Peter Blum’s 4-year-old filly Elope collected her third win in four starts with a 2 ¾-length victory over Tequilas Dayjur in Friday’s $60,700 Dream Supreme Handicap at Churchill Downs.
A runner-up to Indian Blessing in September’s Gallant Bloom Handicap (Grade II) at Belmont Park, Elope shipped to Kentucky from trainer Bruce Levine’s New York base to defeat seven fillies and mares with a final time of 1:09.23 for six furlongs over a “fast” track. Leading jockey Julien Leparoux was in the saddle for his third victory on the 10-race program.
Elope was always forwardly placed in the three-quarter of a mile sprint, but briefly lost position midway through the far turn when she squeezed between rivals. She quickly recovered with a three-wide rally in the clear at the top of the stretch and gained a short lead over Tequilas Dayjur with an eighth of a mile to run. Elope then drew clear under steady urging from Leparoux, who led all jockeys with 11 victories through the first four days of the 26-day Fall Meet.
The first prize of $38,646 pushed Elope’s earnings to $128,576 for Blum, who also bred the daughter of Gone West in Kentucky.
Elope paid $3.20, $2.80 and $2.20 as the odds-on 3-5 favorite. Tequilas Dayjur, a 22-1 outsider, returned $10.80 and $5.80. Adhrhythm finished third and paid $4. Palanka City, Vote Early, Be Golden, Gem Sleuth and Cat Splendor completed the order of finish.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Churchill Downs with the fourth annual “Stars of Tomorrow I” program – an 11-race card entirely devoted to races for rising 2-year-old stars who could trail-blaze their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. The centerpiece is a pair of Grade III, $100,000-added stakes events at one mile, the open Iroquois and the Pocahontas for fillies.
Before the races begin at 12:40 p.m. ET, about 100 racing fans have already purchased tickets to attend a unique morning handicapping seminar that will include breakfast; an up-close look at a 2-year-old in the paddock area; tips and advice from racing analyst Jill Byrne, trainer Ken McPeek, Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee and clocker John Nichols; reserved seats in the Skye Terrace; and door prizes. The cost to purchase a ticket is $25 and it will begin at 9 a.m. More information is available by calling (502) 636-4400.
Also on Saturday, Churchill Downs will formally unveil the official event logos and official artwork for the 135th runnings of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks at 1:30 p.m. in the Director’s Room.
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