Phoenix Stakes is ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Race Friday at Keeneland
Final tune-ups for the Breeders’ Cup continues this week and a pair of ‘Win and You’re In’ races head Friday’s opening card for Keeneland’s Fall Meet. The Phoenix Stakes, upgraded to a Grade II this year, offers its winner a trip to the Breeders’ Cup TwinSpires Sprint, while the Grade I Alcibiades Stakes sends its winner to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, as well as a head start on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard.
The $250,000 Phoenix Stakes is Race 8 Friday, Oct. 7 at 4:57 ET and seven 3-year-olds and up will sprint 6 furlongs. A.P. Indian breaks from the rail with high weight (124 lbs) as the 4-5 favorite. He was scratched from the Vosburgh last Saturday at a soggy Belmont Park to wait for a dry track in the Phoenix at Keeneland. The 6-year-old gelding has won all five of his starts this year including his two most recent Grade I races. His speed on the front end will be tough to catch, noting A.P. Indian won the 6 furlong Alfred Vanderbilt Handicap July 30 at Saratoga in a final time of 1:08.25.
A.P. Indian’s last three Beyer speed ratings are 107, 107 and 102. Jockey Joe Bravo rides A.P. Indian for the fifth straight race.
“He does everything so effortlessly,” said Bravo. “Sometimes it feels like he’s not even trying, and that’s a great feeling.”
Limousine Liberal (5-1) is ridden by Jose Ortiz and the 4-year-old gelding set a track record (1:15.05) for 6 ½ furlongs over this track in the spring. He then finished second in a pair of graded stakes races and has posted Beyer figures of 93-95-97 in his last three races. Limousine Liberal adds blinkers for his 11ths career start looking for his second win this year.
Alsvid (6-1) has won 15 races and over $1.3 million. He’s hit the board in each of his last 10 starts and finished third in the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar July 31. Alsvid won the Grade III Aristides at Churchill Downs June 4, finishing a head in front of the favorite Limousine Liberal. His last 3 Beyer figures are 91-97-97. Alsvid finished seventh in last year’s Phoenix Stakes.
Ami’s Flatter (9-2) won the Grade III Commonwealth here April 9, but has missed the money in his two subsequent starts. He tries six furlongs for the first time in his career and goes from his only turf race last start back to dirt. He’ll have to show his best Beyer to pull the upset, with his last three Beyer figures showing 80-94-105.
The Phoenix Stakes is the oldest stakes (noncontinuous) in America, dating all the way back to 1831 at the old Kentucky Association track in Lexington. The 2015 winner was Runhappy, the eventual Breeders’ Cup Sprint and divisional champion.