LEXINGTON, Ky. - Keeneland opened its 17-day fall meet Friday afternoon by producing at least a few starters for the Nov. 6-7 Breeders' Cup when Negligee posted a 12-1 upset in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes a half-hour after Fatal Bullet scored as the favorite in the Grade 3 Phoenix Stakes.
Negligee, giving jockey Rajiv Maragh his third win of the card, wore down favored She Be Wild to win the $500,000 Alcibiades by a half-length. Amen Hallelujah was another 2 1/4 lengths back in a field of 12 2-year-old fillies, with Zilva fourth and Beautician fifth. The winner returned $27.40 and is "absolutely" headed to the BC Juvenile Fillies, said trainer John Terranova.
On a dreary, rainy day that limited ontrack attendance to 11,442 despite management's effort to lure a larger, younger crowd with the first twilight-style post time, She Be Wild took the lead turning for home in the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades. Unbeaten in three prior starts and the 13-10 choice under Garrett Gomez, she appeared to have put away all challengers until Negligee, who had saved ground on the far turn while waiting for room, split horses and surged late to edge past the favorite with about 40 yards to go.
Negligee, a Kentucky-bred by Northern Afleet, "was really impressive," said Maragh. "She kind of relaxed and got behind horses and got into her rhythm."
Negligee was purchased by the Sovereign Stable of Matthew Gatsas following her second and most recent start, the Aug. 15 Ontario Debutante, in which she finished second.
Phoenix: Fatal Bullet holds off 'Candyman'
In the 157th running of the $250,000 Phoenix, Fatal Bullet proved a popular and deserving favorite when returning $4.40 after finishing six furlongs in 1:09. The 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding wore down the other speed, Ez Dreamer, before finishing a half-length clear of a terrific late run by Capt. Candyman Can, the 3-1 second choice. Ez Dreamer was a neck back in third and another 1 1/4 lengths before Sing Baby Sing, the 2008 Phoenix winner.
Fatal Bullet "ran a great race, he tried 100 percent," said winning jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who jubilantly waved his whip a stride or two past the wire. "He was very relaxed. I was very proud of him."
Fatal Bullet, the runner-up to Midnight Lute in the 2008 BC Sprint at Santa Anita, now has won a remarkable 9 of 11 races, with two seconds, in synthetic races. He will head to California as one of the favorites for the Nov. 7 Sprint. Likewise, Capt. Candyman Can, a late-running 3-year-old who has won four stakes this year, will be widely regarded as a viable Sprint contender.
Fatal Bullet is based in Canada for Bear Stables and trainer Reade Baker.
Maragh and Robby Albarado were the riding standouts of the day, as each rode three winners.