Domino Stud of Lexington’s Miss Isella will go for her third consecutive Grade II stakes victory at Churchill Downs on Saturday when she totes high weight of 122 pounds in the 35th running of the $200,000-added Fleur De Lis Handicap (Grade II).
The Fleur De Lis, for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 1/8 miles on the main track, is one of four graded stakes Saturday on Reunion Day Featuring the 28th running of the $600,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I).
In addition to the Stephen Foster and the four other graded stakes, the connections from Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra will receive their Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trophies, respectively. First post time for Saturday’s 11-race card is 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern) and grandstand admission gates open at 11:30 a.m.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, Miss Isella made her graded-stakes debut in last fall’s Falls City Handicap (Grade II) here, winning by a length over Skylighter at 1 1/8 miles. On May 1, Miss Isella handed One Caroline her first career defeat in six starts in winning the Louisville Distaff.
Regular rider Calvin Borel will be aboard Saturday and break from post position three. Miss Isella will concede from 1-9 pounds to her eight rivals in the Fleur De Lis, which goes as the ninth race on the card at approximately 4:59 p.m.
The second high weight in the race is Southern Equine Stable’s Santa Teresita at 121 pounds. Trained by Eric Guillot, Santa Teresita won the Grade I Santa Maria Handicap this winter at Santa Anita and most recently ran second in the Sixty Sails Handicap (Grade III) at Hawthorne on April 18. Aaron Gryder will ride Santa Teresita and break from post position four.
Hystericalady won last year’s Fleur De Lis.
The field for the Fleur De Lis, from the rail out (with jockey, assigned weight and morning line odds): Unforgotten (Robby Albarado, 115 pounds, 15-1), Distinctive Dixie (Jesus Castanon, 114, 10-1), Miss Isella (Calvin Borel, 122, 2-1), Santa Teresita (Aaron Gryder, 121, 3-1), Copper State (Shaun Bridgmohan, 115, 6-1), Temple Street (Julien Leparoux, 113, 8-1), French Kiss (Joe Johnson, 113, 20-1), Swift Temper (Garrett Gomez, 117, 8-1) and Kiss With a Twist (Miguel Mena, 115, 6-1).
The other Grade II on Saturday’s card is the 34th running of the $150,000-added Jefferson Cup for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course. The Jefferson Cup is the first stakes race on the card and goes as the seventh race at approximately 3:57 p.m.
Trainer Rusty Arnold, who won this race in 1982 with Wavering Monarch and in 1990 with Divine Warning, will send out one of the favorites in El Crespo.
Owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., El Crespo captured the Grade III Palm Beach at 1 1/8 miles this winter at Gulfstream Park and has a turf record of 4-2-1-1. Julien Leparoux will ride El Crespo and break from post position five under the top impost of 121 pounds.
Also expected to draw interest at the windows in the race won last year by Tizdejavu are WinStar Farm’s Advice, who will be making his turf debut as the 5-2 morning line favorite after finishing 13th in the Kentucky Derby, and Darley Stable’s Florentino (JPN), who was scratched out of last Friday’s Hill Prince (Grade III) at Belmont Park when it was rained off the turf.
The field for the Jefferson Cup, from the hedge out: Advice (Garrett Gomez, 117 pounds, 5-2), Jake Wil Gallop (Tuffy Collier, 117, 10-1), No Inflation (Robby Albarado, 117, 7-2), Florentino (Alan Garcia, 117, 3-1), El Crespo (Julien Leparoux, 121, 3-1), Har D Boy (Shaun Bridgmohan, 117, 12-1) and Bruce N Autumn (Miguel Mena, 117, 10-1).
The filly companion to the Jefferson Cup is the 40th running of the $150,000-added Regret (Grade III), which goes as the day’s final race at 5:58 p.m.
Silverton Hill LLC’s Excelente (IRE) and Glen Hill Farm’s Prytania, second and fourth, respectively, in the American 1,000 Guineas at Arlington Park on May 23, help comprise an evenly matched field of 11 in the Regret.
Miguel Mena, who rode Excelente (IRE) for the first time at Arlington, has the call again Saturday and will break from post position one.
Pure Clan won the 2008 Regret and used that victory as a springboard to victory in the American Oaks Invitational (Grade I) three weeks later at Hollywood Park. Julien Leparoux, who rode Pure Clan to victory last year and scored in the Regret in 2006 on Lady of Venice, rides Prytania for trainer Tom Proctor.
Proctor, who won the race in 2005 with Rich In Spirit, also sends out Keertana who gave jockey Robby Albarado his 4,000th career victory on May 30. Albarado has the call Saturday.
The field for the Regret, from the hedge out: Excelente (Miguel Mena, 116 pounds, 5-1), The Best Day Ever (Corey Lanerie, 116, 8-1), Rena (Garrett Gomez, 116, 8-1), Satans Quick Chick (Jeremy Rose, 116, 30-1), Banker’s Choice (Calvin Borel, 116, 9-2), Oculuna (Alan Garcia, 116, 6-1), Hot Cha Cha (Jesus Castanon, 116, 8-1), Super Poni (Tony Farina, 116, 50-1), Keertana (Robby Albarado, 116, 5-1), Prytania (Julien Leparoux, 116, 7-2) and Kiss Mine (Jon Court, 116, 20-1).
The 12th running of the $100,000-added Northern Dancer (Grade III) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track drew a field of eight, headed by A. Stevens Miles Jr.’s Warrior’s Reward. The Northern Dancer is the eighth race on the card at approximately 4:29 p.m.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, Warrior’s Reward has won two of four career starts, including an impressive allowance triumph May 1 over Munnings, who came back to win the Woody Stephens Stakes (Grade II) last Saturday at Belmont Park. Calvin Borel has the mount on Warrior’s Reward, who will break from post position three.
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the Northern Dancer last year with Pyro and also in 2001 with Compendium, will send out two starters in Heiligbrodt Racing’s Stable’s Dumar and Stonestreet Stables’ Omniscient.
The field for the Northern Dancer, from the rail out: Omniscient (Robby Albarado, 116 pounds, 9-2), Successful Dan (Julien Leparoux, 116, 7-2), Warrior’s Reward (Calvin Borel, 116, 6-5), Dumar (Shaun Bridgmohan, 116, 8-1), Final Judgement (Aaron Gryder, 116, 15-1), Broad Stone (Jeremy Rose, 116, 20-1), Parade Clown (Miguel Mena, 116, 8-1) and Gresham (Garrett Gomez, 116, 10-1).
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