Godolphin LLC’s Enticed, who finished third behind Firenze Fire and eventual Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I) winner Good Magic in last month’s Champagne (GI) at Belmont Park, is among a promising and ultra-competitive cast of 14 2-year-olds that were entered for Saturday’s 91st running of the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs.
The 1 1/16-mile race is the co-headliner on the penultimate day of the 21-date Fall Meet. Billed as “Stars of Tomorrow II,” each of the 12 races is exclusively for 2-year-olds that may have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next spring’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).
The Kentucky Jockey Club – a “Prep Season” race on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” in which the Top 4 finishers will receive 10-4-2-1 points, respectively – goes as Race 11 at 5:56 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post is 1 p.m. The co-featured $200,000 Golden Rod (GII) for fillies is Race 9 at 4:57 p.m.
Enticed (2-1-0-1—$99,800) landed post 6 in the full-field under regular rider Junior Alvarado. The Kentucky-bred son of Medaglia d’Oro invades from trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s New York base after finishing 3 ½ lengths back of Firenze Fire, who beat then-maiden Good Magic by a half-length in the one-mile, $500,000 Champagne while clocking 1:35.91. Prior to that, Enticed won his career debut by 1 ¾ lengths in the mud at Saratoga in a six-furlong maiden special weight.
Enticed’s rivals include three other Grade I-placed horses: Valene Farms’ Louisiana-bred maiden Givemeaminit (4-0-1-1—$166,600), who was third in Saratoga’s Hopeful (GI) for trainer Dallas Stewart; Calumet Farm’s Bravazo (4-1-1-1—$138,928), who was second in last month’s Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland for four-time Kentucky Jockey Club-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas; and G M B Racing’s Breeders’ Futurity third Lone Sailor (4-1-1-1—$118,117), trained by Tom Amoss.
Also entered were Lothenbach Stables Inc.’s Gotta Go (3-2-0-0—$80,510), who beat Lone Sailor by a head and Bravazo by 3 ¼ lengths in the $83,001 Street Sense Overnight Stakes over one mile at Churchill Downs on Oct. 29, and a quartet of unbeaten juveniles: Robert J. Baron’s Promises Fulfilled (2-2-0-0—$70,800) WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International Ltd. andG M B Racing’s Breeders’ Futurity third Lone (2-2-0-0—$70,800), Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Reride (2-2-0-0—$68,220) and Cash is King LLC and LC Racing LLC’s Parx invader Diamond King (2-2-0-0—$67,800).
Gotta Go’s trainer Ian Wilkes will attempt to sweep the Street Sense and Kentucky Jockey Club for a second straight year. Last year, he had McCraken, who would go on to win a trio of 3-year-old graded stakes and finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby.
Promises Fulfilled is one of two horses entered by Churchill Downs’ all-time winningest trainer Dale Romans, who seeks his first Kentucky Jockey Club triumph. The other is Frank L. Jones Jr.’s Tiz Mischief (3-1-1-0—$51,200), an Into Mischief colt that won a 1 1/16-mile, first-level allowance at Keeneland on Oct. 7. Robby Albarado, who rode both colts in their recent starts, opted to ride Tiz Mischief.
John C. Oxley, Gainesway Farm, Helen C. Alexander and Stuart E. Huston’s Arrival (5-1-0-2—$54,085) was supplemented to the race for $6,000 after breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs by 3 ¾ lengths over 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 8 for two-time Kentucky Jockey Club-winning trainer Mark Casse.
The field is rounded out by Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch’s Grey (GIII) runner-up Peppered (3-1-1-1—$55,446); Shortleaf Stable Inc.’s High North (3-1-1-0); and Al Baldassari, Dan Lion, Frances Demayo and John Tippmann’s John Tippman (5-1-2-0—$107,510).
The complete Kentucky Jockey Club field from the rail out (with jockeys): Gotta Go (Chris Landeros), Diamond King (Frankie Pennington), John Tippmann (Rayan Gazader), Arrival (Julien Leparoux), Givemeaminit (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Enticed (Junior Alvarado), Promises Fulfilled (Alex Canchari), High North (Corey Lanerie), Reride (Ricardo Santana Jr.), Bravazo (Jon Court), Quip (Florent Geroux), Tiz Mischief (Robby Albarado), Lone Sailor (Channing Hill) and Peppered (Joe Rocco Jr.).
All starters will carry 122 pounds. High North will race with Lasix for the first time.
Saturday’s National Weather Service forecast for Louisville calls for sunny skies and a high near 55.
The Kentucky Jockey Club is named in honor of the holding company that operated Churchill Downs at the time of the race’s inaugural running in 1920. In recent years, the Kentucky Jockey Club produced Kentucky Derby winners in WinStar Farm’s Super Saver, who won both races for trainer Todd Pletcher in 2009 and ’10, and Mike Pegram’s Real Quiet, the runner-up in the 1997 Kentucky Jockey Club who returned to win the Derby for trainer Bob Baffert the following spring.
Inaugurated in 2005, Churchill Downs’ “Stars of Tomorrow” programs have helped launched the careers of numerous graded stakes winners, including more than 50 future Grade I winners led by Super Saver; 2011 Preakness and 2012 Met Mile and Clark Handicap winner Shackleford; 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra; 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2013 Stephen Foster Handicap hero Fort Larned; 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can; 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge; 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Creator; and five-time Grade I winner Gun Runner, who won this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and is likely to be crowned Horse of the Year.
Two dozen horses that were showcased in last year’s “Stars of Tomorrow” programs went onto future stakes success. The most successful alumni from the 2016 events were led by future Grade I winners Dream Dancing and Sailor’s Valentine.