Coming off a gate-to-wire victory in the $103,800 TaWee at Indiana Grand, Carl Pollard’s Kiss Moon will enter next Saturday’s $200,000-added Mrs. Revere (Grade II) at Churchill Downs seeking her first graded stakes win.
Trained by Dave Vance, Kiss Moon began her career on dirt and was a Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) contender after finishing second in the Fantasy (GIII) at Oaklawn. After running 12th in the Oaks, Vance decided to try the 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon on grass because he had success with Kiss Moon’s dam, Kiss the Devil, and half-sister, Kiss Mine, on turf.
“Her mother was superior on turf, her sister was superior on turf, so it just made sense for us to switch her over after her Oaks performance,” Vance said. “The main reason we didn’t start her on turf earlier was because there wasn’t any turf where we had been training at Oaklawn.”
Kiss the Devil won the 2003 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) at Churchill Downs for Vance and Pollard. Meanwhile, Kiss Mine won several listed turf stakes.
With a full field expected for the Mrs. Revere, Vance said that while he would prefer Kiss Moon to run close to the lead early, he ultimately will have to wait and see who else shows up and what post position they get before committing to a strategy.
“She can run well in a number of ways,” Vance said. “We will just have to see what the race looks like when we shake out the pills and see who gets where and what our post position is.
“I prefer to train her to be on the lead or sit right off of it. So with that size of field and that many different types of horses we probably want to be close to the front, but don’t necessarily have to be.”
Vance wasn’t sure that his filly would be able win on the lead for the entire 1 1/16-mile turf contest. In her only victory going that distance, the $75,000 Hatoof at Arlington on Aug. 16, she stalked leaders in the early stages and came on in the stretch to win by a length.
“More than likely she’ll have to be off the pace a little bit,” Vance said. “There doesn’t seem like there will be a ton of blazing speed in there, but if she goes, I’m not sure she can stay up the entire race going 1 1/16 miles. But she ran a big race in her last one up at Indiana and she came out of it great so hopefully she’ll have another big one in her here.”
While Vance is excited for the Mrs. Revere, he acknowledged it would be no easy feat for Kiss Moon, who has earned $266,676 from four wins in 11 starts.
“This is a great race – a $200,000 Grade II and the last turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies of the year in this area,” Vance said. “It’s going to be a full, competitive field so it won’t be easy. But we think we’ve got a shot and we’re excited.”
The Mrs. Revere is limited to a field of 14. Early possible starters in order of career earnings (with trainer), according to stakes coordinator Dan Bork: Testa Rossi-FR (Chad Brown), Kiss Moon (Vance), Miss Frost (Neil Howard), Lady Lara-IRE (Bill Mott), Distorted Beauty (Alfredo Callejas), Sandiva-IRE (Todd Pletcher), A Little Bit Sassy (Michael Matz), Walk Close (Christophe Clement), Courageous Julie (Kiaran McLaughlin), Sparkling Review (Ben Colebrook), Spring Included (Steve Hobby), Speed Seeker (Joan Scott), Munirah (Graham Motion), Sumba Sunset (Matz), Secret Someone (Mott), Photo Call-IRE (Motion), Black Elegance-IRE (Wayne Catalano) and Cash For Ever-IRE (Eddie Kenneally).
The Mrs. Revere will share top billing next Saturday with the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds, also at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course. Early possible starters include Afortable (Chris Block), Archway to Heaven (John Good), Bashart (Matz), Captain Dixie (Kellyn Gorder), De Facto (D. Wayne Lukas), Heart to Heart (Brian Lynch), Hesinfront (Dale Romans), Shiva Ryan (Mohamed Jehaludi), Sky Flight (Mark Casse) and Wallyanna (Michael Pino).
Entries for both races will be taken Wednesday morning.
RAGS TO RICHES RUNNER-UP BACK IN OPTIONAL CLAIMING EVENT SUNDAY
Fresh off a runner-up effort in the $62,768 Rags to Riches on Churchill Downs’ opening day, Xpress Thoroughbreds LLC’s Simply Confection has been made the 5-2 favorite for Sunday’s fifth race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming event for 2-year-old fillies.
Trained by William "Jinks" Fires, Simply Confection will be making her second start in two weeks, and Fires admitted it’s a quick turnaround.
“We originally wanted to run her in a non-winners of two allowance race at the beginning of the meet,” Fires said. “When that race didn’t go, we put her in the stakes and she ran well. She’s always been a game filly and always tries hard.
“I may be running her back a little sooner than I normally do, but I think she will be fine. If she runs well tomorrow we’ll think about wheeling her back again in the (Nov. 29) Golden Rod.”
The 2-year-old daughter of Candy Ride-ARG broke her maiden on turf at Ellis Park and proceeded to finish eighth in a turf stakes at Kentucky Downs, but Fires said she has handled the dirt well also.
“I think she can run either way, turf or dirt doesn’t really matter to her,” Fires said. “She seems to be improving though. Her last race was the first time she went a mile and I expect her to get better in this next one going a mile and a sixteenth.”
Simply Confection’s pedigree suggests she should be able to go longer, as her dam is a half-sister to Hall of Fame inductee and Champion mare Ashado and Grade I turf winner Sunriver.
Jon Court will ride Simply Confection, who will break from post position two in Sunday’s fifth race which goes at 2:35 p.m. ET.
NOMINATION REMINDER – Horsemen have until Wednesday to nominate horses to the four lucrative stakes scheduled for closing weekend (Nov. 27-30): the Grade II, $200,000-added Falls City Handicap (fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles); Grade I, $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles); Grade II, $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles); and Grade II, $200,000-added Golden Rod (2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles).
MILESTONE WATCH – Robby Albarado entered Saturday needing one victory to become the third jockey to reach the 1,000-win milestone at Churchill Downs. He has seven mounts Saturday: Katy Lied (Race 1), Bordini (Race 4), Liz Pendens (Race 6), Authentic Drifter (Race 7), Help the Children (Race 8), Silver Max (Race 9) and Karlyrae’swarrior (Race 10)… Corey Lanerie began Saturday with 597 wins, three victories shy of becoming only the 11th jockey in track history to win 600 races at Churchill Downs.
EVENTS THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Sunday is Family Adventure Day Presented by Kroger, which was a hit for families during the Spring and September meets with plenty of games and activities for children while the adults enjoy an exciting day of horse racing.
ON THE WORKTAB – Grade II winner Pick of the Litter breezed a half-mile in :48.80 to highlight Saturday’s worktab. Additionally, Grade III winner Flashy American covered five furlongs in 1:01.20.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. moved into second place in the Churchill Downs jockey standings with two wins Friday. Corey Lanerie has a 16-9 lead.… Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey won their fifth race of the meet Friday when Book Club prevailed in Race 6, giving them a 5-4 lead on Gary and Mary West in the owner’s standings.