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The graded stakes-winning duo of Etoile (FR) and Tamahere (FR) trained by Chad Brown and Godolphin's homebred Micheline, winner of the Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs in her 2021 debut, headline a small but select field of six fillies and mares in the 33rd running of the $300,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) on Saturday, April 10 at Keeneland Race Course.
The Coolmore Jenny Wiley, run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, will go as the 10th race on Saturday afternoon's 11-race program with a 6:03 p.m. post time. First post time is 1:05 p.m.
Race 10 at Keeneland on Saturday, April 10 - Post 6:03 PM
|2||Tamahere (FR)||5-2||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|3||Juliet Foxtrot (GB)||7-2||Tyler Gaffalione
|4||Etoile (FR)||3-1||Javier Castellano
|5||Maxim Rate||10-1||Umberto Rispoli
|6||La Signare (FR)||10-1||John Velazquez
Trained by Mike Stidham, Micheline closed 2020 with a victory in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs and then was runner-up in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana here last fall. Her victory in the Hillsborough represented her first graded stakes victory.
Luis Saez will have the mount and break from post one.
Brown will be going for his fourth consecutive victory and fifth overall in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley when he sends out Etiole, owned by Peter Brant, Mrs. M.V. Magnier and Mrs. Paul Shanahan, and Tamahere, owned by Swift Thoroughbreds, Madaket Stables and Wonder Stables.
Etoile will be making her first start since winning the E.P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine in October. A Group 3 winner in France before coming to North America, she will be ridden by Javier Castellano and break from post four.
Tamahere, winner of the Sands Point (G2) in her U.S. debut in October, will be making her first start since finishing sixth in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount and will break from post two.
Brown's winners in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley are Ball Dancing (2015), Sistercharlie (IRE) (2018) and Rushing Fall in 2019 and 2020.
The field for the Coolmore Jenny Wiley, with riders and weights from the rail, is: Micheline (Saez, 118 pounds), Tamahere (FR) (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118), JulietFoxtrot (GB) (Tyler Gaffalione, 118), Etoile (FR) (Castellano, 120), Maxim Rate (Umberto Rispoli, 118) and La Signare (FR) (John Velazquez, 118).
A racing rarity will occur Saturday when half-siblings Micheline and Proxy - whose dam is millionaire Panty Raid, winner of the 2007 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) at Keeneland - start in consecutive graded stakes for owner-breeder Godolphin.
Micheline, a 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini, will be looking for her first Grade 1 victory in the $300,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on turf. In the day's previous race, the 3-year-old Tapit colt Proxy will bid for his first stakes win in the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.
Both are trained by Mike Stidham.
While they share immense talent, Stidham said the sister and brother have distinctive traits. Most notably, Micheline is claustrophobic in traditional housing, so she resides in a portable stall near Stidham's barn. At Keeneland, the special setup awaits her Thursday arrival from Florida.
Micheline also showed her talent sooner than Proxy did.
Micheline, who has earned $665,978 with five wins in 13 starts, flashed her brilliance before finishing third in her career debut in August 2019 at Saratoga.
"We took her to Saratoga for her first start, so that shows how much we thought about her," Stidham said. "We very rarely run horses at Saratoga unless we are very high on them."
Micheline fulfilled expectations by winning the Sorority at Monmouth Park a month later. She next was unplaced in her lone dirt start in Keeneland's Darley Alcibiades (G1).
Winner of the Honey Ryder at Gulfstream Park at 3, Micheline closed her sophomore season at Keeneland as runner-up in the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana. In her first start of 2021, she won the March 6 Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Stidham said Proxy's ability was not as evident early as his sister's was.
"Proxy is one of those horses who did everything right but not anything real flashy," Stidham said. "He was never a `wow' horse going into his first start."
Proxy earned his first victory in November at Fair Grounds in his second start and next was second in the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) Presented by Lamarque Ford. A winner of two races from six starts - all on dirt - with earnings of $227,700, he comes into the Stonestreet Lexington off a fourth-place effort in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.
"After the Lexington, we will see how he runs and decide where we go from there," Stidham said.
Stidham also reported that he and Godolphin's Mystic Guide returned from Dubai in good form despite the long travel and considerable time zone change. Mystic Guide went back to training at Keeneland on Tuesday in his first visit to the track since the Dubai World Cup (G1) win on March 27.
"And I am still floating on a cloud," Stidham said.
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