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Baroness Thatcher Heads Competitive Field for Grade II Chilukki

| Churchill Downs Communications | 11/01/2008 #

(Nov. 1, 2008) – Zayat Stables’ Baroness Thatcher, who narrowly missed Grade I glory in the Humana Distaff on Kentucky Derby Day, will seek redemption Sunday at Churchill Downs as she heads a competitive field of 11 fillies and mares scheduled to start in the $150,000 Chilukki Stakes (Grade II).

Baroness Thatcher, conditioned this year by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, was installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite following her gutsy gate-to-wire score at Keeneland in a 1 1/16-mile allowance over Polytrack on Oct. 11.

The victory snapped a 15-race winless streak that included eight second- or third-place finishes in graded stakes events, including runner-up efforts in the Las Virgenes (GI), Ballerina (GI), Shirley Jones Handicap (GII) and Humana Distaff (GI).

On Sunday, Baroness Thatcher will attempt to collect her second graded stakes win. Her lone black-type triumph came in the 2007 Santa Ysabel Stakes (GIII) at Santa Anita.

The 4-year-old filly will be reunited with Robby Albarado, who rode the daughter of Johannesburg to a second place finish in her career debut on July 3, 2006 at Churchill Downs.

Baroness Thatcher’s main contenders include Millennium Farm’s Copper State, who was second in the Go For Wand Handicap (GI) and Ruffian Handicap (GI) in her last two starts for trainer Steve Asmussen; WinStar Farm’s Leah’s Secret, winner of the Chicago Handicap (GIII) at Arlington Park in June for trainer Todd Pletcher; and Castleton Lyons’ Super Freaky, who invades from the Southern California stable of trainer Doug O’Neill after finishing fourth behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Zenyatta in the Lady’s Secret (GI).

The complete Chilukki Stakes field, from the rail out (with jockeys and morning line odds): Initforthekandy (John McKee, 12-1); Striking Tomisue (Corey Lanerie, 12-1); Copper State (Shaun Bridgmohan, 7-2); Unforgotten (Miguel Mena, 12-1); Swift Temper (Kent Desormeaux, 10-1); Tiz to Dream (12-1); Marquee Delivery (Jesus Castanon, 15-1); Baroness Thatcher (Albarado, 3-1); Super Freaky (Julien Leparoux, 6-1); Leah’s Secret (Rene Douglas, 4-1); and Amazing Speed (Jaime Theriot, 30-1).

The 23rd running of the one-mile Chilukki, which honors the Stonerside Stable mare who won three stakes events at Churchill Downs for trainer Bob Baffert in 1999-2000, is scheduled as the ninth race at approximately 4:37 p.m. ET. The 10-race program begins at 12:40 p.m. ET.

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