By Amy Owens
Romantic Vision Splashes to $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Victory
LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 8, 2017) – G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s homebred Romantic Vision swept to the lead leaving the far turn and cruised to a two-length victory over Martini Glass to win the 62nd running of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) for fillies and mares.
The Juddmonte Spinster closed a spectacular Fall Stars Weekend marked by near-record crowds and outstanding racing that saw eight Keeneland stakes winners secure automatic berths in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar.
Romantic Vision, trained by Rusty Arnold and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., earned a fees-paid berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run Nov. 3 at Del Mar.
In the race prior to the Juddmonte Spinster, John Oxley’s Flameaway nosed out Tigers Rule with favored Tap Daddy another nose back to win the 27th running of the $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon for 2-year-olds. The race was moved off the turf to the main track.
In the Juddmonte Spinster, longshot Duchess of Duke led the field of nine through fractions of :23.96, :48.26 and 1:12.56 with Romantic Vision in closest pursuit. On the far turn, Romantic Vision surged to the front and shrugged off a brief challenge from You Know Too and later from Martini Glass to secure her second consecutive graded-stakes victory.
It was the second victory in the race for Humphrey and Arnold who teamed to win the 1997 running with Clear Mandate.
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Lemon Drop Kid out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Perfect for You, Romantic Vision covered the 1 1/8 miles on a sloppy main track in 1:49.70. The victory was worth $300,000 and increased Romantic Vision’s earnings to $610,086 with a record of 19-6-4-2.
Romantic Vision returned $14.80, $7.60 and $5.60. Martini Glass, ridden by Paco Lopez, returned $6.80 and $5.20 and finished 5½ lengths in front of Blue Prize (ARG), who paid $4.80 to show under James Graham.
It was another half-length back to Lockdown in fourth. She was followed in order by You Know Too, favored Bar of Gold, Duchess of Duke, Tiger Moth and Factory of Faith.
Quotes from the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1)
Rusty Arnold (winning trainer of Romantic Vision)
“She ran great. I was surprised with how it played out. She was a little closer than I thought she would be, but she just seemed to relish this going.”
On whether Romantic Vision will advance to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1)
“My boss (Romantic Vision’s owner, G. Watts Humphrey Jr.) will make that decision.”
Brian J. Hernandez Jr. (winning rider)
“Her first step was the quickest one away from there, and she put us in a great spot. She traveled really good for me the whole way. Going into the second turn, I was really confident in her. She’s just really stepped up her last few races. She seems to be getting better and better.
“She tipped her hand in the spring. She ran a really big race (winning a Keeneland allowance on April 9) and came back Derby Day and ran huge (finishing second in the Fleur de Lis-G2). She’s just getting better and better. Rusty and the team have done a great job letting her develop into herself.”
Keith Nations (trainer of runner-up Martini Glass)“She is not eligible for Breeders’ Cup. We are going to freshen her up and race again in December. I have never started a horse here before; this place is amazing. I am looking at all my (Delaware Park-based) horses to see which ones I can race here before the end of the meet.”
Paco Lopez (rider of runner-up Martini Glass)
“My trip was perfect. She was a little bit silly in the gate but after that she was fine. She started running when I took her wide late. The mud was no problem for her.”
James Graham (rider of third-place finisher Blue Prize [ARG])
“She was slipping and sliding a lot today. Didn’t really handle the race track and ran a good race to be third. The track changed a lot of things for us today. Everybody (went to the front); they didn’t go very fast, but they (went) anyway. I didn’t want to be up there knocking heads and have her empty out on me. She’s a good filly.”
Jose Lezcano (rider of fourth-place finisher Lockdown)
“We stumbled out of the gate, so I think we lost the position of where we wanted to be. (There was) too much ground to make up, especially how the track was today.”
Luis Saez (rider of sixth-place finisher and beaten favorite Bar of Gold)
“She was perfect. She looked like at the half mile she was going to make a nice move, but when I really asked she didn’t give me that kick. I think the distance was a little bit too far.”
Flameaway Prevails in Three-Horse Photo to Win Off-the-Turf Dixiana Bourbon
In the Dixiana Bourbon, Flameaway collared dueling early leaders Tigers Rule and Tap Daddy in the final jump to give trainer Mark Casse a record third consecutive win in the race and provide jockey Julien Leparoux with his fourth victory in the race.
Casse and Leparoux teamed with Oxley to win the 2015 running with Airoforce. Casse also won last year with Keep Quiet (FR), and Leparoux’s other winners were Rogue Romance (2010) and Balance the Books (2012).
Despite the Dixiana Bourbon being taken off the turf, Breeders’ Cup officials after review decided to reinstate the race’s “Win and You’re In” status and award winner Flameaway a berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on Nov. 3 at Del Mar.
Tigers Rule and Tap Daddy raced as a team through fractions of :23.35, :48.46 and 1:13.93 with Flameaway just behind the leaders. In the short stretch run, Flameaway rallied outside of the leaders and struck the front at the wire.
Flameaway covered the 1 1/16 miles on the sloppy main track in 1:45.77. A Keeneland sales graduate, Flameaway is a Kentucky-bred son of Scat Daddy out of the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Vulcan Rose.
The victory was worth $150,000 and increased Flameaway’s earnings to $244,074 with a record of 4-3-0-0.
Flameaway returned $12.80, $6.40 and $4.40. Tap Daddy, ridden by Florent Geroux, was elevated to second place via disqualification of Tigers Rule for interference in the stretch. Tap Daddy returned $5.40 and $3.80 with Tigers Rule paying $4.80 to show under Miguel Mena.
Admiralty Pier finished 1½ lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by John Tippmann, Arawak, Captivating Moon, Fred’stwirlincandy, King Valero, High Providence, Trenton Traveler, Wicked Trick, Budro Talking and Shared Value.
Racing resumes Wednesday with an eight-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. ET and features the 27th running of the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the Keeneland turf course. The race is a “Win and You’re In race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 3 at Del Mar.
Quotes from the $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon
Mark Casse (winning trainer of Flameaway)
“I’ve been wanting to run him on the grass, so I was a little disappointed (when the race was rained off the turf and moved to dirt). He’s getting better and better. He’s a big strong horse, and I’m proud of him today. He’s been training really well. The only time we ran him on the dirt he didn’t take the kickback too well, so I said to (jockey) Julien (Leparoux), ‘Use some of your speed.’ He did.”
Julien Leparoux (winning rider)
“We had a good trip. We traveled very nicely. The other two horses (Tap Daddy and Tigers Rule to the inside), they had a good fight. He ran big.”
Florent Geroux (rider of runner-up Tap Daddy)
“It was good, it was a clear trip. He broke sharp and we knew we had good tactical speed. We got bumped around and beat at the end.”
Miguel Mena (rider of third-place finisher Tigers Rule)
“It was a very good start for me. He broke on top and went into a nice rhythm It was a tough beat at the end. He fought hard. The first quarter was a little quicker than I wanted, but I was inside so I had to use my horse a little bit to get my position. The second quarter, we slowed it down pretty good.”
Vicki Foley (trainer of Tigers Rule)
“It is heartbreaking to get so close, but he ran good and we are proud of him.”
Luis Saez (rider of fourth-place finisher Admiralty Pier)
“I got a pretty good trip. I’d love to see him on the turf. I think he could be better (on the turf). At the half-mile, I thought I had the race, but somebody moved outside and I tried to protect my spot, but I didn’t have the quick kick to stay there. That cost me a little. I think if it were on the turf, he would’ve kept running and won OK.”
Robby Albarado (rider of fifth-place finisher John Tippmann)
“(We were) way back – farther back than I wanted to be, but he put in a nice run. He’s a nice colt. We were like quails out there – all over the place.”
For more than 80 years, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. As the world’s largest Thoroughbred auction company, Keeneland conducts sales every January, September and November. Its sales graduates dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. In 2015, Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a private, for-profit corporation that returns its earnings to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses, and it has donated millions of dollars in charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. To learn more about Keeneland, visit Keeneland.com.