Turf Sprinters Vie in Friday Keeneland Feature

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By Emily Shields

A full field of 14 will contest the $150,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (G3) at Keeneland on Friday, October 11. There are two also eligible entries waiting for scratches to get in. The race is for older fillies and mares sprinting five and a half furlongs on the grass.

Popular Morticia will draw a lot of support. The five-year-old Twirling Candy mare has never been worse than third at Keeneland in five tries, and was third in this race last year after winning it in 2017. Rusty Arnold trains, Tyler Gaffalione will ride. Morticia is coming off a grade 3 win at Kentucky Downs.

Hotshot Anna was the convincing winner of the Presque Isle Masters (G2) last out, and has won seven of her last eight starts. This will be only her seventh turf start, as she is best on synthetics, but she does have two grass wins, including at Arlington Park in August. David Cohen will ride the daughter of Trappe Shot.

Goldwood has never run here at Keeneland, but is riding a five-race win streak of turf sprint stakes victories. Those scores came at Monmouth Park and Laurel Park, and she is also a two-time winner at Gulfstream Park. The Medaglia d’Oro filly is nine for 15 at the distance.

Stillwater Cove comes in for Wesley Ward, a top Keeneland trainer. This sophomore filly was second here at this trip in April, and hasn’t won since taking a stakes race at Saratoga last summer. She had a bullet workout over the course October 6.

Violent Times is coming off a win at the distance at Saratoga against allowance company, and picks up Jose Ortiz for the first time. Oleksandra (Aus) was a stakes winner at Saratoga two back, then ran third in graded company at Kentucky Downs last out. Joel Rosario retains the mount.

Miss Gossip (Ire) is one for four at Keeneland, but ran 13th in this race last year. Rocky Policy is a seven-year-old making her 36th lifetime start. She has won two of her last three, including a stakes at Parx. A Little Bit Me is a five-year-old daughter of The Factor, and hasn’t won since taking a stakes at Churchill Downs in May. That was under John Velazquez, who gets back aboard today.

Beechwood Ella (Ire) was second last out over seven and a half furlongs at Gulfstream Park. She was 30-1 that day. Girls Know Best has won two in a row, with her last out allowance score at Churchill Downs coming after a ten-month layoff. Corey Lanerie will be back aboard for Eddie Kenneally. Girls Know Best is one for two on this track.

Painting Corners was a stakes winner at Del Mar over the summer, and a stakes winner at Santa Anita in April. She most recently finished fifth in a grade 3 at Kentucky Downs for Peter Miller, and gets Javier Castellano for the first time in this. Ruby Notion and Change of Control have drawn the far outside, with La Dame Blanche and Take These Chains (Ire) on the waiting list.

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