LEXINGTON, Ky. - The nine graded stakes run on FallStars Weekend at Keeneland appear to have produced at least 16 starters for the Breeders' Cup, with another handful possible to run in the Nov. 6-7 races at Santa Anita.
Two of the more notable Breeders' Cup prospects are Informed Decision and Forever Together, the late-running grays from the stable of Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Both are headed for a brief freshening at Sheppard's Pennsylvania farm before returning to Keeneland to make final preparations for their respective Breeders' Cup races.
Informed Decision earned a spot in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint by winning the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes here Saturday, while Forever Together put in a highly creditable effort running third in the First Lady the same day and will be back to defend her championship in the BC Filly and Mare Turf.
"They both seem to really thrive off having a little spell at my farm," said Sheppard. "I'm going to take them back there for a couple of weeks and then bring them back before the end of the meet and put the finishing touches on them before we fly to California."
The Keeneland meet runs through Oct. 31.
Besides Informed Decision, the other eight weekend stakes winners all appear headed to California. Here is a quick follow-up on all the stakes over the three-day opening weekend:
Phoenix: The one-two finishers Fatal Bullet and Capt. Candyman Can both are going to the BC Sprint.
Alcibiades: Four of the top five finishers will be entered in the BC Juvenile Fillies: Negligee (first), She Be Wild (second), Amen Hallelujah (third), and Beautician (fifth).
Woodford: Silver Timber, the winner, is likely for the BC Turf Sprint and will remain at Keeneland to train for Chad Brown. The runner-up, Mr. Nightlinger, is a BC possible.
TCA: Informed Decision most likely will be the only one to advance, as the connections of runner-up Carlsbad said beforehand that they do not intend to run in the BC.
First Lady: Diamondrella, the winner, will be considered for three races, said Michael Iavarone, co-president of IEAH Stables, the mare's owners - the Filly-Mare Turf, the Mile, or the Turf Sprint. Tizaqueena, second on Saturday, could run in the Las Palmas on BC weekend at Santa Anita, said trainer Mike Stidham. Forever Together, third as the favorite, is definite for the Filly-Mare Turf.
Breeders' Futurity: The top two, Noble's Promise and Aikenite, both will go in the BC Juvenile.
Shadwell Mile: Court Vision, the narrow winner over Karelian, goes in the Mile. Karelian will be entered "but probably will get excluded," said trainer Rusty Arnold. Mr. Sidney (third) and Justenuffhumor (sixth) remain under consideration for the Mile.
Bourbon: Interactif, the impressive winner, surely will be one of the favorites for the BC Juvenile Turf.
Spinster: The top two, Mushka and Proviso, both will go to the Ladies' Classic.