Brushed by a Star and Joyful Victory were separated by only a head in the Chilukki (Grade II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 and those two will hook up again in the 97th running of the $150,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII) on Thanksgiving Day.
One of four stakes races created by Churchill Downs founder Col. M. Lewis Clark for the inaugural meet in 1875, the 1 1/8 miles Falls City will go as Race 11 on the 12-race program with a post time of 4:21 p.m. (all times Eastern). Post time for the first race is 11:30 a.m.
Brushed by a Star came out on top in the Chilukki to score her third stakes victory of the year for owner Team Forster and trainer Grant Forster. A 4-year-old bay daughter of Eddington, Brushed by a Star was sold for $400,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale just days after her Chilukki triumph and the Falls City will be her first start for her new connections of owner Unlimited Equine LLC and trainer Eddie Kenneally.
“She came to us very good,” Kenneally said. “She’s sound and healthy. We’ll try not to change anything. She just won a Grade II. They did a fine job with her.”
Brushed by a Star will break from post six in the field of seven fillies and mares under Corey Lanerie and carry the top weight of 122 pounds.
Fox Hill Farms Inc.’s Joyful Victory recorded her third straight runner-up performance in the Chilukki. She also was second in the Zenyatta (GI) to Love and Pride and the Gardenia (GIII) to Salty Strike.
“We’ll have to see if (Brushed by a Star) improves first time in a new home because sometimes they do that, but maybe Grant had the key to her,” trainer Larry Jones said. “We’ll see, but our horse is good and we’re ready.”
Winner of the 2011 Fantasy (GII) and Honeybee (GIII) at Oaklawn Park, Joyful Victory will tote 119 pounds when she breaks from the rail under Robby Albarado.
The main rivals to Brushed by a Star and Joyful Victory could be Arena Elvira and Afleeting Lady.
Arena Elvira used the Turnback the Alarm (GIII) as a prep for last year’s Falls City and won both events for Carolyn Wilson and trainer Bill Mott, a four-time winner of the Falls City. In this year’s Turnback the Alarm, she was sixth beaten 10 lengths by Afleeting Lady. Arena Elvira will carry 118 pounds when she breaks from post two under Junior Alvarado.
Afleeting Lady will seek her third straight victory in the Falls City after wins in the Turnback the Alarm and Lady’s Secret at Monmouth. A three-time winner at Churchill Downs, Afleeting Lady will carry 119 pounds and break from post seven under Joel Rosario.
The field for the Falls City Handicap, with jockey and weight, from the rail out: Joyful Victory (Albarado, 119), Arena Elvira (Alvarado, 118), Aint She a Saint (Malcolm Franklin, 113), Sea Level Drive (Brian Hernandez Jr., 114), Maristar (David Cohen, 114), Brushed by a Star (Lanerie, 122) and Afleeting Lady (Rosario, 119).
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