Spring in the Air rallied down the center of the track from far off the pace to win the $400,000 Grade I Darley Alcibiades, earning an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Spring in the Air (right), a Canadian-bred daughter of Spring At Last out of the Unbridled mare Unbridled Run, gave trainer Mark Casse and Patrick Husbands their first Keeneland stakes victory.
La Song led the field of 14 through fractions of :22.98 and :47.13, with token pressure applied by Speedinthruthecity. Magical Moon was close to them in third. Magical Moon took command as the field hit the top of the stretch.
Under Rosie Napravnik, Magical Moon opened a daylight advantage only to have Spring in the Air surge past inside the sixteenth pole and draw off. Broken Spell, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, rallied late to finish second, two lengths in front of Magical Moon.
Spring in the Air, who completed the 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.33, returned mutuels of $10.60, $6 and $3.60. She was bet down to 4-1 off a 12-1 morning line.
Tara From the Cape finished a length back in fourth and was followed in order by Fully Living, Almost an Angel, Gold Edge, La Song, Pure Indy, Dancinginthecircle, Kitten’s Dumplings, Rose to Gold, Skyfall and Speedinthruthecity.
The Darley Alcibiades victory was worth $240,000 to the winner and increased Spring in the Air’s bankroll to $371,519 with a record of 4-2-2-0.
Mark Casse (winning trainer of Spring in the Air): “We’ve been fortunate. We’ve had some good fillies in the past. I did an interview yesterday and I told them, I think these two fillies are as good going back to the filly Sealy Hill, who won a couple million dollars and was second in the Breeders’ Cup. They’re exceptional fillies and I only ran them on the turf because that was available.
“I went to Patrick before the race and said, ‘What do you think,’ and he said, ‘It’s just a matter of how far.’ He rode her confidently -- scared the hell out of me.”
“She’s just pure class. A lot of the other fillies were getting upset in the paddock but it didn’t bother her at all. Patrick has ridden almost 1,000 winners for me. He had a ton of confidence in her and rode her like he did. It took that (confidence) to let her drop back that far and then make a run.
“She’s got a pretty good surge to her when you hit the gas.”
Patrick Husbands (winning jockey): “I had a good trip. I went into the race just to follow Dominguez because I figured his horse (Tara From the Cape) would probably take me halfway down the lane. When I reached the quarter pole, he had no horse so I had to get from behind him and get to the lead. From there she was a class filly.”
“What made me laugh is an hour before the race Mark came to me and started telling me about the track. I said, ‘Stop. The only way this horse will get beat is the trainer.”
Rajiv Maragh (rider of second-place finisher Broken Spell): “My filly ran a great race.”
Rosie Napravnik (rider of third-place finisher Magical Moon): “I was really hoping she would relax for me. Even with the brutal first-quarter fractions, she really tried her heart out. I don’t know that it’s a matter of distance. I think she has to learn to relax.”
Al Stall Jr. (trainer of Magical Moon): “It was asking a lot of her going from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. She didn’t settle at all early on and I think it definitely cost her in the end. She has a world of talent. We have to work on getting her to relax. She is definitely not going to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Ramon Dominguez (rider of fourth-place finisher Tara From the Cape): “I had a great trip. My filly tried real hard. We were in a great spot. Turning for home she gave me a good run and I was happy to get fourth with her. She tried hard for me.”
Todd Pletcher (trainer of Tara From the Cape): “I think she ran well enough to consider maybe running in the (Juvenile Fillies Turf), but we’ll see how she comes out of it and talk to the connections.”
--Edited Keeneland release with additional content by Dick Downey