Restless Rider locks down Breeders' Cup berth with Alcibiades win
Courtesy of Marty McGee of DRF.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Restless Rider stamped herself as one of the deserving favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with a dominating performance Friday in the 67th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes as Keeneland opened its 17-day fall meet.
Always near the lead as Brian Hernandez Jr. rode her with confidence, Restless Rider glided away from front-running Meadow Dance at the top of the stretch before taking the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades by 2 1/2 lengths over late-running Reflect. The winner paid $4.60 as the heavy favorite in a field of 14 2-year-old fillies.
“Once we got in our position going around the first turn, I was pretty confident in her because she’s something special,” said Hernandez.
The win gives Restless Rider an expenses-paid berth into the Nov. 2 BC Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs while also giving Kenny McPeek, who trains her for Three Chimneys Farm and Fern Circle Stables, his fourth victory in Alcibiades history. McPeek also has had seven seconds from 19 Alcibiades starters.
“She is really, really special,” said McPeek. “It hasn’t been as easy as it might look on paper, what she did today. It wasn’t an exact straight line since the Spinaway, but we got through.”
Amid unusually warm weather, and before an ontrack crowd of 15,334, Meadow Dance was sent to the lead from post 2 by Florent Geroux, setting fractions of 22.86 seconds, 46.52, and 1:11.58 as Restless Rider crept closer. Turning for home, there was no doubt about the superior horse, as Restless Rider sped off unchallenged, finishing in 1:44.23.
Reflect, an 11-1 shot ridden by James Graham, closed well to finish another 2 3/4 lengths before Meadow Dance, who held third by another 1 1/2 lengths before Chocolate Kisses. Among the disappointments were Into Trouble, ninth at 6-1, and Catherinthegreat, 12th at 6-1.
Reflect, trained by Keith Desormeaux, “ran real big,” said Graham. “It took me awhile to get her off the bridle, but then she leveled off nicely. She was chasing hard to the wire.”
Restless Rider, a gray Kentucky-bred filly by Distorted Humor, now has won 3 of 4 career starts. After a flashy June 8 debut, she won the June 30 Debutante by 11 1/4 lengths, both at Churchill, then finished a creditable second in the Grade 1 Spinaway at seven furlongs on Sept. 1 at Saratoga. Hernandez has ridden her in every start and even in some of her morning breezes, including one here on Monday. The Alcibiades was her first race around two turns.
“She’s a smart filly,” said Hernandez. “She knows what she’s doing out there. She’s the type of filly where she’s got the class to her, and she was able to put herself into position to make the trip as easy as it looked.”
McPeek said Restless Rider will remain at Keeneland for the time being before assimilating into his Churchill string as the 1 1/16-mile BC Juvenile Fillies draws closer.
The $2 exacta (3-1) paid $33.20, the $1 trifecta (3-1-2) returned $134.70, and the 10-cent superfecta (3-1-2-13) was worth $168.92.
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