Rancho San Miguel, George Todaro and Jerry Hollendorfer’s Hystericalady, runner-up in last fall’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Grade I), makes her second appearance of the spring at Churchill Downs on Saturday when she heads a field of six fillies and mares ages 3 and up for the 34th running of the $300,000-added Fleur de Lis Handicap (GII) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
The Fleur de Lis is the first of six graded stakes worth a combined $2,025,000 on Stephen Foster Super Saturday. It also launches an all-stakes Pick 6, one of the highlight’s of the day’s rich wagering menu. First post time for the 11-race card is 1:15 p.m. (all times EDT) with gates opening at 11:30 a.m.
A multiple graded stakes winner, Hystericalady will carry high weight of 121 pounds and be ridden by 2007 Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez. The Hollendorfer trainee ran third in the seven-furlong Humana Distaff (GI) at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, a race she had won the previous spring.
Hystericalady won the Grade III Azeri at Oaklawn Park in March for her lone win in three 2008 starts. In her most recent try at nine-furlong Fleur de Lis distance, she was beaten a neck by the champion Ginger Punch over a “sloppy” surface in the 2007 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Monmouth Park.
The field for the Fleur de Lis, from the rail out, is as follows: G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and W.S. Farish’s Aspiring (Julien Leparoux, 111 pounds); J. Paul Reddam and Rockin BB Ranch’s Peach Flambe (Robby Albarado, 116); Talley Racing’s Initforthekandy (John McKee, 113); Eagle Valley Farm’s Kathleens Reel (Calvin Borel, 114); Hystericalady (Garrett Gomez, 121) and Jeff Singer’s Cowgirls Don’t Cry (Mike Luzzi, 115).
The 32nd running of the $150,000-added Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) has attracted a field of 11, headlined by Frank Calabrese’s Eclipse Award-winning filly Dreaming of Anna for the 1 1/16-mile race over the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Trained by Wayne Catalano, Dreaming of Anna secured her Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly at Churchill Downs in 2006 when she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) on the main track. Since finishing sixth to eventual 3-year-old filly champion Rags to Riches in the mud in the 2007 Kentucky Oaks (GI), Dreaming of Anna has raced exclusively on the grass, where she has compiled a career mark of 7-3-0 in 10 starts.
Garrett Gomez, who rode Dreaming of Anna to a runner-up finish to Bit of Whimsy in last fall’s prestigious Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (GI) at Keeneland, has the mount Saturday and will make up most of her 123-pound impost assigned by Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Ben Huffman.
The field for the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap, from the hedge out, is as follows: Woodford Racing’s Sprung (Shaun Bridgmohan, 114 pounds); Gold Square’s Mama I’m Home (Brian Hernandez Jr., 115); Dreaming of Anna (Garrett Gomez, 123); Elisabeth Alexander’s Sousaphone (Jesus Castanon, 112); Mrs. Paul Shanahan’s Rustic Flame (Ire) (Gavin Faulkner, 111); Hidden Creek Farm’s Street Sounds (Robby Albarado, 115); Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Lady (Julien Leparoux, 114); Hurstland Farm’s Kiss With a Twist (Miguel Mena, 113); Joseph Allen’s Danzon (Kent Desormeaux, 115); Peter Bradley’s Tears I Cry (Jamie Theriot, 114) and Iron County Farms’ Ciao (Mike Luzzi, 115).
Three-year-olds will get their chance to shine in the other three stakes that comprise the Super Saturday card: the 31st running of the $200,000-added Jefferson Cup (GII) at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course; the seventh running of the $175,000-added Northern Dancer (GIII) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track; and, the 39th running of the $200,000-added Regret (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
The Jefferson Cup features the 2008 debut of Lawrence Carroll’s Old Man Buck who closed out 2007 by winning the Grand Canyon Handicap on the closing day of the Churchill Downs Fall Meet. Trained by Ken McPeek, Old Man Buck has won three of four career starts on the grass including the Miller Lite Cradle at River Downs.
Robby Albarado, who has won the Jefferson Cup a record four times, including last year with Inca King, has the mount on Old Man Buck.
Eyeing a second consecutive turf graded stakes score is Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, who upset the Crown Royal American Turf (GIII) field with a front-running win at 21-1 odds under Garrett Gomez on May 2. Gomez returns to pilot the son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) champion Tiznow for trainer Greg Fox.
The field for the Jefferson Cup, from the hedge out, is as follows: Zayat Stables’ Halo Najib (Kent Desormeaux, 117 pounds); Whispering Pines’ Budge Man (Jesus Castanon, 117); Ashbrook Farm’s Wicked Style (Julien Leparoux, 117); Tizdejavu (Garrett Gomez, 121); the Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust’s Golden Yank (Jamie Theriot, 117); Old Man Buck (Robby Albarado, 119); Italian Stallion Racing Stable’s Bobby Blue Eyes (Miguel Mena, 117); and Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Go West Bert (Calvin Borel, 117).
Three colts that chased Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May will reunite in the Northern Dancer: Ronnie Lamarque and Louie Roussel III’s Recapturetheglory (fifth), Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Pyro (eighth) and Team Valor International and Vision Racing’s Visionaire (12th).
Winner of the Illinois Derby (GII), Recapturetheglory had been pointed for the Preakness after the Derby, but a fever less than 10 days before that race scuttled those plans.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Pyro opened the year with authoritative victories in the Risen Star (GIII) and Louisiana Derby (GII) at Fair Grounds. Prior to the Kentucky Derby, Pyro ran 10th over the Polytrack at Keeneland in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GII).
Michael Matz, who trained 2007 Northern Dancer winner Chelokee, brings Visionaire back to Churchill Downs. A winner of three of seven career starts, Visionaire’s graded stakes score came in the Gotham (GIII).
The field for the Northern Dancer, from the rail out, is as follows: Recapturetheglory (E.T. Baird, 122 pounds); Pyro (Shaun Bridgmohan, 122); Zabeel Racing International’s Tiz Now Tiz Then (Miguel Mena, 116); James B. Tafel’s Unbridled Vicar (Calvin Borel, 116); B. Wayne Hughes’ My Pal Charlie (Jamie Theriot, 116); Visionaire (Garrett Gomez, 120) and Stonerside Stable’s Texas Wildcatter (Julien Leparoux, 116).
The Regret marks the return to the grass for Pure Clan. Owned by IEAH Stable, Lewis Lakin and Pegasus Holding Group Stables, Pure Clan ran third to Proud Spell in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) in his most recent start.
However, the Bob Holthus trainee began her career on the grass, posting victories in her first two starts at Ellis Park and Keeneland. At Churchill Downs last fall, Pure Clan moved to the main track won the Pocahontas (GIII) and Golden Rod (GII) stakes under Julien Leparoux, who will be aboard Saturday.
Leparoux won the 2006 renewal of the Regret aboard Lady of Venice.
Zayat Stables’ Zee Zee, trained by three-time Regret winner Bill Mott, won the May 2 Edgewood at Churchill Downs to increase her career turf record to three wins in four starts. Her lone loss on grass came last summer at Saratoga against males when she ran second to eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Nownownow.
The field for the Regret, from the hedge out, is as follows: Sarah Lyn Stables’ C J’s Leelee (Robby Albarado, 116 pounds); Overbrook Farm’s Clearly Foxy (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118); Zee Zee (Kent Desormeaux, 122); Pure Clan (Julien Leparoux, 116); Keith Kinmon’s Absolutely Cindy (Orlando Mojica, 116); G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Magical Theater (Calvin Borel, 116) and Glory Days Racing’s Miss Mafioso (Jesus Castanon, 116).