It took until the 31st running of the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) for Miss Temple City to become the first female to win the Keeneland feature.
On Saturday she’s out to ensure the next gap is only one year.
The Graham Motion-trained mare is the 3-1 morning-line favorite to win the Shadwell Turf Mile and make it three grade one victories against the boys at Keeneland. She also won the Maker’s 46 Mile last year.
The race is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge event, guaranteeing the winner a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
Miss Temple City took a couple of starts to reach her best form this year, but returned to winning form in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (G3) Sept. 9.
Second to her in the Maker’s 46 Mile last year was Heart to Heart, who still seeks his first grade one victory. He filled the same spot in the race this year behind American Patriot, who also starts at Keeneland on Saturday.
English trainer David O’Meara brings two horses to Keeneland for the race. The better-known in North America is Mondialiste, winner of the 2015 Woodbine Mile (G1) and 2016 Arlington Million (G1), and second in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland behind Tepin. At his most recent start is He finished fourth to World Approval in the Woodbine Mile.
His second chance, Suedois (15-1 on the morning line), shouldn’t be ignored either. His form has been at a similar level to Mondialiste in Europe during his career, featuring a number of group one placings. He had run mostly at six and seven furlongs, but at his first start at a mile he won the Boomerang Stakes (G2) at Leopardstown in Ireland.
Dual Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) winner Divisidero also starts, trying to prove he’s capable of winning top-notch races at tracks other than Churchill Downs. Ballagh Rocks also deserves respect after his third-place finish in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1).
If they are at their best, Miss Temple City and Mondialiste should be hard to beat, but it’s difficult to know if they’re at the same level as in previous years. It may be worth a serious look at Suedois, especially as he may be over the odds.