StarLadies Racing will seek its first stakes win Sunday in the $58,000-added Rags to Riches at Churchill Downs with Hopefaithjoy for trainer Todd Pletcher.
The one-mile Rags to Riches is one of two stakes races on Sunday’s 10-race “Stars of Tomorrow I” program that showcases nothing but 2-year-olds to open the track’s 26-day Fall Meet.
StarLadies Racing is a division of the successful Louisville-based partnership Starlight Racing, which has campaigned 42 graded stakes winners since its inception in 2000, including Hall of Fame-inductee Ashado, Juvenile Champion Shanghai Bobby and multiple Grade I winner Harlan’s Holiday.
Starlight’s Chief Operating Officer Donna Barton Brothers elaborated on the StarLadies partnership, which was launched in 2013.
“StarLadies was born from Laurie Wolf and Barbara Lucarelli really just wanting to have an all-female partnership,” Brothers said. “Of course Barbara and her husband Donald (Lucarelli) are co-managing partners in Starlight Racing and Laurie and her husband Jack (Wolf) founded Starlight; but Laurie and Barbara had a couple of horses with some girlfriends in the past, and they just wanted something exclusive to female-only partners and they only run fillies and mares.”
Brothers expressed a slight concern with Hopefaithjoy, the 5-2 morning line favorite, going back to a one-turn mile after winning her maiden at two turns going 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland, but overall thought the 2-year-old daughter of Lookin At Lucky should fare well Sunday.
“I watched her win at Keeneland and she looked really good,” Brothers said. “She’s doing well. There’s a little concern in shortening her to a one-turn mile after she won going two turns but she’s definitely earned a chance to compete at a higher level. So hopefully she’ll be able to handle the turn back in distance.”
Hopefaithjoy will break from the far outside in post position 11 with jockey Rosie Napravnik in the saddle. Post time for the Rags to Riches is set for approximately 4:44 p.m. ET.
The first of 10 races on Sunday’s opening day card is 12:40 p.m. ET. Grandstand gates open at 11:30 a.m. ET.
CONQUEST TSUNAMI GETS ANOTHER SHOT ON DIRT IN STREET SENSE
After going 4-for-4 on synthetic surfaces to start his career, Conquest Stables LLC’s Conquest Tsunami will seek his first victory on dirt in Sunday’s $58,000-added Street Sense for trainer Mark Casse.
In his most recent start, the 2-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic finished sixth in his dirt debut, the Breeders’ Futurity (Grade I) at Keeneland. Casse’s Churchill Downs-based assistant trainer and son Norman Casse said the Street Sense should be a better indication of Conquest Tsunami’s ability to run on dirt.
“I really thought he ran a solid race in the Breeders’ Futurity,” Casse said. “We figured he was going to get a little tired being his first start on the dirt going two-turns. But we think we’ll get a truer gage on what he really is by running him in the Street Sense.”
Casse noted that Conquest Tsunami’s dirt workouts have been solid and that the colt seems to like the Churchill Downs track.
“He’s worked extremely well on the dirt,” Casse said. “We think he likes it a lot and we don’t think it’s fair to look at that one race and say that defines him on the dirt. So he’s going to get another chance to prove himself.”
Conquest Tsunami will break from post position six as the 2-1 morning line favorite in the Street Sense’s field of seven 2-year-olds with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan in the saddle.
The Street Sense goes as Race 4 on Sunday with an approximate post time of 2:06 p.m.
TOP STARS OF TOMORROW ALUMNI
The successful Stars of Tomorrow programs, inaugurated in 2005, have helped launch the careers of numerous graded stakes winners, including 33 Grade I winners and 19 millionaires.
The most notable alumni include 2010 Kentucky Derby champ Super Saver; 2011 Preakness and 2012 Met Mile and Clark Handicap winner Shackleford; 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra; 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2013 Stephen Foster Handicap hero Fort Larned; 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can; and 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge.
Last year’s renewals included future stakes stars such as Albano, Commanding Curve, General a Rod, Ride On Curlin, Southern Honey, Stonetastic, Tapiture, Tiz Windy and Unbridled Forever.
TRICK OR TREAT PARADE SUNDAY
There’s a special treat for the kiddos on Sunday’s opening day card at Churchill Downs. Track mascot “Churchill Charlie” will lead a Halloween “Trick or Treat” Costume Parade around the facility starting at Gate 17 at 2:30 p.m. and children can pick up candy and other “treats” at several different “Boo Stations.”
MAKER LOOKS TO MAKE IMPACT WITH TRIO OF BREEDERS’ CUP HOPEFULS
Trainer Mike Maker’s trio of Breeders’ Cup hopefuls – International Star (Juvenile Turf), Thank You Marylou (Filly & Mare Sprint) and Vicar’s in Trouble (Dirt Mile) – are scheduled to depart Louisville for Southern California on Saturday. All owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Maker has secured Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez to ride all three mounts.
International Star is coming off a victory in the Oct. 5 Grey (Grade III) at Woodbine on the synthetic Polytrack surface, and Maker thinks going back to turf should be no problem for the 2-year-old son of Fusaichi Pegasus.
“I’m not concerned about the turf,” Maker said. “It should be a harder turf course so no worries there. He’s shown up in every race and I look forward to him doing that next weekend, too.”
International Star took his maiden debut on turf at Belmont and finished second on turf in the Aug. 22 With Anticipation (GII) at Saratoga.
Thank You Marylou, third in the Raven Run (GII) at Keeneland on Oct. 18, will face older fillies and mares for the first time in the Filly & Mare Sprint, and Maker thinks she needs an outside post position to be at her best. She broke from the inside post position one in the Raven Run.
“She came out of the last race fine,” Maker said. “She got stuck on the inside in that last one and she runs a lot better with an outside post position, so hopefully we can get lucky with the draw and be in good shape.”
Thank You Marylou was a 6 ½-length winner in the Dogwood (GIII) at Churchill Downs prior to the Raven Run, where she broke from the six-hole in the seven-horse field.
Vicar’s In Trouble is coming off a runner-up effort in the Oct. 4 Indiana Derby (GII) in his last outing, and also will face older horses for the first time in the Dirt Mile.
“It’s always tough taking on older horses for the first time,” Maker said. “But then again, he runs his race every time so we figured we’d give him a shot.”
Vicar’s In Trouble has won four of 10 starts and earned $1,228,292.
OPENING DAY AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
Sunday, Oct. 26 – Opening Day / Stars of Tomorrow I
- 10 races from 12:40-5:16 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
- Co-Feature (Race 4 at 2:06 p.m.): $58,000-added Street Sense, 2yo, 1 M
- Co-Feature (Race 9 at 4:44 p.m.): $58,000-added Rags to Riches, 2yo, f, 1 M
- Trick or Treat Parade: Children are encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes and join Churchill Charlie in a trick-or-treat journey around the track to collect candy. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. and the parade will start at 2:30 p.m.
- Box Office hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.