LEXINGTON, Ky. — Flatlined, winner of Ellis Park’s Cliff Guilliams Handicap, seeks his first Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. And Tiger Moth, winner of Ellis’ signature Groupie Doll Stakes, goes for her biggest victory in Sunday’s $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster.
The 5-year-old Flatlined is 20-1 in the morning line for the Shadwell’s strong field of 14, which features Grade 1 winners in two-time Woodford Reserve Turf Classic hero Divisidero, Keeneland’s 2017 Maker’s Maker Mile winner American Patriot, the globe-trotting 2016 Arlington Million victor Mondialiste and the mare Miss Temple City, trying to repeat against males in the Shadwell. The horse to catch figures to be 13-time winner Heart to Heart, who was second in the Maker’s 46 Mile his last two starts at Keeneland, including to Miss Temple City last year.
Flatlined, ridden by Joe Rocco for trainer Scooter Dickey, comes in off a runner-up showing in Kentucky Downs’ $400,000 Tourist Mile, finishing a length behind surprise winner Applicator, who is 30-1 in the Shadwell.
“He’s doing very well, feeling really good and all that,” Dickey said. “I know we’re moving up quite a ways. But you’ve got to give him a chance because he’s as good as he’s ever been.”
Tiger Moth followed up on her Groupie Doll win with a third-place finish in Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Locust Grove, with the top two finishers being Spinster candidates Romantic Vision and Blue Prize. Still, it was easily Tiger Moth’s best performance in four races at her hometown track.
“The race at Ellis was a great race; there was some pace to run at,” trainer Brad Cox said of Tiger Moth’s late-running three-quarters of a length victory over Walkabout in the Grade 3 Groupie Doll. “Corey (Lanerie) did a good job, kept riding her. You kind of have to stay after her, just keep peddling the bike and she keeps coming. It obviously big for her broodmare career, becoming a graded-stakes winner. We targeted that race; all spring the goal was to get her to the Groupie Doll.
“The race at Churchill was a really good race. There was no pace to run at, and she was real wide on the turn. Once again, we were using that as a steppingstone to the Spinster. She’s doing extremely well, so we figure she’s set up for a big effort on Sunday.”
The Spinster winner gets an entry-fees paid berth in and travel stipend to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Said Cox: “If we run third, it’s a victory, without a doubt. If she were to win or run second, you’d have to consider the Breeders’ Cup. But I have absolutely not thought one second about it. Right now her Breeders’ Cup is Sunday.”
Among the other horses who raced at Ellis this summer and are in a Keeneland prep for the Breeders’ Cup this weekend:
The Kenny McPeek-trained Ten City, Churchill Downs’ Bashford Manor winner who was third as the favorite in the Ellis Park Juvenile and third again in Churchill’’s Iroquois, picks up a new rider in Corey Lanerie for Saturday’s $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity. The favorite in the Grade 1 stakes is Saratoga’s Hopeful runner-up Free Drop Billy, the Dale Romans-trained stablemate of Ellis Park Juvenile Dak Attack.
“The last couple of starts, he’s gotten out of the gate a little bit awkward,” McPeek said of Ten City. “At Ellis he stumbled and pulled his shoe off leaving the gate. At Churchill, when he left there he broke a little awkward and cross-cantered the first couple of jumps, where the front end and back end don’t leave there quite the same. It took him a little time to regroup, but I like the way he fought on in both races. I like the opportunity to have Corey Lanerie on him for this race. It’s an ideal next step for him.
“He’s got to run a real respectable race to justify taking him to the Breeders’ Cup. Certainly, he’s a real nice horse. If he doesn’t run a race I’m happy with, I’m not opposed to giving him time off and bringing him back as a proper 3-year-old. Because he’s a big horse. I think with time, development is only ahead of him.”
McPeek also has John Tippmann, winner of an Ellis maiden race on dirt and second in Kentucky Downs’ $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile, in Sunday’s $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon for 2-year-olds on grass.
“He’s a horse that has done everything right every day,” McPeek said. “The people that own him are having a blast; he’s a homebred. Certainly a horse with a future.”
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained 3-year-old Indy Hill, winner of an Ellis allowance race, takes on older horses as he tries to win his first stakes in Saturday’s $200,000 Woodford Stakes presented by Keeneland Select (G2).
Ellis Park Debutante winner Kelly’s Humor was to run in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades late on Friday’s opening card.
Arlington Park’s Argentine-bred Beverly D runner-up Dona Bruja, herself 10 for 13 with three seconds. The 5-2 co-second choices in the field of seven fillies and mares are Keeneland’s Jenny Wiley (G1) winner Dickinson.
As usual, fans can bet all the Keeneland races at Ellis Park.
With Miss Temple City opting to go in the Shadwell, the 2-1 favorite in the $400,000 First Lady (G1) is Roca Rojo, winner of Churchill’s Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile and who lost to Miss Temple City by a nose in last winter’s Matriarch (G1).
Finley’sluckycharm is one of the day’s biggest favorites at 3-5 in the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) at six furlongs for fillies and mares.