Castleton Lyons Farm’s Gio Ponti, undefeated in two starts over the Keeneland grass course, will attempt to keep his record perfect Saturday when he faces seven foes in the 26th running of the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).
The Shadwell Turf Mile is the centerpiece of a 10-race card Saturday that features five graded stakes, including two other Grade 1 races: The 98th running of the $400,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, and the 14th running of the $350,000 First Lady for fillies and mares going a mile on the turf.
Saturday’s program begins at 1:15 p.m. (ET) with the Shadwell Turf Mile scheduled as the ninth race at 5:45 p.m. The First Lady goes as the seventh race with a 4:37 p.m. post time, followed by the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at 5:13 p.m.
Keeneland, in partnership with NBC Sports, will present live coverage of FallStars Weekend as part of its new “Autumn at Keeneland” series. VERSUS will air hour-long stakes coverage on October 7, 8 and 9 from 5-6 p.m. (ET).
Additionally, TVG will feature live coverage of Keeneland each race day beginning at 1 p.m. Fans also can watch the live races streamed on Keeneland.com.
The Shadwell Turf Mile is a “Win and You’re In” race for the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to be run November 5 at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Gio Ponti won last year’s Shadwell Turf Mile by a length over Society’s Chairman, who also returns Saturday. Only one horse has won this race in consecutive years, that being Dumaani, who won the race in 1995 when it was known as the Keeneland Breeders’ Cup and in 1996 when it was renamed the Keeneland Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Regular rider Ramon Dominguez will be aboard Gio Ponti, who will break from post position five. Now 6, Gio Ponti also won the Woodford Reserve Bourbon as a 2-year-old here in 2007.
Also gunning for a bit of history in the Shadwell Turf Mile is Sullimar Stables’ Get Stormy, trained by Tom Bush.
Winner of the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) this spring, Get Stormy will attempt to become the first horse to complete a Maker’s Mark-Shadwell Turf double in the same year. Garrett Gomez has the call for the first time on Get Stormy, who will break from post position eight.
Two horses making their Keeneland debuts also figure to attract plenty of attention.
Rubio B. Stable and WinStar Farm’s Sidney’s Candy returns to the turf on which he has posted two Grade 2 victories. Winner of last year’s Santa Anita Derby (G1) on an all-weather surface, Sidney’s Candy will break from post position two under Joel Rosario.
The only 3-year-old in the field is Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier’s Zoffany (IRE). A Group 1 winner in Ireland last year, Zoffany is winless in four starts in 2011 with his best effort coming in a runner-up finish to the undefeated Frankel in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes at a mile in June at Ascot. Colm O’Donoghue has the mount on Zoffany, who will break from post position four.
The field for the Shadwell Turf Mile, from the inside out, is as follows: Tajaaweed (James Graham, 126 pounds), Sidney’s Candy (Rosario, 126), Dance And Dance (IRE) (Jamie Spencer, 126), Zoffany (IRE) (O’Donoghue, 123), Gio Ponti (Dominguez, 126), Society’s Chairman (Julien Leparoux, 126), Wise Dan (Jon Court, 126) and Get Stormy (Gomez, 126).