Insights: October 18

6th-KEE, $65K, Msw, 2yo, Abt. 7f, post time 3:51p.m. ET
A loaded field of 2-year-olds look to graduate in style Wednesday sprinting on Keeneland’s main track. Leading the way for the first time starters is MISSISSIPPI (Pioneerof the Nile), who comes in for top connections of Coolmore contingent and current Keeneland Fall Meet co-Leading Owner John Oxley. Purchased for $700,000 at Fasig Tipton’s Gulfstream Sale in March, the colt is out of MGSW Katz Me If You Can (Storm Cat), who took home the GIII Thoroughbred Club of America S. on the local oval in 2000. Second dam Cuddles (Mr. Prospector) was a MGSW with wins in the GI Hollywood Starlet S. and GIII Junior Miss S. The work tab for the Mark Casse trainee has been sharp in recent weeks, including a bullet four furlongs Oct. 7 in :47 (1/123) before a strong four-furlong breeze of :48 (3/38) over the Keeneland dirt.

Another interesting firster breaking from the far outside is San Juan Diego (Heavy Breathing). Out of Fortuesque (Fortunate Prospect), this $90,000 OBS June pickup for Southern Springs Stable is a half to MGSW MGISP Musket Man (Yonaguska), who took the 2009 GIII Tampa Bay Derby and GII Illinois Derby before a third place finish in that year’s GI Kentucky Derby.

The experienced runners in the field will be headlined by Sir Sahib (Fort Larned) for Stronach Stable. Out of the Ian Wilkes barn, he is coming off a late-running third-place effort in his debut at odds of 33-1 Sept. 17 at Churchill Downs. That event has produced four next-out winners, including two at this Keeneland meet; Promise Fulfilled (Shackleford) came back to win an allowance sprint, while Nanoosh (Paynter) graduated going long on the turf. Sir Sahib comes in with the best last race Beyer Speed Figure of 64.

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