A short, but accomplished field of six fillies and mares, four years old and up, are set to compete in the Grade 1 $300,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes. The race is the first of four stakes races to be run at Keeneland on Saturday.
The 8-5 morning-line favorite is Chad Brown’s Zagora. Zagora finished third in last year’s running of the Jenny Wiley in which she was beaten nearly three lengths by Never Retreat. This five-year-old mare comes in off back-to-back Grade 3 victories, the Endeavour Stakes and the Hillsborough, both at Tampa Bay Downs. She has been in the money in 13 of 16 lifetime starts, all on the turf. She'll break from post two under jockey Javier Castellano.
Second choice on the line is Graham Motion’s Aruna. Another accomplished turf runner with nine in-the-money finishes in 12 turf starts.
Aruna will make her first start of the year after finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf back in November. Winning off a five month layoff may seem like a lot to ask, but layoffs don’t seem to bother Aruna. After a five month layoff between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Aruna returned to finish second in the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes at Churchill Downs and earned a 104 Brisnet speed figure for the effort. After a two month layoff last summer, she returned to win the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. Jockey Ramon Dominguez will pilot the mare out of post four.
Dale Romans will send out his 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, Tapitsfly. She comes to the race off a win in the Grade 2 Honeyfox Stakes at Gulfstream Park in which she stalked the pace before finishing strongly on the outside. This was a different running style from her usual pace-setting style. Although rarely favored, Tapitsfly is a mare that always gives a good effort. She’ll get hot jockey Julien Leparoux in the irons, who had four wins on Friday’s card. The pair will break from post 3.
The race is the 8th on Keeneland’s card with a scheduled post time of 4:42 p.m. It can be seen on TVG.