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Irish making presence felt at Keeneland

Keeneland began its fall season on Friday with an Irish impact that carried through the weekend.

Eddie Kenneally sent out Edmond and Sharon Hudon's Jump Up, a 3-year-old first-time starter, to win the first race of the meet. Julien Leparoux kept the homebred filly in close attendance early, and then gunned for the lead around the far turn, drawing off in the lane to score by just over a length. She paid $22.40 to win, a somewhat surprisingly high mutuel considering Kenneally's proficiency with first-time starters.

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Three races later, James Graham, fresh off his Arlington riding title, rode to victory aboard Second Street City, which never trailed en route to a hard-fought half-length victory in a main track sprint. The win price came back $8.80. Graham also picked up a second win in Sunday's fifth race aboard Southern Parkway, which paid $6.20 as the favorite.

Saturday's card saw Shane Ryan's Gio Ponti return to winning form in the Shadwell Turf Mile. The 6-year-old horse, last seen running second to Cape Blanco in the Arlington Million, settled about four lengths off the early pace, crept closer around the turn and into the lane, and drew clear in the final sixteenth to win by one-half length with Ramon Dominguez aboard. Gio Ponti, eyeing next month's Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs, stopped the teletimer in 1:34.17. He paid $5.80 to win as the favorite.

The race immediately following Gio Ponti's was a first-level allowance for fillies and mares over the main track, and Joe Deegan raised a few eyebrows when Pocket Aces Stable's Pure Victory, which he trains, got up by one-half length under Shane Sellers for an upset victory. Pure Victory, which had last finished fifth in a race at Presque Isle Downs, paid $47.00 to win here.

Aidan O'Brien also sent a pair over to try the Keeneland grass on Saturday. Together, a 3-year-old filly, finished second in the First Lady Stakes, a mile race for fillies and mares. T.J. Comerford, deputizing for O'Brien, said that Together will remain at Keeneland for this Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, a race limited to 3-year-old fillies.

Less impressive was the run issued by Zoffany, which finished a distant eighth to Gio Ponti in the Shadwell Turf Mile. Zoffany went off the 5-2 second choice to Gio Ponti, but was never prominent and was last to finish. Colm O'Donoghue came over to ride both of O'Brien's starters.