The growing popularity of Churchill Downs’ $200,000-added Mrs. Revere Stakes (Grade II) was never more evident than the moment on Wednesday that an overflow field of 18 3-year-old fillies headed by Grade I winner Personal Diary was entered to compete in the 24th running of the 1 1/16-mile turf race scheduled as the co-featured event on Saturday at the home of the Kentucky Derby.
G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and St. George Farm Racing’s homebred Personal Diary, winner of the Grade I Del Mar Oaks, is the only Grade I winner in the field and could end up as the betting favorite in the Mrs. Revere. But it’s unlikely that she would be a clear-cut choice in a talented group of 3-year-old turf fillies that includes Testa Rossi-FR, a two-time stakes winner and runner-up to Chriselliam in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI); Sparkling Review, winner of Keeneland’s recent Valley View (GIII); two-time turf stakes winner Kiss Moon; A Little Bit Sassy, winner of Churchill Downs’ Edgewood Stakes; and British import Lady Lara-IRE, a winner in her only stateside race.
A maximum field of 14 will be allowed to run in the Mrs. Revere, which is co-featured on a 10-race Saturday program with the 11th running of the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) for 3-year-olds at the same distance on turf. The Mrs. Revere is the ninth race with a scheduled post time of 4:36 p.m. (all time EST). Post time for the first of the day is 12:40 p.m.
The race – which offers the final opportunity for North American 3-year-old fillies to compete on turf against members of their age group – is named in honor of Mrs. Revere, an accomplished Churchill Downs fan favorite in the mid-1980s. Mrs. Revere won 12 races in 28 starts, finished second seven times and earned $429,545 for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Her six wins in a dozen starts at Churchill Downs included stakes triumphs in the Regret, Dogwood and Edgewood in 1984 and the Kentucky Cardinal in 1985. She was owned by Drs. David Richardson and Hiram Polk, who have provided the winner’s trophy for the Mrs. Revere in each year of its existence.
Personal Diary came into her own over the summer for trainer Vicki Oliver when she displayed significant improvement when she crossed the finish line a close third, beaten a half-length at odds of 12-1, in Churchill Downs’ Grade III Regret on turf. The track’s stewards elevated Oliver’s chestnut daughter of City Zip to second when apparent winner A Little Bit Sassy was disqualified and placed fourth and runner-up Aurelia’s Belle was elevated to the top spot.
Oliver shipped Personal Diary west to Del Mar, where she was nipped by Kool Kat in an allowance race that was moved from turf to dirt and then scored an emphatic victory over Stellaris and My Conquestadory at odds of 9-1 in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks. Personal Diary ran third to the impressive Crown Queen in her only subsequent start in Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (GI) over soft turf on Oct. 11.
Personal Diary’s Del Mar Oaks win was just her second in 11 career races, but she carries a record of 2-3-3 in nine races on turf. She will break from post five and will be ridden by Jon Court. She carries high weight of 123 pounds and concedes five pounds to each of her Mrs. Revere rivals.
Thomas Coleman and James Covell’s French-bred Testa Rossi enters the Mrs. Revere with stakes triumphs in her U.S. debut in the 2013 Miss Grillo (GIII) at Belmont Park and a romp in the Florida Oaks (GIII) as bookends to her strong run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. But the New York-based filly has not run for trainer Chad Brown since a fourth-place run behind dead-heat winners Rosalind and Room Service in the April 5 Ashland (GI) over Keeneland’s former synthetic Polytrack course.
“She suffered a minor injury after the Ashland,” Brown said. “But she came back from it in good order and has been training well since. We’ve had the Mrs. Revere circled since about August. We just looked at it as a good spot to bring her back." J
ockey Jose Lezcano will ride the daughter of Dr Fong, who breaks from post one on the hedge.
The field of 18 fillies in the Mrs. Revere features five entrants from Keeneland’s $150,000-added Valley View (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies on turf on Oct. 17 and six from Belmont Park’s $200,000 Pebbles on Oct. 13.
Beverly Anderson and Edward Seltzer’s Sparkling Review unleashed a strong rally in the middle of the course to score an emphatic 2 ¾-length victory in over a “good” course under jockey Julien Leparoux in the Valley View. The Ben Colebrook-trained Lemon Drop Kid filly is perfect since she moved to the turf three races ago following a fifth-place run over dirt in racing debut at Churchill Downs in June. Leparoux returns to the saddle aboard Sparkling Review, who drew post four for the Mrs. Revere.
Other Valley View runners entered in the Mrs. Revere include runner-up Spring Included, Miss Frost (eighth), A Little Bit Sassy (ninth) and V V Goodnight (an also-eligible who finished fifth).
The Steve Hobby-trained Spring Included’s runner-up finish in the Valley View followed a 29-1 victory in her grass debut in a Kentucky Downs allowance race in mid-September. Jesus Castanon will ride from post nine.
Dogwood Stable’s Miss Frost notched back-to-back wins on turf in the Riskaverse and Tenski at Saratoga, but the daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin disappointed in the Valley View. Now trained by Neil Howard, she will be ridden by Robby Albarado in her effort to bounce back in the Mrs. Revere.
Ramona S. Bass’s A Little Bit Sassy finished first in both of her previous races at Churchill Downs, but lost the second of those wins in her disqualification in the Regret. She defeated Istanford, who would later defeat males in the Arlington Classic (GIII), in her victory in the Edgewood. She will attempt to return to form for trainer Michael Matz and snap a four-race losing streak when she breaks from post 14 under Luis Saez.
Swettenham Stud’s Lady Lara-IRE scored her second consecutive victory when she rallied from ninth to win the one-mile Pebbles by a half-length over Mrs. Revere rivals Distorted Beauty and Walk Close in the Pebbles. The Irish-bred daughter of Excellent Art is trained by Bill Mott, the all-time leader in wins and stakes victories at Churchill Downs, and jockey Junior Alvarado will ride from post 1.
Others from the Pebbles include Red Boiling Springs (GIII) winner Munirah, who finished 10th, fourth-place finisher Sandiva-IRE and eighth-place runner Secret Someone.
Churchill Downs-based Kiss Moon could also be a Mrs. Revere contender. Carl Pollard’s daughter of Malibu Moon finished third via disqualification in the Regret, and has won Indiana Grand’s Ta Wee and a division of Arlington Park’s Hatoof in her last three races for trainer Dave Vance. Corey Lanerie, the leading rider of the Fall Meet, has the mount from post seven.
The field for the Mrs. Revere from the hedge out (with jockey, weight): Testa Rossi-FR (Lezcano, 118), Munirah (Miguel Mena 118), Distorted Beauty (Joe Rocco Jr., 118), Sparkling Review (Leparoux, 118), Personal Diary (Court, 123), Speed Seeker (Francisco Torres, 118), Kiss Moon (Lanerie, 118), Miss Frost (Albarado, 118), Spring Included (Castanon, 118), Courageous Julie (Joe Johnson, 118), Lady Lara-IRE (Alvarado, 118), Sandiva-IRE (Florent Gerousx, 118), Walk Close (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118), A Little Bit Sassy (Saez, 118), V V Goodnight (Channing Hill, 118), Secret Someone (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Photo Call-IRE (Mena, 118) and Black Elegance-IRE (Leparoux, 118).