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RACE DAY NOTES: Apropos, Stall Set for Winning Colors; On Fire Baby to Fleur De Lis
THE WAIT IS OVER FOR APROPOS, STALL IN MONDAY’S WINNING COLORS - Fresh off of a third-place effort in the Grade I Madison at Keeneland, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Apropos will bid for her first graded stakes victory in Monday’s $100,000-added Winning Colors (GIII) at Churchill Downs.
Conditioned by Al Stall Jr., Apropos won her first two starts of 2014 at Oaklawn Park, an allowance optional claiming as well as the American Beauty, which was her first stakes win. She finished third behind Judy the Beauty and Better Lucky going seven furlongs on the Keeneland Polytrack in the Madison.
“Apropos has been training great,” Stall said. “This is a race we’ve been keying on since the Madison, which is a race she ran really well in. She ended up getting trapped down in the one hole after a scratch and ran a great race. I was very pleased with that effort and we were happy with a Grade I placing. She likes this racetrack (Churchill Downs), she’s got a good record here, she got a great draw and we’re very excited about running her.”
In three starts under the Twin Spires, which were all in the 2013 Spring/Summer meet, she won an allowance optional claiming race, placed second in another allowance optional claiming event and was runner-up in the Roxelana. She will break from post position seven on Monday with Shaun Bridgmohan at the reigns.
“From the outside post it looks like she is going to be comfortable and handy, and it looks like there’s going to be a ton of speed in the race,” Stall said. “With the draw and Shaun riding her, who’s ridden her several times, I like where she is.”
The Winning Colors, a six-furlong dirt test for fillies and mares, has an approximate post time of 5:20 p.m. Monday.
ON FIRE BABY BREEZES,FLEUR DE LIS UP NEXT -- Anita Cauley’s On Fire Baby, winner of the Grade I La Troienne Stakes in her last start, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs under jockey Joe Johnson.
Trained by Gary Hartlage, On Fire Baby is expected to make her next start in the $200,000-added Fleur de Lis Handicap Presented by Etihad Airways (GII) at Churchill Downs on June 14.
“She came out of the La Troienne just perfect,” Hartlage said. “Everything has been going according to plan. We’re pointing to the Fleur de Lis next and everything is looking good.”
The 39th Running of the Fleur de Lis Handicap is one of five stakes races on the June 14 Downs After Dark card, which also features the Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI), the Matt Winn Stakes (GIII), the Regret Stakes (GIII) and the President of the United Arab Emirates Cup, which is a Grade I race for Arabian horses.
SPECIAL HOLIDAY RACING ON MEMORIAL DAY -- Churchill Downs will stage a special Memorial Day racing program on Monday. The first race on the holiday program is 12:45 p.m., and the featured event is the Grade III, $100,000-added Winning Colors, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.
All active and retired members of the United States armed forces will be admitted free of charge with proof of identification.
Churchill Downs’ popular track bugler Steve Buttleman is sure to decorate the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle with an abundance of U.S. flags and will perform patriotic melodies following the “Call to the Post” for each race.
Admission gates will open Monday at 11:30 a.m.