The opening day of Breeders’ Cup 2020 at Keeneland on Friday will kick off with five undercard stakes. Here’s an overview of what to expect in each.
$125,000 Nyquist Stakes
This 6 1/2-furlong dash for 2-year-olds, named in honor of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner at Keeneland, has attracted a competitive field, all of whom are seeking their first black-type success.
Last-out maiden winner Highly Motivated and Saffa’s Day, from the barns of Chad Brown and Steve Asmussen, respectively, appear logical. The morning-line favorite is Quick Tempo, who exits a dominating allowance victory at Parx, while Upstriker shortens up after fading late in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
$125,000 Songbird Stakes
Also at 6 1/2 furlongs but for 2-year-old fillies, this hat tip to the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner features a full field. California Lily, a daughter of California Chrome, won impressively first out at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse but is saddled with post 14 before scratches.
Others that should receive play include The Grass Is Blue and Farsighted, both winners during the Keeneland fall meet.
$150,000 Bryan Station Stakes
This competitive 9-furlong turf feature for 3-year-olds includes the American Turf (G2) one-two of Fancy Liquor and Taishan, Del Mar Derby (G2) scorer Pixelate, and Belmont Derby (G1) runner-up No Word. Making his second attempt on grass is Lecomte (G3) winner Enforceable.
Drawn far outside are Don Juan Kitten and Bye Bye Melvin, who traded close decisions in the Saranac (G3) and James W. Murphy S. in their last two starts.
$150,000 McConnell Springs Stakes
Into Chocolate enters this 6-furlong test for fillies and mares off a mild upset win in the Chillingworth (G3) at Santa Anita, but rivals like Royal Charlotte, Wildwood’s Beauty, Unholy Alliance, Unique Factor, and Bye Bye J can threaten in this wide-open affair.
$200,000 Thoroughbred Racing Alliance Stakes (G2)
Colloquially known as the Marathon and a traditional Breeders’ Cup lead-in, this 1 5/8-mile test includes 2018 winner Rocketry, and graded stakes winners Tenfold, Cupid’s Claws, and Plus Que Parfait. Entering off recent 1 1/2-mile stakes wins are Ry’s the Guy and Danny California, while You’re To Blame and Signalman will also merit consideration.