Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Might, a full sister to $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) winner Blame, will attempt to extend a two-race win streak when she steps up to face stakes opponents for the first time in Saturday’s 37th running of the $100,000-added Dogwood Stakes (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.
The one mile race for 3-year-old fillies is the first of a pair of Grade III events set for Saturday’s 11-race program at Churchill Downs that starts with the first race at 12:45 p.m. (all times EDT). The Dogwood, which attracted a field of eight fillies, is scheduled as Saturday’s ninth event with a post time of 4:59 p.m., and will be followed by the $100,000-added Aristides (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
Might, a daughter of Arch trained by Al Stall Jr., comes into her stakes debut in the Dogwood off an emphatic 4 ¾-length romp in a seven-furlong allowance race for 3-year-old fillies on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 6. The runner-up that day was Nakano, who had defeated Might by a head in the latter’s career debut at Fair Grounds on Feb. 20 – Might’s only defeat in three starts.
Julien Leparoux will ride Might, who will break from post one in Saturday’s race at Churchill Downs’ one-turn mile distance.
If Might is to be successful in her stakes debut, she will have to turn back a field of veteran opponents in the Dogwood that features three stakes winners, including one that competed last time out in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I).
K.K. and V.D. Jayaraman’s Holy Heavens disappointed her connections when she faded to last in a field of 13 in the Kentucky Oaks won by Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty. But a return to the form Holy Heavens had displayed prior to the Oaks would make the Holy Bull filly a contender Saturday for trainer Benard Chatters.
Holy Heavens won Oaklawn Park’s Martha Washington, and then finished second and third, respectively, in the Honeybee (GIII) and Fantasy (GII) won by Joyful Victory over the same track.
Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Holy Heavens, who drew post seven for the Dogwood.
Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Gran Lioness is another filly that turned in a dull effort last time out, but could contend with an effort similar to her previous races. Trainer Bret Calhoun’s Lion Heart filly finished a well-beaten sixth last time out behind multiple Grade I winner Turbulent Descent in Keeneland’s Beaumont (GII), but that race over the Lexington track’s Polytrack course was her first over a synthetic surface.
Prior to the Beaumont, Gran Lioness scored stakes wins in the Prima Donna at Oaklawn Park and the My Trusty Cat at Delta Downs. She also ran third behind Kathmanblu in the Rachel Alexandra (GIII) at Fair Grounds.
Jamie Theriot will ride Gran Lioness, who will break from the outside post in search of her fifth career victory.
The third stakes winner in the Dogwood field is Herman Van Den Broeck’s Angelica Zapata, who scored an easy victory in the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes over synthetic Polytrack at Turfway Park. The daughter of Sharp Humor, who is trained by Ronald Pellegrini, finished fourth to Victoria’s Wildcat in the Eight Belles (GIII) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day. She will be ridden from post two by apprentice jockey Marcelino Pedroza Jr.
The most serious threat to spoil Might’s stakes debut could come from Craig B. Singer’s Salty Strike, a daughter of Smart Strike who finished a close third to Just Louise last spring in the $100,000 Debutante Stakes (GIII) at Churchill Downs. Salty Strike, who has a record of 2-0-1 in three races at Churchill Downs, drew post three in the Dogwood and will be ridden by Manoel Cruz.
The Ken McPeek trainee went to the sidelines with an injury after her promising Debutante run and did not return to racing until mid-February at Gulfstream Park. She lost three straight races, including a fourth-place run in Oaklawn’s Honeybee, until she snapped that losing string with a seven-length romp in a seven-furlong allowance race on May 20 at Churchill Downs.
Each of the three remaining fillies in the Dogwood is coming off a good race at Churchill Downs.
IEAH Stable’s unbeaten Fantasy of Flight romped to a 4 ¾-length victory in her lone start on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs. Robby Albarado will ride the John Terranova-trained daughter of Tiznow, who drew post five for the Dogwood.
William and Graydon Patterson’s Juanita enters the Dogwood off a a three-length victory in a $25,000 starter allowance race at the Dogwood distance at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day. The Mike Maker-trained Mineshaft filly was claimed for $25,000 two starts back, and will break from post four under jockey Jon Court.
Completing the field is Doug Branham’s Henny’s Hurricane, a daughter of Henny Hughes also trained by McPeek, will make her stakes debut in the Dogwood off a strong allowance run at Churchill Downs. She finished a half-length behind Secret File in a race at the Dogwood distance on May 12. Henny’s Hurricane will break from post six with Alan Garcia in the irons.
The field for the $100,000-added Dogwood from the rail out (with jockey, weight) includes: Might (Leparoux, 117), Angelica Zapata (Pedroza Jr., 117), Salty Strike (Cruz, 117), Juanita (Court, 119), Fantasy of Flight (Albarado, 117), Henny’s Hurricane (Garcia, 117), Holy Heavens (Bridgmohan, 117), and Gran Lioness (Theriot, 119).