June 19, 2024

Alcibiades attracts well-matched field of seven on Keeneland opener

Thoughtfully 2020
Thoughtfully wins the Adirondack Stakes (NYRA/Coglianese Photos)

With Keeneland hosting the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) later this fall, seven 2-year-old fillies will take the opportunity to get in a track-and-distance prep Friday in the $350,000 Alcibiades Stakes (G1), the winner of which will gain an automatic bid to the bigger prize on Nov. 6.

Although they lack the stakes experience of their competition, debut winners Travel Column and Gramercy don’t seem out of place in the 1 1/16-mile event. Trained by Brad Cox, who conditioned British Idiom to victories in the Alcibiades and Juvenile Fillies last season, Travel Column won with plenty left after pressing a sizzling pace early in a 6-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs on Sept. 4.

Using completely different tactics, Godolphin homebred Gramercy made up 10 lengths in the quarter-mile and won by two in her 7-furlong debut at Arlington one day earlier. The daughter of Bernardini is out of a full sister to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Folklore and thus merits respect stepping up in class.

Trainer Kenny McPeek, who’s won the Alcibiades four times since 2000, will be represented by Crazy Beautiful, Simply Ravishing, and Oliviaofthedesert. Crazy Beautiful was twice an impressive winner at Ellis Park over the summer but was kept at bay by longshot Girl Daddy in the Pocahontas (G3) at Churchill last out. Simply Ravishing dominated three rivals in an off-the-turf renewal of the P.G. Johnson S. at Saratoga last time, while the stakes-placed Oliviaofthedesert won convincingly in her lone previous try on dirt.

Thoughtfully has dominated in two appearances for Steve Asmussen, including a five-length romp in the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga. The most obvious outsider in the field is Xtrema, fourth in the Ellis Park Debutante to Crazy Beautiful and in the Pocahontas.

In addition to being a Breeders’ Cup Challenge event, the Alcibiades will also award 2021 Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.