Fresh off impressive back-to-back victories in allowance/optional claiming races, Kazmi Cheema and Chowhan Racing LLC’s swift 4-year-old filly Anahauc will return to stakes company Monday for the 11th running of the $100,000-added Winning Colors (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
A field of nine fillies and mares were entered Friday for the annual Memorial Day six-furlong sprint. The Winning Colors, which honors the Hall of Fame filly that prevailed against colts in the 1988 Kentucky Derby, will be run as the final race on Monday’s special 10-race holiday program at approximately 5:20 p.m. EDT.
Anahauc, conditioned by veteran trainer Bernie Flint, has won her last two starts – a 5 ½-furlong sprint in 1:02.98 at Fair Grounds in mid-March and a six-furlong dash in 1:10.23 on Opening Night of the Spring Meet – by a combined 8 ¼ lengths.
“She’s a very nice filly,” said Flint, who ranks 22nd all-time in North America with 3,317 career wins. “She’s run way, way better than any other sprinter I’ve had in a long time.”
Getting to the Winning Colors wasn’t an easy task for Flint, who patiently nursed Anahauc through a small hairline fracture in her cannon bone last summer. After it healed, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Henny Hughes returned to action at Fair Grounds on Dec. 28 and it’s been an upward trajectory ever since.
“With the times she’s been running and the company she’s faced, it clearly shows that she’s ready to go into stakes company,” Flint said. “I’ve waited as long as possible to make sure she was ready for it. It’s a tough group (in the Winning Colors) but we’ve given her a lot of time to make sure she’s good.”
Anahauc’s regular rider, James Graham, will fly to Louisville from his Arlington Park base in Chicago for the mount. She’ll break from post position six.
Anahauc’s rivals include five stakes winners: Gillian Campbell’s Aireofdistinction (2014 Spring Fever at Oaklawn Park); Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider’s Apropos (2014 American Beauty at Oaklawn Park); Martin Racing LLC, Morgan Thoroughbred LLC, Westwind Property LLC and Farfellow Farms Ltd.’s Cozze Up Lady (2014 Mardi Gras at Fair Grounds), Dan Considine and Steve Snowden’s Sweet Cassiopeia (2014 Unbridled Sidney at Churchill Downs) and Ten Broeck Farm, Inc.’s Warm Breeze (2014 Happy Ticket at Fair Grounds). Additionally, Apropos and Glencrest Farm LLC’s Jamaican Smoke are Grade I-placed with thirds in the last two runnings of the Madison at Keeneland.
The field also includes Mike Rutherford’s Socialbug, the runner-up to Anahauc on April 26 at Churchill Downs as the 3-5 favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, and Ashbrook Farm’s Southern Honey, who broke her maiden at Keeneland by 5 ¾ lengths for trainer Rusty Arnold II and returned to beat winners by five lengths at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.
The Winning Colors field from the rail out (with jockeys): Jamaican Smoke (Corey Lanerie), Aireofdistinction (Ricardo Santana Jr.), Cozze Up Lady (Robby Albarado), Socialbug (Miguel Mena), Sweet Cassiopeia (Joe Rocco Jr.), Anahauc (Graham), Apropos (Shaun Bridgmohan), Warm Breeze (Leandro Goncalves) and Southern Honey (Julien Leparoux).
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.
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 141st running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 2, 2015. The 2014 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs runs from April 26-June 29. 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.