The Bret Calhoun-trained trio of Beat the Blues, Speedacious and Gleaming lead a field of eight fillies and mares entered for the ninth running of the $100,000-added Winning Colors (Grade III) to be run under the lights on Saturday at Churchill Downs as part of the Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka racing program.
The six-furlong Winning Colors will be co-featured on Saturday evening with the 24th running of the $100,000-added Aristides (GIII) and the 36th running of the $100,000-added Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII).
Martin Racing Stable LLC and Morgan Thoroughbred LLC’s Beat the Blues was run down in the stretch in last year’s Winning Colors by Jerry Romans’ Grade I winner Sassy Image, who prevailed by a neck. A bay daughter of Great Pyramid-IRE, Beat the Blues was also runner-up in Saratoga’s Honorable Miss (GII) during her 2011 campaign. Beat the Blues finished sixth in her 5-year-old debut in the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint, but bounced back to win the Carousel at Oaklawn Park in her most recent start. Beat the Blues will break from post three under Miguel Mena.
Calhoun and owners Martin Racing Stable LLC and Dan Morgan won back-to-back runnings of the Winning Colors in 2009-10 with Dubai Majesty, who was named champion female sprinter in 2010.
Carl R. Moore Management LLC’s Speedacious already has recorded one win under the lights at Churchill Downs this spring as the 5-year-old bay daughter of Yankee Gentleman took an allowance race beneath the Twin Spires on Opening Night Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka on April 28. The Louisiana-bred Speedacious enters the Winning Colors with a five-race winning streak and will break from post eight under Brian Hernandez Jr.
Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Gleaming finished third in her most recent start to stablemate Beat the Blues in the Carousel. Prior to the Carousel, the 5-year-old chestnut daughter of Dehere recorded wins in the American Beauty and Spring Fever at Oaklawn Park. She will break from post two under Calvin Borel.
A top challenger to the Calhoun trio could be Bert, Elaine and Richard Klein’s Good Deed, runner-up in the Eight Belles Presented by Xerox (GIII) on Kentucky Oaks Day to Contested, the runaway winner of Belmont Park’s Acorn (GI) on Memorial Day. Good Deed is one of two 3-year-olds entered in the Winning Colors and will attempt to become the first of her age group to win the race.
The bay daughter of Broken Vow will break from the rail post under Shaun Bridgmohan, the leading rider of the Spring Meet. Page Springs is the other 3-year-old filly who will face her elders in the Winning Colors.
The field for the Winning Colors, from the rail out, is as follows: Good Deed (ridden by Bridgmohan, 116 pounds), Gleaming (Borel, 120), Beat the Blues (Mena, 120), Honey Chile (Corey Lanerie, 120), Page Springs (Manny Cruz, 116), Island Bound (Leandro Goncalves, 120), Fortune Play (Ramon Vazquez, 120) and Speedacious (Hernandez Jr., 122).
The race is named in honor of Eugene Klein’s Winning Colors, who in 1988 became the most recent of only three fillies to win the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI). She was the first of four Kentucky Derby winner saddled by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Winning Colors was narrowly beaten that fall in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (now the Ladies’ Classic) by unbeaten Personal Ensign. She was the champion 3-year-old filly of 1988 and in 2000 was enshrined in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2013, and its 2012 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
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