near the pace, but doesn't appear to have enough gas to make the front unless Johnny V is married to the idea and extends her early. Swift Temper won the Sixty Sails and Del Cap on the lead, but tracked with ease in the Ruffian last time out and figures to sit a patient trip, though jockey Robby Albarado has been known to get a horse involved early.
Forgive Bill Mott for wanting a do-over after the pill-pull for post positions. His uncoupled duo of Indescribable and Mushka must overcome the No. 10 and 11 posts. Mushka figures to get the worst of it as a horse who wants to be closer-up. Indescribable likely will take back under Julien Leparoux and work her way to the inside. The Mott duo holds the only real local Polytrack successes in the Spinster field.
Swift Temper might appear up against the surface question given her lack of experience, but her sire, Giant's Causeway, has produced more route winners on the Keeneland Polytrack than any other sire. And rider Albarado has a history of quick starts to the fall meetings in Lexington with a hot, opening-weekend hand.
Proviso is the wild card in all this, coming off a Group 3 win at Longchamp after finishing a better-than-it-looks third behind BC Mile heroine Goldikova in the Prix Rothschild. Her pedigree isn't quite as regal as some of her Juddmonte predecessors, but a fourth to eventual '08 Arc heroine Zarkava over 10.5 furlongs in last year's French Oaks ought to answer any class and distance questions.
Indescribable loves the track, comes off a solid win (vs. lesser) at Turfway and lures Julien Leparoux. She looks awfully strong on the bottom end of the gimmicks as one who will fire her best race. Finally, don't sleep on Teamgeist. The Argentine-bred certainly has a move in her, but she's not put it together at the right time in her two domestic attempts. With Calvin Borel closing from the rail, timing could be everything for her. Even with the Ken McPeek/Borel connections, you have to think she'll be left at a decent price.
The Bottom Line: I'll be keying Swift Temper on top in the trifectas over Indescribable and Teamgeist in the second and third spots.
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