May 28, 2020

Elate, Dunbar Road highlight salty Spinster; juveniles set for Bourbon, Indian Summer

Elate (inside) exits a nose second to Midnight Bisou in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday, August 24, 2019 (c) Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography

Elate and Dunbar Road are among a quartet of Grade 1 winners in the $500,000 Spinster (G1), one of three stakes races with Breeders’ Cup implications at Keeneland Sunday. The five-horse field also includes defending champ Blue Prize.

All three stakes are “Win & You’re In” events for the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, with the Spinster awarding a free berth to the Distaff. The $250,000 Bourbon (G3) serves the same capacity for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and the $200,000 Indian Summer will stamp a ticket for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

An earner of more than $2.2 million, Elate looms as the probable Spinster favorite following a nose second to presumptive older female champion Midnight Bisou in the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga. That effort followed wins in the Fleur de Lis (G2) and Delaware H. (G2) for the five-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro. The Distaff remains an option, but trainer Bill Mott is also considering the Breeders’ Cup Classic given Elate’s affinity for the 1 ¼-mile distance (three for three). Of course, she must first get past a dangerous group of challengers at Keeneland.

With stablemate Guarana losing the Cotillion (G1), Dunbar Road can make a strong case for supremacy in the three-year-old filly division with a Spinster victory. The Chad Brown-trained filly has reeled off three straight wins since a troubled second in her stakes debut earlier this season, including convincing tallies in the Alabama (G1) and Mother Goose (G2). The daughter of Quality Road will receive a jockey switch to Javier Castellano with Jose Ortiz opting to ride Elate.

Blue Prize finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff after winning the 2018 Spinster. After placing in her first three starts this season, the six-year-old mare recorded a confidence-building triumph in the restricted Summer Colony at Saratoga last out. Joe Bravo has the mount for Ignacio Correas IV.

Rounding out the field are She’s a Julie, winner of the La Troienne (G1) during the spring and third most recently in the Personal Ensign; and Grade 3 scorer Vexatious.

A full field of 14 is entered for the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon on turf and Mark Casse has a pair of contenders in Kentucky Downs Juvenile winner Peace Achieved and Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint third-placer Prince of Thieves. Miguel Mena has the call on Peace Achieved and Florent Geroux rides Prince of Thieves.

Other contestants include Fighting Seabee and Field Pass, the respective top two finishers in the August 28 With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga. Deviant, a facile odds-on winner of the September 7 Sunday Silence at Louisiana Downs, is another contender along with Summer (G1) third-placer Vitalogy and last-out maiden winners Art Collector, Kid Mercury, Nettleton and The Third Secret.

Nine are entered for the Indian Summer at 5 ½ furlongs on turf. Kimari, a smashing four-length winner of the August 14 Bolton Landing at Saratoga after a head second in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot, is the one to beat and Mike Smith picks up the mount on the daughter of Munnings.

Woodbine stakes winners Fast Scene and Old Chestnut, and Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint runner-up Chimney Rock are also part of the mix.