Iroquois Runner-up Risk It Heads Kentucky Jockey Club

Nov 18, 2023 Kevin Kerstein

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s well-regarded colt Risk It is set to make his second start on the Road to the Kentucky Derby when he faces seven fellow 2-year-olds that signed on for Saturday’s 97th running of the $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (Grade II) at Churchill Downs.

The Kentucky Jockey Club will award the top five finishers points on a 10-5-3-2-1 scale as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Season. The 1 1/16-mile event is slated as Race 11 of 12 with a post time of 5:56 p.m. (all times Eastern).

Saturday’s card is part of the 19th annual Stars of Tomorrow series and features all 2-year-old races. Along with the Kentucky Jockey Club, the stellar program also includes the $400,000 Golden Rod (GII), $225,000 Ed Brown and $225,000 Fern Creek. First post is 1 p.m.

Risk It tested the Road to the Kentucky Derby in his last start where he finished second by 1 ¾ lengths to West Saratoga in the $300,000 Iroquois Stakes (GIII) on Sept. 16 at Churchill Downs. The Steve Asmussen trainee made his debut in mid-August at Saratoga when he won a six-furlong maiden special weight contest by 4 ½ lengths as the 8-5 favorite. In the Iroquois, Risk It finished a neck in front of Liberal Arts who returned to win the Street Sense Stakes on opening day of the Churchill Downs Fall Meet. Risk It will be ridden in the Kentucky Jockey Club by Tyler Gaffalione from post No. 8.

Other top entrants in the Kentucky Jockey Club include the Brad Cox-trained Awesome Road, who won a maiden special weight at Ellis Park by 2 ¾ lengths; Champagne Stakes (GI) third-place finisher Dancing Groom; and undefeated Stretch Ride.

The complete Kentucky Jockey Club field from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Awesome Road (Flavien Prat, Brad Cox); Honor Marie (Rafael Bejarano, Whit Beckman); Real Men Violin (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Dancing Groom (Javier Castellano, Antonio Sano); Nomos (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher); Stretch Rise (Martin Chuan, Dale Romans); Risk It (Gaffalione, Asmussen); and One Red Cent (Gerardo Corrales, Jon Jazdzewski).

Inaugurated in 2005, Churchill Downs’ Stars of Tomorrow programs have helped launch the careers of numerous graded stakes winners, including more than 50 Grade I winners led by Horse of the Year champions Gun Runner (2017) and Rachel Alexandra (2009); Kentucky Derby winners Super Saver (2010) and Mandaloun (2021); and Longines Kentucky Oaks winners Rachel Alexandra (2009), Believe You Can (2012), Monomoy Girl (2018), Secret Oath (2022) and Pretty Mischievous (2023).

Fans can watch and wager on the Churchill Downs Fall Meet on, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Kentucky Derby. Expert handicappers Joe Kristufek, Kaitlin Free and Scott Shapiro will offer handicapping advice and selections on the simulcast signal which is available on or the Churchill Downs LIVE app on smart TVs.

For more information about racing from Churchill Downs, visit

UNDEFEATED THORPEDO ANNA RETURNS ON SHORT REST FOR GRADE II, $400,000 GOLDEN ROD – Brookdale Racing and Mark Edwards’ undefeated 2-year-old filly Thorpedo Anna will return on just two weeks rest and face a field of eight Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) hopefuls that entered Saturday’s 80th running of the $400,000 Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs.

The Golden Rod is one of four stakes on the fantastic Stars of Tomorrow II program that will feature all 2-year-old races. The 1 1/16-mile event was carded as Race 10 at 5:27 p.m. and is the co-featured event along with the $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) for open company. The other two stakes on the program are the $225,000 Ed Brown and $225,000 Fern Creek.

Trained by Kenny McPeek, Thorpedo Anna dominated the first two races of her young career. In her maiden-breaking performance at Keeneland, she rallied from five lengths off the early pace and stormed home to an 8 ½-length win. Two weeks later, Thorpedo Anna returned in a first-level allowance contest at Churchill Downs where she cruised to a nine-length win and earned a stout 90 Brisnet Speed Rating. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. will retain the mount for the Golden Rod and the duo will break from post No. 8.

Another top prospect entered in the Golden Rod is fellow undefeated filly West Sunset, who recently upset the Rags to Riches Stakes at odds of 7-1. Trained by Brad Cox and owned by Gary and Mary West, West Sunset debuted during the September Meet at Churchill Downs where she won at first asking by a neck in a maiden special weight. She returned six weeks later in the Rags to Riches where she defeated four rivals by 6 ¾ lengths over the sloppy surface. Jockey Flavien Prat will return to ride West Sunset in the Golden Rod from post 7.

The Golden Rod field, from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Dozen Diamonds (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver); Intricate (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh); Purloin (Jose Ortiz, Cherie DeVaux); Here’s the Spider (John McKee, Ed Fernandez); Central Avenue (Javier Castellano, Mike Stidham); Gin Gin (Florent Geroux, Cox); and West Sunset (Prat, Cox); Thorpedo Anna (Hernandez, McPeek).

The Golden Rod will award the top five finishers points on a 10-5-3-2-1 scale towards a spot in the starting gate for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).

DOMINANT MAIDEN WINNER BOOTH RETURNS IN $225,000 ED BROWN – Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Jackpot Farm and Whispering Oaks Farm’s brilliant 5 ¼-length maiden winner Booth is set to make his stakes debut against eight 2-year-olds that entered Saturday’s third running of the $225,000 Ed Brown Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The 6 ½ furlong Ed Brown is slated as Race 9 of 12 with a post time of 4:57 p.m.

Saturday’s Stars of Tomorrow II program features all 2-year-old races and the Ed Brown is one of four stakes contests on the card. The co-featured races are the $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) and $400,000 Golden Rod (GII). The Ed Brown’s counterpart, the $225,000 Fern Creek for 2-year-old fillies, will complete the stakes action.

Booth, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, dazzled in his Oct. 7 debut at Keeneland at odds of 5-1. The 2-year-old son of champion sprinter Mitole earned a stout 92 Brisnet Speed Rating for his victory. The runner-up in that race, Nash, returned Nov. 12 at Churchill Downs to break his maiden by 10 ¼ lengths and earn a 97 Brisnet Speed Rating. Booth will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. from post No. 9.

The Ed Brown field in order of post-position (with jockey and trainer): Bowstreet (Gerardo Corrales, Paulo Lobo); Agoo (Declan Cannon, Whit Beckman); Molly’s Town (Fernando De La Cruz, Genaro Garcia);Gabarra (Luis Saez, Joe Sharp); Bye Bye Liam (Jose Ortiz, Asmussen); Normandy Hero (Alex Achard, Rodolphe Brisset); Just Steel (Joel Rosario, Wayne Lukas); Divieto (Tyler Gaffalione, Antonio Sano); and Booth (Santana, Asmussen).

MULTIPLE STAKES WINNER YOUALMOSTHADME LEADS FIELD IN $225,000 FERN CREEK – Two-time stakes winning filly Youalmosthadme will attempt to cap her 2-year-old season with a victory in Saturday’s third running of the $225,000 Fern Creek at Churchill Downs.

Run at 6 ½ furlongs, the Fern Creek will go as the 12th race finale at 6:24 p.m.

Saturday’s card, dubbed as “Stars of Tomorrow II,” features all 2-year-old races. The Fern Creek is one of four stakes contests on the card. The others are the $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), $400,000 Golden Rod (GII) and $225,000 Ed Brown. First post is 1 p.m.

Youalmosthadme was a private purchase by Qatar Racing, Swinbank Stables, Steve Adkisson and Black Type Thoroughbreds following her 8 ½-length debut victory in mid-April at Keeneland. In her first start with her new connections, Youalmosthadme defeated open company by 8 ¾ lengths in the Kentucky Juvenile at Churchill Downs. The Brad Cox trainee recently cruised to a seven-length win in the Myrtlewood Stakes at Keeneland. The speedy daughter of Oxbow will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione from the rail.

Another intriguing prospect appears to be Rigney Racing’s debut winner Halina’s Forte. Trained by Phil Bauer, the fleet-footed Halina’s Forte cruised to a 4 ½-length maiden special weight victory Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. The Florida-bred daughter of Mitole will be ridden by Martin Garcia out of post No. 4.

Here is the field for the Fern Creek from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Youalmosthadme (Gaffalione, Cox); Fibber (Mitchell Murrill, Bret Calhoun); Saratoga Secret (Javier Castellano, Wayne Lukas); Halina’s Forte (Garcia, Bauer); Talkn in Cursive (Ferrin Peterson, Eugene Vosler); Ma Rae’s Girl (Rafael Bejarano, Doug O’Neill); Pinotslilgirl (Edgar Morales, John Ennis); Field Lass (Julien Leparoux, Rusty Arnold II); Wellareyouhappynow (Samuel Bermudez, Erin Thompson); Sharp Tune (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Bella Haze (Adam Beschizza, Carlos Santamaria); and Irish Maxima (Luis Saez, John Servis).

KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGER POOL 2 RUNS THURSDAY-SUNDAY – The second Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool is set for its four-day run beginning Thanksgiving Day.

The pool will feature 40 betting interests and will coincide with the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager where bettors can wager on the sires of potential Kentucky Derby runners.

Entrants for both pools will be released Monday and be opened for wagering Thursday at noon. Pool 2 closes Sunday at 6 p.m. while the Sire Future Wager will close 30 minutes later at 6:30 p.m.

DOWN THE STRETCH – Saturday’s 11-race card had a first post of 1 p.m. and featured a $137,592 carryover in the 20-cent Derby City 6 Jackpot that spanned Races 6-11. … The Churchill Downs Racing Office drew next Saturday’s Stars of Tomorrow II card that features all 2-year-old races. The average field size in the body is 11.1 horses per race. … Several of the country’s top out of town riders will be at Churchill Downs for Stars of Tomorrow II including Kentucky Derby winning riders Javier Castellano, Flavien Prat and JoelRosario.

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