Barn Notes: Defending champ Miss Ella tops overflow field for Keeneland’s Buffalo Trace

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Jack Swain III’s Miss Ella headlines a field of 12 fillies and mares and four also-eligibles entered Tuesday for Friday’s 21st running of the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) to be run at 5½ furlongs on the Keeneland turf course.

The Buffalo Trace Franklin County will go as the ninth race on Friday’s 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time. First post time is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by Graham Motion, Miss Ella will attempt to join Ayrial Delight (1998-1999) as the only back-to-back winner of the race. Feargal Lynch will have the mount Friday and break from post position one.

Chief rivals to Miss Ella might be a couple of 3-year-olds: Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Lull and G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Morticia.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Lull comes into the Buffalo Trace Franklin County off a victory in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint on Sept. 9. Two times graded-stakes placed, Lull will be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. and break from post position six.

Trained by Rusty Arnold, Morticia is a four-time turf sprint stakes winner and comes into the race off a third-place finish in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint. Jose Lezcano has the mount and will break from post position seven.

The field for the Buffalo Trace Franklin County, with riders and weights, is: Miss Ella (Lynch, 120 pounds), Justa Lady (Ricardo Santana Jr., 120), Boom Bam Bing (C.J. McMahon, 120), Kasuga (Julien Leparoux, 120), Ruby Notion (Julio Garcia, 120), Lull (Hernandez Jr., 118), Morticia (Lezcano, 118), Always Thinking (Joe Bravo, 120), Scatter Gun (Joe Rocco, 120), Indriya (Rito Almanza, 120), Nobody’s Fault (Corey Lanerie, 120), Carolina Shag (Jack Gilligan, 120). Also-Eligibles: Childhood (Robby Albarado, 118), Marquee Cal Gal (Jack Gilligan, 120), Excessivespending (Corey Lanerie, 118) and Wheatfield (Florent Geroux, 120).

PROCTOR’S LEDGE FULFILLING PROMISE FOR WALSH

When trainer Brendan Walsh brought Proctor’s Ledge to Keeneland in the spring, he thought he had the makings of a quality filly on his hands.

“She beat a full field of maidens on Pegasus Day (Jan. 28 at Gulfstream) and was super impressive in her allowance win,” Walsh said of Proctor’s Ledge, one of 11 invitees to Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1). “I figured we had something and I think she is only going to get better as she goes.”

Owned by breeder Patricia Moseley, Proctor’s Ledge finished third in her stakes debut, the Appalachian (G3) Presented by Japan Racing Association behind QE 2 rival La Coronel. The 3-year-old Ghostzapper filly returns to Keeneland with a couple of graded stakes victories on her resume from Saratoga: Lake George (G3) and Lake Placid (G2).

“We freshened her up after Saratoga to focus on here,” Walsh said. “I am very happy with her and now it is just a matter of getting her to the big day. It is going to be a big test for her.”

Corey Lanerie, who has ridden Proctor’s Ledge five times and was aboard for her first two victories, will have the mount Saturday.

GOING OUT HAS STRONG CONNECTION TO KEENELAND

Trainer Michael Matz stood outside Going Out’s stall Tuesday, peering in at the 2-year-old Tapit filly who will make her second career start in Wednesday’s fifth race.

“She has a beautiful pedigree, and I’ve had some of her sisters so I know the family a little bit,” Matz said.
Bred and owned by George Strawbridge Jr.’s Augustin Stable, Going Out is the fourth foal out of Augustin’s champion Forever Together, who won the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland in 2008 before conquering the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) and receiving the Eclipse Award as champion grass mare.

Forever Together, who earned nearly $3 million in her career, returned to Keeneland the following spring to win the 2009 Jenny Wiley (G2). She made a total of five starts at Keeneland – all in graded stakes – and was second in the 2007 Stonerside Beaumont (G2) and third in the 2009 First Lady and 2010 Jenny Wiley.

Going Out is entered in a maiden special weight Wednesday, at a mile on the turf. In her first race, she was second by a half-length on the turf at Delaware Park Sept. 9.

“She’s only run once and she did that nicely,” Matz said. “It looked like she was going to run by the other horse, and then maybe she just needed the race. The horse that beat her (Moon Dash) ran in California yesterday in the stakes out there (Surfer Girl at Santa Anita) and was in a photo, and got second.”

Matz is hoping for clear weather with no rain for Going Out’s second race.

“I don’t know what to expect if it rains… I hope she has a good performance,” he said. “I’m expecting her to, she’s done everything right so far. She’s traveled down here well, and Mr. Strawbridge likes it at Keeneland and he said he’d like to support it. That’s why we came all this way.”

Augustin has won 71 races, including 19 stakes, at Keeneland since the 1996 Spring Meet. During the 2010 Fall Meet, Strawbridge received the Gold Tray in recognition of his eighth graded stakes win at the track.

SHADWELL TURF MILE WINNER GRAND ARCH RETIRED TO OWNERS’ FARM

Jim and Susan Hill’s Grand Arch, winner of the 2015 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and third that year in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland, has been retired to a life of leisure at the Hills’ Margaux Farm in nearby Midway, Kentucky.

“He is enjoying his retirement,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “He had a (minor) injury and we don’t think he could have continued racing at the top level.”

Grand Arch, an 8-year-old Arch gelding, closed his 29-race career in July with seven wins and earnings of $1,894,563. The two-time Keeneland sales graduate made eight starts at Keeneland, racing here at least once a year from 2012-2016. He made three starts in the Shadwell Turf Mile, finishing second to Horse of the Year Wise Dan in 2014, and also won two allowance races here.

“He certainly was a fixture in our stable and at Keeneland, and he is a very, very hard horse to replace,” Lynch said. “He loved being at Keeneland and we miss having him at the barn.”

Lynch and his team have a worthy successor in Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart, another top-level grass specialist, who was a close second in the Shadwell Turf Mile on Saturday.

GALLOPING OUT

Godolphin Racing’s Wuheida (GB) cleared quarantine and visited Keeneland’s all-weather training track Tuesday morning. With Kirsty Milczarek aboard, Wuheida backtracked once around with a lead pony and then had an easy canter of about a mile.

Expected to be one of the favorites in Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1), Wuheida won a Group 1 last year as a 2-year-old and has raced in nothing but Group 1 stakes this year in Europe. Trainer Charles Appleby is scheduled to be here Saturday.

Also clearing quarantine was Ali Ridha’s German One Thousand Guineas (G2) winner Unforgetable Filly (GB). With Joseph Rennicks aboard, Unforgetable Filly also cantered on the training track. Hugo Palmer trains Unforgetable Filly.

PROBABLE FIELD FOR UPCOMING STAKES

$500,000 QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP PRESENTED BY LANE’S END (G1) (Entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday) – Invitees: Beau Recall (IRE) (Simon Callaghan), Con Te Partiro (Wesley Ward), Daddys Lil Darling (Kenny McPeek), Dream Dancing (Mark Casse), La Coronel (Casse), Madam Dancealot (IRE) (Richard Baltas), New Money Honey (Chad Brown), Proctor’s Ledge (Brendan Walsh), Unforgetable Filly (GB) (Hugo Palmer), Uni (GB) (Brown) and Wuheida (GB) (Charles Appleby).

From Keeneland

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