Qatar Racing, Flurry Racing Stables and Big Aut Farms’ 2020 Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) hero Shedaresthedevil headlines Saturday’s 37th running of the $400,000 Locust Grove (GIII) at Churchill Downs.
Run at 1 1/16-miles, the Locust Grove could be used to launch fillies and mares to a spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Longines Distaff (GI) on Nov. 6 at Del Mar. The Locust Grove is carded as Race 10 with a post time of 10:42 p.m. First post is 6 p.m. The race shares the Saturday night spotlight with the $300,000 Iroquois (GIII), $300,000 Pocahontas (GIII), $300,000 Open Mind and $275,000 Louisville Thoroughbred Society.
Shedaresthedevil, the 15-1 upset winner of last year’s Kentucky Oaks, has been perfect in four starts beneath the Twin Spires. Trained by Brad Cox, Shedaresthedevil surpassed $2 million in earnings with a victory in last month’s $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch (GI) at Del Mar. Shedaresthedevil began her career at Churchill Downs in 2019 where she had a 3 ¼-length debut win for trainer Norm Casse. Following a three-race stint with California-based conditioner Simon Callaghan, she was transferred to Cox in early 2020.
The now 4-year-old daughter of Daredevil is 3-for-4 to start her 2021 campaign including a one-length score in the $500,000 La Troienne. Jockey Florent Geroux has been aboard Shedaresthedevil for her last eight starts and will be reunited with the eight-time winner Saturday from post No. 7.
Also entered in the Locust Grove is last year’s $200,000 Falls City (GII) winner Envoutante. Owned by Walking L Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm and trained by Kenny McPeek, Envoutante finished second to Shedaresthedevil in the La Troienne. Following that race, Envoutante was victorious in the $150,000 Shawnee. The 4-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo has been away from the races since June 26 when she finished third to arguably the nation’s top Distaff contender Letruska in the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (GII).
Envoutante has recorded five victories through 13 starts with stout purse earnings of $571,438. Brian Hernandez Jr. has the mount from post 5.
The field for the Locust Grove from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Crystal Ball (Tyler Gaffalione, Rodolphe Brisset); High Regard (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver); Lady Kate (Adam Beschizza, Eddie Kenneally); Matera (Ricardo Santana Jr. Cox); Envoutante (Hernandez, McPeek); Our Super Freak (David Cohen, Cherie DeVaux); and Shedaresthedevil (Geroux, Cox).