Wesley Ward’s Judy the Beauty, runner-up in last year’s Prioress (Grade I) and an easy winner this spring at Keeneland, tops a competitive field of seven fillies and mares entered for the 10th running of the $100,000-added Winning Colors (GIII) on Memorial Day at Churchill Downs.
Following her second-place finish to Emma’s Encore in the Prioress, Judy the Beauty finished second to Dust and Diamonds in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (GII) at Belmont Park in September, her final race of 2012. In her 4-year-old debut, she cruised to a two-length victory in an allowance on Keeneland’s Polytrack as the 3-10 favorite.
“She ran really well and I was really happy,” said Ward, who owns and trains the filly. “We looked at this race because it gives us about five weeks till (the Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder on July 6). I also think dirt is her preferred surface. She trains and runs well on the synthetic, but when you see her breeze on the dirt she really looks great.”
Joao Moreira, a native of Brazil and three-time champion jockey in Singapore, is scheduled to ride Judy the Beauty on Monday. Moreira, who also has ridden in Australia, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, France and Dubai, would be making his U.S. debut in the Winning Colors.
“He’s a phenomenal rider and he is on a plane (from Singapore on Friday night),” Ward said. “He is going to ride at Arlington on Saturday and he’ll be here (at Churchill Downs) to ride on Sunday and Monday. He wants to be in the United States and hopefully this weekend will open the eyes of other owners and trainers.”
The main rivals for Judy the Beauty include Funnys Approval, winner of the Barbara Fritchie Handicap (GII) at Laurel Park in February, Blueeyesintherein, winner of last year’s Debutante (GIII) at Churchill Downs and most recently fifth in the Eight Belles (GIII), and Burban, runner-up to Aubby K in the Humana Distaff (GI) on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard.
Other competitors are multiple stakes winner Beat the Blues, stakes winner Vuitton and Holiday Soiree, third in the Humana Distaff in her most recent start.
Six of the seven runners in the field are stakes winners. The lone non-stakes winner, Holiday Soiree, is Grade-I placed.
The Winning Colors, which was won last year by Bob Manfuso’s Island Bound, is scheduled as Race 10 on the 11-race Memorial Day program with a post time of 5:30 p.m. (all times Eastern).
In celebration of Memorial Day, all active and retired members of the United States armed forces will be admitted free of charge with proof of identification. Also, Churchill Downs’ bugler Steve Buttleman will perform patriotic melodies following the “Call to the Post” for each race. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. and post time for the first race is 12:45 p.m.
The field for the Winning Colors, from the rail out, with jockey: Funnys Approval (Marcelino Pedroza Jr.), Vuitton (Alan Garcia), Beat the Blues (Miguel Mena), Judy the Beauty (Moreira), Holiday Soiree (Corey Lanerie), Blueeyesintherein (Leandro Goncalves) and Burban (Shaun Bridgmohan).
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 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2014 and its 2013 Spring Meet is scheduled continues through Sunday, June 30. 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.