Not many horses record their first win in a graded-stakes race, but trainer Lon Wiggins believes Shesakitty could do just that in Saturday’s $100,000-added Debutante (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
The 112th running of the Debutante, the first graded stake for 2-year-old fillies in North America, is the featured race on Saturday’s 11-race program. It is scheduled as Race 10 at 5:25 p.m. (all times Eastern).
“She’s coming into the race well and couldn’t be doing any better,” Wiggins said of the Dolphus Morrison homebred. “She’s a nice filly and can really run.”
A 2-year-old gray or roan daughter of Tapit, Shesakitty had a rough start in her career debut on May 31 at Churchill Downs, but she finished well to be second to Blueeyesintherein, the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Debutante. Wiggins is hopeful Shesakitty can turn the tables on Blueeyesintherein with a better start.
“She walked out of the gate and then galloped for a bit…and then finally got into the race,” Wiggins said.
Shesakitty is one of two maidens entered for the Debutante, but that is not a point of concern for Wiggins.
“Most of them have only run one race,” Wiggins said. “It’s not like running a maiden against horses that all have started 15 times or all have five wins.”
Shesakitty got her start at Diamond D Ranch in Lone Oak, Texas and arrived at Churchill Downs in early May. She has had two works over the Churchill Downs oval since her career debut and Wiggins believes she has greatly improved since arriving in Louisville.
“This filly woke up when she got to the track,” Wiggins said. “They usually only go so far at the training center, but some of them improve when they get to the track.”
Diamond D Ranch has been represented by 128 stakes winners, including Rachel Alexandra, a Morrison-bred filly who won the Kentucky Oaks (GI) for Lon’s father, Hal, on her way to Eclipse Award honors as Horse of the Year in 2009. During her 2-year-old season, Rachel Alexandra finished second behind Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC’s Garden District in the Debutante after breaking her maiden at Churchill Downs in her second career start.
“I don’t try to compare any horse to Rachel Alexandra,” Wiggins said. “(Shesakitty) is a really nice filly, but Rachel was extraordinary.”
Rachel Alexandra’s regular rider, Calvin Borel, will have the mount aboard Shesakitty in the Debutante. She will break from post six in the field of 10.
GOLDEN FRONTIER IN KELLY’S LANDING OFF IMPRESSIVE ALLOWANCE WIN – There have been a number of visually impressive performances during the 2012 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs. A few that come to mind include Groupie Doll’s record-breaking win in the Humana Distaff (GI), Successful Dan’s victory in the Alysheba Presented by Besilu Stables (GII) in track-record time, Royal Delta’s smashing eight-length win in the Fleur de Lis Presented by Finlandia Vodka (GII) and, of course, I’ll Have Another’s win in the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Another much-discussed performance came outside of stakes company in a 6 ½-furlong allowance race on May 24. In one of the top efforts of the spring, George Fister’s Golden Frontier won the first-level allowance by 11 ¼ lengths in a final time of 1:15.60.
“The performance didn’t really surprise me,” trainer James Dodgen said. “We’ve always felt like he was an outstanding horse.”
It was the second win of the year for Golden Frontier, who broke his maiden by six lengths in March at Oaklawn Park. The 4-year-old dark bay or brown gelding by Canadian Frontier finished fourth in his other two career starts.
Bred in Kentucky by Brereton Jones, Golden Frontier was purchased as a weanling at the 2008 Keeneland November sale for the bargain price of $1,300. He didn’t make his career debut until February of this year, and Dodgen said it has been rewarding to see Golden Frontier perform so well.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Dodgen said. “He’s a great, big horse and so we couldn’t put a lot of pressure on him when he was younger. We’ve been very blessed with him.”
Golden Frontier will seek to repeat his breakout performance at Churchill Downs in Saturday’s $73,600 Kelly’s Landing, an overnight stakes event for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs on the main track. He will break from the rail under Jon Court and is the 2-1 morning-line favorite.
“I don’t know if he can run any better, but he’s training like he was coming into his last race,” Dodgen said.
The Kelly’s Landing will go as Race 9 on Saturday at 4:54 p.m.
ASHLAND WINNER KARLOVY VARY RETURNS TO TURF SATURDAY – Alex G. Campbell Jr.’s homebred Karlovy Vary, winner of the Central Bank Ashland (GI) on the synthetic Polytrack course at Keeneland and most recently 12th of 14 in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI) on the main track at Churchill Downs, will return to the turf Saturday as she heads a field of 10 fillies and mares entered for a 1 1/8-mile allowance on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
“She’s doing really well,” trainer Rusty Arnold said. “I liked her work the other day (half-mile in 48:80 on Polytrack at Keeneland).”
After back-to-back runs against Grade I company, Karlovy Vary gets a bit of a class break in the allowance event. Arnold is hopeful it will prepare the 3-year-old bay daughter of Dynaformer for the Virginia Oaks (GIII on turf at Colonial Downs) or Arlington Oaks (GIII on Polytrack at Arlington Park).
“Both races are a month away on July 21,” Arnold said. “I didn’t want to wait and have three months between races and I didn’t want to ship, so I decided to run her here at Churchill. The other options were to ship to Arlington for a prep for the Arlington Oaks, or I could have shipped to New York.”
While being the class of the field, Karlovy Vary could have her work cut out for her being the lone 3-year-old in the field.
“It’s against older fillies and mares, so it’ll be a tough race,” Arnold said. “She’s ready to run, though, and being a 3-year-old has its advantages because she’s getting at least a seven-pound break from every horse.”
The Kentucky Oaks was the second start on dirt for Karlovy Vary, who finished seventh in the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs last year. While plans beyond her next two starts have not been made, Arnold said he expects to keep her on turf and synthetic surfaces.
“She’s made nearly $400,000 on turf and Polytrack and zero in her two starts on dirt,” Arnold said. “I won’t rule out trying the dirt again, but it won’t be for a while.”
Installed by Mike Battaglia as the 2-1 morning-line favorite, Karlovy Vary will break from post three in Saturday’s eighth race under the Spring Meet’s leading rider Corey Lanerie. Post time for Race 8 is 4:23 p.m.
BARN TALK – Assistant trainer Norman Casse said Friday he is hopeful Floral Sky in Saturday’s Debutante (GIII) at Churchill Downs will be the start to a big weekend for the Casse barn and owner John Oxley. The next day at Woodbine, trainer Mark Casse will saddle seven horses competing in stakes events, including three for Oxley.
Casse and Oxley will team up with Lake Dancer in the My Dear, Silent Moon in the Trillium and Dixie Strike in the $1 million Queen’s Plate.
“It’s a huge weekend,” Norman Casse said. “I hope it turns out to be a good weekend for us and for Mr. Oxley.”…
Trainer Ron Moquett said Friday morning that Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield’s Amie’s Dini, who finished eighth in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI) in her last start, will next appear in the Delaware Oaks (GII) at Delaware Park on July 14.
“She deserved a little breather after the (Kentucky) Oaks,” Moquett said. “She’s doing perfect.” …
Gold Mark Farm LLC’s Scammony became the first winner for her sire, Tiz Wonderful, when she crossed the line first in Thursday’s seventh race at Churchill Downs. Tiz Wonderful completed the Iroquois (GIII) – Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) double at Churchill Downs during his 2-year-old season in 2006. …
Saturday’s fourth race at Churchill Downs is the 2012 Alumni Day Classic. Representatives from Indiana University Southeast, Hanover College, Presentation Academy and the University of Southern Indiana will be assigned a horse in the race and the top finishing school will receive a check for $2,500. In addition, each school will receive a $50 mutuel voucher to bet on their horse. Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, will present the winning school with a check in the winner’s circle following the race. Post time for Race 4 is 2:16 p.m. …
Churchill Downs’ Sunday racing program on June 24 will feature another edition of Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger. Family Fun Days offer a very special Sunday for the entire family, with attractions that include HorseRacing Bingo, Junior Jockey Club activities and more. There also will be a special performance by the Mexico Lindo Dancers at 2:30 p.m.
Family Fun Days are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Paddock Pavilion. More information is available at www.ChurchillDowns.com.
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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