October 30, 2020

Simply Ravishing too much for Alcibiades rivals

Simply Ravishing
Simply Ravishing wins the Darley Alcidiades (Coady Photography)

Simply Ravishing rolled to an impressive wire-to-wire victory in Friday’s $350,000 Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland, seizing control at the start and drawing off under a hand ride to a 6 1/4-length decision. A New York-bred daughter of Laoban, the 2-year-old filly gave trainer Kenny McPeek his fifth Alcibiades victory.

Luis Saez was up for owners Harold Lerner, Magdalena Racing, and Nehoc Stables. Simply Ravishing improved to 3-for-3 in her career, breaking her maiden in front-running fashion in a 1 1/16-mile turf maiden at Saratoga and posting a 6 1/2-length score in the off-the-turf P.G. Johnson S. on Sept. 3.

Off as the 2.20-1 second choice, the bay filly established splits in :24.43, :48.59, and 1:12.94, and finished the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.58.

“I knew two very fast horses were inside,” Saez said. “(I thought) let’s break from there and see what they’re doing. She breaks so sharp; she was right there. It was easy. We took it (the lead). She was traveling pretty good. I felt like I had a lot of horse all the way.

“When we came to the straight, she just took off. She did it pretty easy, like normal. Like nothing. It was amazing. She’s a very good filly.”

The switch in surfaces has proved fortuitous. Simply Ravishing stamped her ticket for the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland in the challenge series event, and she picked up 10 points toward a Kentucky Oaks berth taking the qualifier.

“I don’t think we know how good she is,” assistant trainer Alan Shell said. “She’s won on turf, dirt, going short, going long. It’s just real exciting.”

Crazy Beautiful, the slight 2-1 favorite, gave McPeek the exacta. She stalked within a couple of lengths in second during the early stages before starting to lose ground approaching the conclusion of the far turn, and held second by about a length while getting dusted in the short stretch.

McPeek, who will saddle Swiss Skydiver in Saturday’s Preakness (G1), watched the race in Baltimore.

“They are both really special fillies,” the trainer said by phone of the top two. “I kind of hated to run them against each other, but it is a race we are obviously fond of and we felt like we had a heck of a chance with both of them in there. We will probably go to the Breeders’ Cup with both of them. I told (D. Wayne) Lukas a long time ago that I would win more Alcibiades than him (Lukas has the record with six wins ).”

Travel Column, a front-running debut winner who was compromised by a slow start that left her fifth in the early going, finished third as the 4-1 third choice. Adirondack (G2) winner Thoughtfully was another 4 3/4 lengths back in fourth, and Oliviaofthedesert, Extrema, and Gramercy came next under the wire.

Bred by Meg Levy, Simply Ravishing commanded a $50,000 sales tag as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale. She is the first foal from the More Than Ready mare Four Wishes.