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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Haygard Fayette Stakes comes our way from Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky this Saturday, October 26. Horses three years old and upward will take to Keeneland's main track and go 1 1/8 miles in search of the winner's share of the $200,000 purse.
The Fayette Stakes has attracted a field of nine to go in race 9 on Keeneland's Saturday card. Post time is 5:21 PM. Let's take a brief glance into the past performance of all nine combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.
Willcox Inn - finished a good second behind Skyring in the Dixie Stakes in May to follow a nice second in the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz March 30 at Fair Grounds. Before that was a fourth in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap in February and an OK third in the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes in January. He also had a disappointing ninth in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile. Last time out was a good third behind Silver Max and Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile October 5 after a great win in the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park August 31 and his worst effort of the year - a disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 United Nations July 6. Willcox Inn has won or placed in five of his seven previous races - all graded stakes and will have James Graham in the saddle from post 7.
Winning Cause - Todd Pletcher trained colt had placed in eight of nine starts this year - the best result coming April 20 - a terrific win in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland but fell off to finish tenth last time out in the Grade 3 Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland October 4. He also had a good second in the Grade 3 Ontario Derby at Woodbine September 15 and a pair of seconds in minor stakes action at Woodbine this year - the Marine Stakes in May and the Victoria Stakes in June to go along with a win in the minor Sir Cat Stakes at Saratoga. Winning Cause has won three of four starts on the main track including this year's Lexington and will try to become the 11th 3-year-old to win the Fayette. Joe Rocco Jr. has the mount on Winning Cause, who will break from post 9.
Finnegans Wake - Dale Romans trained colt won an Allowance at Churchill Downs June 30 2012 - the last time he tasted victory. Earlier this year he had three straight fourth place finishes - in the Grade 1 Arlington Millions, in the Man o' War Stakes and in the competitive Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap June 8 but is coming off his best result in a while - a second in the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Belmont Park September 7. He has just two wins, two seconds and three third place finishes in 16 career starts but is coming off his best performance on over a year.
You Know I Know - John Sadler trained gelding made his stakes debut August 25 and finished a very respectable third at 40-1 odds in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic and followed that with a disappointing eighth last time out in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita September 28. He now has 19 career starts with five wins, a second and four third place finishes and enters the Fayette having won two of his last five starts - both Allowance Optional Claiming - the last one coming on this track August 3. He will be looking to regain his Pacific Classic Stakes form this week but hasn't looked great ahead of the Fayette
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Nikki's Sandcastle - has 34 career starts with 8 wins. Had a two race win streak - the El Prado Stakes December 22 here and the Starter Stakes December 1 also at Gulfstream interrupted with a fourth as favorite in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes January 12. Also in 2012 he had three second place finishes - two minor stakes races and the 2012 Fayette Stakes here in October behind Newsdad. He has struggled lately however - a pair of sixths including the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida in February was followed by a third last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Arlington Park August 17. He has been up and down in his career, is the defending runner up in this race but enters this weekend in sketchy form.
Lea - Albert Stall trained colt has nine career starts but he has hit the board in all except last time out - a fourth in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga August 31. His results include four wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. He was a respectable third in the Grade 2 Fourstardave August 10 after a decent second in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap behind Wise Dan at Churchill Downs June 29 and he recorded two straight wins - the best of which coming in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes in November. He has just four starts this year but has looked good in all.
Ol Army - has yet to place in any of his four stakes starts (a fifth in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap in June and a twelfth in the Shadwell Turf Mile in October 2012 included) but has finished second in three of his last four starts - all Allowance races with the last coming on this track October 11.
Villandry - will race in stakes company for the first time Saturday but enters having won two of his last three and three of his last five starts - two Allowance scores - one on this track and a MSW at Ellis Park in July 2012. He has just one start this year - a third on an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track October 4.
Set the Sail - finished sixth in his only graded stakes action - the Grade 3 Saranac in September 2012 but has concentrated on Allowance races since. He enters this weekend having won two of his last three starts - both Allowance Optional Claiming races at Churchill Downs this summer. Set the Sail has four wins, three seconds and a third place finish in 12 career starts.
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