A full field of 14 was entered in Saturday’s $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) on Saturday for Keeneland’s opening weekend, and last year’s winner returns for another go at the eight-furlong affair, which is a “Win & You’re In” Challenge race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
Miss Temple City beat the boys by a head in the 2016 Shadwell Turf Mile, and returned next out to miss by only 2 1/2 lengths when fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park. The Graham Motion trainee closed out 2016 with a nose victory in the Matriarch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar on December 4, and didn’t return to competition until June.
For the second year in a row, Miss Temple City shipped overseas for Royal Ascot, but unlike her nice fourth in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (Eng-G2) last year the dark bay mare found herself a well-beaten 13th in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-G1) on June 20. The five-year-old daughter of Temple City wasn’t given much of a break following that experience, returning July 20 at Monmouth Park to finish third in the Matchmaker Stakes (G3) and got back to her winning form with a neck score in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (G3) last out on September 9.
Regular rider Edgar Prado has the call on Miss Temple City Saturday.
Among those lining up against the talented distaffer are Divisidero and Mondialiste.
Divisidero tried for repeat of his own when lining up in the May 6 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, and succeeded in back-to-back wins. The Kitten’s Joy five-year-old has been unplaced, but close, in his two races since then – the Manhattan Stakes (G1) and Arlington Million (G1) – and keeps jockey Julian Leparoux in the irons for this one.
Mondialiste returned to North America last out when rallying to just miss third by a nose in the Woodbine Mile (Can-G1) on September 16. The David O’Meara trainee first made the trip across the Big Pond to capture the 2015 running of the Woodbine Mile and then shipped to Keeneland for a nice second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). He continued his traveling ways, heading to Hong Kong next and then back to England before reappearing stateside to prove victorious in last year’s Arlington Million.
Modialiste stuck around to be fourth in the 2016 Shadwell Turf Mile but offered no run when last-of-12 in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita Park last November. The Galileo seven-year-old has been unplaced in all but one of his seven starts since, including a fourth-place effort when returning for the Woodbine Mile most recently. Mondialiste is seeking the winner’s circle here under Feargal Lynch.
Other contenders in this contest include Heart to Heart, Ballagh Rocks and Flatlined.
Canadian champion Heart to Heart enters the Shadwell Turf Mile off a 1 1/4-length wire job in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) at Saratoga on September 4. The Brian Lynch-trained six-year-old just missed by a neck in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland in April and sandwiched a close third in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) between that race and the Bernard Baruch. He’ll get Florent Geroux in the saddle for the first time.
Ballagh Rocks was only a half-length back in fourth in the Maker’s 46 Mile over the spring, and won the Poker H. (G3) two back at Belmont Park. The Bill Mott trainee returned off a two-month hiatus to finish third in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) most recently, and keeps Jose Lezcano aboard.
Grade 2 hero Flatlined takes a major step up in this spot for trainer Charles Dickey after capturing the Cliff Guilliams Stakes and running second in the Tourist Mile Stakes in his past two. Joe Rocco Jr. has the return call on the Flatter gelding.
Completing the Shadwell Turf Mile field are Maker’s 46 Mile hero American Patriot, well-beaten in his past two against Grade/Group 1 rivals; dual Argentinean Group 1 winner Le Ken, who was fifth in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2) while making his first stateside appearance last out; Group 2 victor Suedois, who makes his U.S. bow here; multiple Canadian Grade 2 scorer Dimension, unplaced in his last six races; multiple Grade 3-placed stakes winners Offering Plan and Applicator; and stakes debuters Tyler U and Christian C.
Earlier on Keeneland’s Saturday card, nine turf sprinters will line up in the $200,000 Woodford Stakes (G2) going 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass. While the race isn’t a “Win & You’re In” to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), it does feature the winner from the 2015 running of that contest in Mongolian Saturday.
The Any Given Saturday gelding has captured one race since the Championship event, and that came by a half-length in last year’s running of the Woodford. Mongolian Saturday goes for a title defense here for trainer Enebish Ganbat, and brings along Javier Castellano, who piloted him to a close half-length second in the Turf Monster Stakes (G3) last out on September 4 at Parx Racing.
Despite the presence of Mongolian Saturday, Hogy is the top draw in the Woodford. The eight-year-old son of Offlee Wild has been playing musical barns of late but landed in the shedrow of Mike Maker, who saddled the gelding to a half-length victory in the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) last out. Hogy just missed to Mongolian Saturday last year in the Woodford and will look to turn the tables this time around with Floret Geroux aboard.
Commend ran second to Hogy in the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint last out and re-opposes in this spot under Jose Lezcano. Conquest Panthera triumphed by a neck in the Play the King Stakes (Can-G2) two back at Woodbine and enters this contest with Robby Albarado holding the reins.
Rounding out the Woodford field are multiple stakes winner Bucchero, stakes scorer Balandeen, TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G3) runner-up Latent Revenge, dual Grade 3-placed Mongol Bull and Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint fourth Indy Hill.