A total of 13 automatic berths to next month's Breeders' Cup are on the line this weekend, with graded stakes action from Keeneland's opening weekend, Belmont Park and Santa Anita.
Friday's Keeneland card features the G2 Phoenix Stakes, a “Win and You're In” for the BC Sprint, as well as the G1 Alcibiades in which 2-year-old fillies will vie for a spot in the Juvenile Fillies championship. Limousine Liberal and Whitmore are the heavy hitters in the Phoenix, while First Samurai filly Bet She wins is the slight favorite in a well-matched bunch for the Alcibiades.
On Saturday, Keeneland offers four Breeders' Cup berths: the G1 First Lady to the Filly & Mare Turf, the G2 Thoroughbred Club of America to the Filly & Mare Sprint, the G1 Breeders' Futurity to the Juvenile, and the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile to the Mile.
Finley'sluckycharm is the heavy favorite in the Thoroughbred Club of America, though Bendable is very consistent and should be tough here. The First Lady appears to be a three-way battle between Roca Rojo, Dona Bruja and Dickinson, while the Breeders' Futurity is led by Free Drop Billy, second last out in the G1 Hopeful. The Shadwell Turf Mile features a sound field with stars like Miss Temple City, Mondialiste, Heart to Heart, and Divisidero, as well as Maker's 46 Mile winner American Patriot.
Up at Belmont Saturday, the G1 Champagne is a big field led by Curlin's Good Magic for trainer Chad Brown though the Todd Pletcher-trained War Front colt Hazit should also be tough in the “Win and You're In” for the BC Juvenile. The G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup features a berth to the BC Classic, and offers an interesting match-up between Suburban winner Keen Ice, his stablemates Destin and Rally Cry, and Smarty Jones Stakes winner Pavel, as well as Good Samaritan.
Santa Anita's Saturday card features the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, offering a berth to the BC Sprint. The race offers a rematch between Ransom the Moon and Roy H, as well as Baffert trainee American Anthem cutting back in distance and the New York-bred Giant Expectations.
Sunday at Belmont offers the G1 Frizette, a “Win and You're In” for the BC Juvenile Fillies, as well as the G1 Flower Bowl, a “Win and You're In” for the Filly & Mare Turf. The Frizette drew a field of 10 led by Candy Ride's Separation of Powers, and the Flower Bowl field features Ireland's Zhukova and Brown trainees Dacita and Grand Jete.
Keeneland's G3 Dixiana Bourbon Stakes Sunday offers a berth to the BC Juvenile Turf, while the G1 Spinster is a “Win and You're In” for the Longines Distaff. The Bourbon drew a field of 14 with no clear favorite in the lot, while the Spinster features a field of 13 led by Lockdown and New York-bred Bar of Gold.
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