2016 Beaumont Stakes Preview

The Beaumont Stakes is the final three-year-old points race of the year.  Keeneland hosts one final Derby prep on Saturday, and then this final Oaks prep on Sunday.  Unlike most of the recent preps, they do not offer enough points to get their winners into the big race — but for horses on the bubble, the 10-4-2-1 points allocated to the top four finishers may be just enough to get them into the gate.

In addition to these, the weekend also holds one final 100-point Kentucky Derby prep.  Oaklawn’s meet draws to a close with the GI Arkansas Derby, which Paul Mazur previews here.

The Beaumont, which has been a stakes race at Keeneland since 1986, takes its name from Beaumont Farm, owned by Keeneland’s co-founder Hal Price Headley.  Part of the land that was Beaumont Farm is now Mill Ridge Farm, an Thoroughbred operation begun by his daughter Alice Chandler, which continues to live on today.

Throughout its history, the Beaumont has been run at seven furlongs and 184 feet over the Keeneland main track.  It first gained a grade in 1990, was elevated to a Grade II in 1993, but was downgraded to a Grade III for this year.  Two Hall of Fame inductees have won this race.  Go For Wand (1990), a seven-time Grade I winner, was the Champion two-year-old filly of 1989, and the Champion three-year-old filly of her year. Xtra Heat (2001) was Champion three-year-old filly the year she won the Beaumont, winning nine stakes against her own gender and being twice Grade I placed against males that year.  At four, she finally got the best of the boys, winning the Phoenix Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland.

Though no Illinois-bred horses have won the Beaumont Stakes before, a few have won on the local circuit.  Exquisite Mistress (1989) broke her maiden at first asking at Hawthorne, during August of her juvenile year.  She never won a stakes race on the Chicago circuit, but was second in the National Jockey Club Oaks at Sportsman’s.  Dixieland Gold (1996) won the Safely Kept Stakes at Arlington the next year.

The Beaumont Stakes, as with all races during Keeneland’s meet, will be streamed live on the track’s website, as well as on the Horse Races Now mobile app.

Race 8: Beaumont Stakes (GIII), three-year-old fillies, seven furlongs and 184 feet on the dirt, post time 4:57pm EDT

The Beaumont Stakes drew a field of just five, but unlike so many races of its distance class, every single horse in the field has good form at an extended sprint distance, something between six and a half furlongs and the one-turn mile.

The short field contains a lot of speed.  R GIRLS A CHARMER rates as the most likely speed of the speed, but KINSLEY KISSES should be right up there taking it to her.  Even NICKNAME has shown speed, though she also has a well-established stalking gear, something that should serve to her advantage here.  AMERICAN DOLL has also shown speed, but unless she shows a huge improvement going first-time dirt here, she will not be able to keep up with that pair early, and may find this group a little too tough.

LIGHTSTREAM is the only true off-pace type in this race, and that makes her very attractive here.  She has only raced once before, down at Gulfstream, but that victory was an emphatic win at seven furlongs.  The form of her March 6 maiden race has already been franked a bit, with third-place J La Tache returning to destroy a maiden special weight field at Laurel later that month.  A run back to her maiden victory has LIGHTSTREAM rolling past these late; any improvement, and she wins this with flair.  There is always the caveat with Gulfstream that a horse may just be a Gulfstream Park Horse.  But, with her likely pace advantage, and 22% graded stakes trainer Brian Lynch in her corner, LIGHTSTREAM looks well set to prove herself here.  She should also be a square price, with the more experienced horses in the field likely to take money.

NICKNAME cuts back to a sprint after trying the Oaks trail at Oaklawn.  She finished a tight second to Marquee Miss in the Martha Washington, and then a distant second behind Oaks-bound stablemate Terra Promessa in the Honeybee (GIII).  NICKNAME cuts back to one turn here: a solid move, as she is a Grade I winner over a one-turn mile.  She gets rider Javier Castellano back in the irons; Castellano rode her for both her career wins to date.  On form, she is now third off the lay, and has a sequence of works at Keeneland leading to this race.  On pace, she can send or stalk just off; expect her to set up and get first run at the speedballs.

Among said speedballs, it is a tough choice between favouring R GIRLS A CHARMER and KINSLEY KISSES, but the slight edge goes to the former.  R GIRLS A CHARMER cuts back after a try at a mile, but won the Gasparilla Stakes convincingly at a seven-furlong trip two back.  Trainer Mark Casse is heating up again after a bit of a cold run in late winter and early spring, and the pair of local works suggests that she is quite purposefully pointed here.  She also gets Luis Saez back in the irons; Saez is starting the Keeneland meet on a hot streak, and rides speed horses well.  Though KINSLEY KISSES has won both her starts, and both at seven furlongs, R GIRLS A CHARMER probably gets the jump on her.  If speed carries the day, that makes R GIRLS A CHARMER the better one.

Selections:

#1 LIGHTSTREAM

#5 NICKNAME

#2 R GIRLS A CHARMER

Longshot:  See the sad sack in the corner, still mourning the loss of the Keeneland Polytrack?  That’s the longshot writer.

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