John C. Oxley’s Unbridled Reward, an eye-catching runaway winner in her career debut, headlines a field of six promising 2-year-old fillies entered in Saturday’s 114th running of the $100,000-added Debutante at Churchill Downs.
The six-furlong Debutante is carded as the eighth race at approximately 4:18 p.m. (all times Eastern) on a 10-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m.
Unbridled Reward, trained by Mark Casse, was in a different class when she debuted as the 3-5 favorite against four rivals in a 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight on May 30. While racing in a driving rainstorm, she grabbed the lead after 100 yards and drew away from the field under a hand ride by jockey Alan Garcia to stop the teletimer in :52.40. She beat Heart’s Song that day by 7 ¾ lengths and that rival returned to win a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight by 1 ¼ lengths on Sunday.
Unbridled Reward was one of three winners on May 30 from Spendthrift Farm’s freshman sire Warrior’s Reward’s first three starters (the others were Liatris at Belmont Park and Strawberry Baby at Lone Star Park). A $330,000 purchase by Oxley at the OBS March sale, Unbridled Reward is the highest-priced 2-year-old sold at public auction for her sire, who stands at stud for $12,500.
Unbridled Reward, a Kentucky-bred, will break from post four under Garcia on Saturday.
The Debutante field from the rail out (with jockeys): Rousanne (Shaun Bridgmohan), Irish Nuggets (Julio Felix), Promise Me Silver (Robby Albarado), Unbridled Reward (Garcia), Ol Sanish (Leandro Goncalves) and Rachel’s Ready (Corey Lanerie).
Like Unbridled Reward, Robert G. Luttrell’s Texas homebred Promise Me Silver won in similar fashion in her debut against state-breds at Lone Star Park. Breaking from the rail, Promise Me Silver pressed pacesetter Pretty Adieu from the inside then dropped back to get a clear run from the outside. Her rider Cliff Berry sat motionless down the stretch as the daughter of Silver City powered home for a 6 ¾-length romp. Trainer Bret Calhoun, who won last year’s Debutante with Fiftyshadesofgold, has given Saturday’s riding assignment to Robby Albarado, who will break from post three.
David Ingordo’s Rousanne holds the distinction of being the Spring Meet’s shortest-priced winner ($2.40) when she prevailed late against three rivals. The Steve Asmussen-trained daughter of Desert Party went straight to the lead in her May 22 debut and dueled on the inside of Greeley’s Striker. Down the lane, she was all out to put away that rival and third-place finisher Sunrise Countess but edged away nearing the wire in 1:00.13 for five furlongs. Shaun Bridgmohan will take over the riding duties from Rosie Napravnik, who is sidelined by a shoulder injury. They break from the rail, and will attempt to give Asmussen his fifth win in the race.
Rachel’s Ready and Ol Sanish wheel back 13 days after running 1-2 in a five-furlong maiden special weight on June 8. Carl F. Pollard’s Rachel’s Ready rated under jockey Corey Lanerie and improved position on the turn before taking the lead at the head of the stretch and kicking clear in the final stages to beat Ol Sanish by 1 ¾ lengths in :59.16. Krenz Stables’ Ol Sanish is the only maiden in the field.
Little Bear Racing Stables, Ingrid Mason and Melissa Wilkey’s Indiana-bred Irish Nuggets won at first asking over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Arlington Park on May 11. The 4 ½-furlong race was against open company but Irish Nugget was one of three fillies to sweep the top three positions.
The Debutante is one of two stakes races on Saturday. The $65,000-added Roxelana, an overnight stakes at six furlongs, drew a field of 10 fillies and mares: Quiet Success (Albarado), 2012 Debutante winner Blueeyesintherein (Lanerie), Turn by Turn (Stewart Elliott), Speedinthruthecity (Julien Leparoux), Warm Breeze (Goncalves), Miffed (Joe Rocco Jr.), Devious d’Oro (Bridgmohan), Elusive Fate (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Anahauc (Jesus Castanon) and Thicker Than Water (Garcia). The Roxelana goes as Race 9 at 4:49 p.m.