The 40th running of the Fleur de Lis Handicap (GII) was won by G. Watts Humphrey’s Frivolous at long shot odds of 32-1 for trainer Vicki Oliver and jockey Jon Court in the irons.
Frivolous was winless this year finishing off the board in both of her starts, a sixth-place effort in allowance optional claiming event at Keeneland and a well-beaten ninth in the La Troienne (GI) on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. However, she is no stranger to the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs as she was the winner of the Falls City Handicap (GII) at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving Day last fall at odds of 19-1. The Fleur de Lis was her second career victory at Churchill Downs pushing her Churchill record to 6-2-0-2.
For Frivolous, this was her fourth victory in 20 career starts, and the winner’s share of $119,040 put the homebred mare at career earnings of $456,818. The Fleur de Lis Handicap, which was a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Oct. 30 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Keeneland.
“It’s a very big win for her and I’ve always believed in the filly,” Oliver said. “She dances every dance. I don’t know what happened on Oaks Day, but she showed up today. She loves this track.”
Frivolous sat just off a moderate pace early on that was set by D.P. Racing’s Yahilwa through an opening quarter mile of :23.64 and a half in :46.98 with James Graham up. Frivolous took command of the Fleur de Lis at the top of the stretch winning by 1 ½ lengths. Harold L. Queen’s Sheer Drama, the lukewarm favorite who was a close second last time out in the La Troienne (GI), was second again with jockey Joe Bravo up. Jim Tafel’s Tiz Windy also closed late to take the show spot.
Frivolous paid $66.20, $24, and $10.40. Sheer Drama returned $3.40 and $2.60. Tiz Windy under Julien Leparoux was a close third returning $3.60.
Frivolous is a 5-year-old mare by Empire Maker out of the Belong to Me mare Sixty Rocketts and was bred in Kentucky by her owner.
FLEUR DE LIS HANDICAP QUOTES
VICTORIA OLIVER, trainer of FRIVOLOUS (winner): “It’s a very big win for her. I’ve always believed in the filly. She dances every dance. I don’t know what happened on Oaks Day, but she showed up today. She loves this track. I don’t know where we’ll go next but we’re just going to enjoy this win and look for a race a little later. This was a ‘Win and You’re In’ so we’ll just pick our spots and hopefully get here there in the fall.”
JON COURT, jockey of FRIVOLOUS (winner): “I was instilled with the confidence with the way she was training with Vicki Oliver and Phil. They reassured me that she was going to bring her A game and today she broke. She laid in the perfect position and I had a comfortable pace. I had plenty of horse when she turned for home when I called on her and she was able to out foot them to the wire. She makes me delighted.”
DAVID FAWKES, trainer of SHEER DRAMA (second): “I thought we were in the perfect position, we just couldn’t get by her. Our filly [Sheer Drama] ran a big race tonight.”