Trainer Steve Asmussen has entered a trio of 2-year-old fillies – Adhara, Areolite and Thievery – in an attempt to collect his fifth victory in the $100,000 Debutante (Listed), which is one of four stakes events on Saturday’s 11-race “Downs After Dark” closing night program at Churchill Downs’ 38-day Spring Meet.
The 115th running of the six-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies landed eight entries. The Debutante will go as Race 7 at approximately 9:05 p.m. ET.
Winchell Thoroughbreds own and bred Adhara and Aerolite, a pair of debut winners at Churchill Downs.
Adhara, a daughter of Cowboy Cal out of the Tapit mare Tapatia, crushed well-backed Assoulin by 6 ¾ lengths in her May 28 bow, a 5 ½-furlong race clocked in 1:04.96.
Areolite, a gray/roan daughter of Tapit out of the Gone West mare Catera, beat fellow Debutante entrant Cosmic Evolution by one length in a five-furlong maiden special weight on May 21 in :58.82 as the even-money favorite.
Ackerley Brothers Farm’s Thievery, a Texas-bred daughter of Valid Expectations, won her debut at Indiana Grand, a 4 ½-furlong sprint on May 12 in which she defeated Dad’s Kiddo by the 2 ¾ lengths. The runner-up returned two weeks later to win by 6 ¾ lengths.
A Texas-bred has won the last two Debutantes: Fiftyshadesofgold (2013) and Promise Me Silver (2014), who were conditioned by Bret Calhoun.
A win by Asmussen on Saturday would equal Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas’s five-win Debutante record. Asmussen’s previous success in the race came with Cashier’s Dream (2001), Effectual (2005), Richwoman (2006) and Rated Fiesty (2007).
Cosmic Evolution, a daughter of Proud Citizen owned by Stephen Fidel and trained by Lon Wiggins, has piqued the interest of Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, who has ridden sparingly since he sustained a foot injury in a May 30 training mishap. He’s back in the saddle Saturday night after setting the pace aboard her in the race against Areolite only to be outrun down the lane at odds of 19-1.
The field for the Debutante from the rail out (with jockey): Langstars Charmer (Jareth Loveberry); Adhara (Corey Lanerie); Tia Chuy (Deshawn Parker); Sheza Fine Justice (Cory Orm); Cosmic Evolution (Borel); Areolite (Julien Leparoux); Thievery (Robby Albarado); and Don’t Boss Me (Didiel Osorio).