Westrock Stables’ Decelerator, winner of the Debutante (Grade III) here in June, bids for a second graded stakes victory on Sunday as she takes on a dozen 2-year-old fillies in the 41st running of the $100,000-added Pocahontas (Grade III) at a mile on the main track at Churchill Downs.
The Pocahontas shares the marquee with $100,000-added Iroquois (GIII), a mile race for 2-year-old colts and geldings, on the “Stars of Tomorrow I” program that opens Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall Meet, which will run through Saturday Nov. 28. First post time for Sunday’s 11-race card, of the first of two programs during the meet devoted exclusively to races for juvenile runners, is 12:40 p.m. (all times EST). The Pocahontas is scheduled as the eighth race with a 4:05 p.m. post time.
The second “Stars of Tomorrow” program is set for the meet’s closing day.
Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, who has won the Pocahontas three times, Decelerator is 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs but enters the Pocahontas off a seventh-place finish in the two-turn Darley Alcibiades (GI) over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland on Oct. 9. Despite that perfect local record and her status as the only graded stakes winner in the Pocahontas, Decelerator is a 10-1 risk in oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds for the race. New York-based Rajiv Maragh has the mount on Decelerator, who will break from post position eight and carry top weight of 123 pounds.
Louisville-born trainer Dale Romans, who edged past the Hall of Famer Lukas in the Spring Meet and now ranks second in all-time wins at Churchill Downs, will bid for his second consecutive Pocahontas victory when he sends Jerry Romans’ Sassy Image into Sunday’s race. Romans saddled Sara Louise, who is scheduled to run in next Friday’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, to defeat Rachel Alexandra in the 2008 Pocahontas. Rachel Alexanadra has not lost a race since.
A maiden winner at Churchill Downs in June and runner-up in the Grade II Adirondack at Saratoga in August, Sassy Image comes into the Pocahontas off an eighth-place finish in the Alcibiades, 1 ¼ lengths behind Decelerator. Robby Albarado has the mount on Sassy Image, who is the 9-2 morning line favorite for the Pocahontas and will carry 117 pounds when she breaks from post position three.
Other stakes winners in the field include Robert DeWitt and Catherine Kenneally’s All About Anna (15-1), who took the Bassinet at River Downs; Summerplace Farm’s Running Bride (6-1), an undefeated Indiana-bred who won the restricted City of Anderson and Miss Indiana stakes at Hoosier Park; and Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Vertical Vision (6-1), winner of two stakes races at Iowa’s Prairie Meadows this summer.
The field for the Pocahontas, from the rail out (with jockey, assigned weight and morning line odds), is as follows: Biorra (I. Ocampo, 117 pounds, 30-1), All Due Respect (B. Hernandez Jr., 117, 20-1), Sassy Image, Tiz Miz Sue (J. Castanon, 117, 5-1), Happy Week (E. Prado, 117, 6-1), Running Bride (J. Leparoux, 121), Jody Slew (L. Goncalves, 119, 30-1), Decelerator, Snap Happy (C. Borel, 119, 20-1), Vertical Vision (S. Bridgmohan, 121), Vivid Colors (K. Desormeaux, 117, 5-1), All About Anna (C. Lanerie, 121) and Tidal Pool (J. Theriot, 119, 12-1).