Robert H. Zoellner’s homebred She’s All Wolfe, the longest shot at 20-1 in a compact field of five fillies and mares, powered past tiring leaders Ava’s Grace, Army Wife and odds-on 2-5 favorite Pauline’s Pearl in deep stretch to win Saturday’s third running of the $179,500 Shawnee Stakes (Listed) at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Donnie Von Hemel, She’s All Wolfe covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.34 under jockey Francisco Arrieta, who collected his first Churchill Downs stakes victory.
She’s All Wolfe was relegated in last during the early stages as Ava’s Grace led the cast through early fractions of :23.49, :47.56 and 1:11.85 with Army Wife tracking a length back in second and Pauline’s Pearl, the winner of the $750,000 La Troienne (Grade I) on Kentucky Oaks Day, another length back in third.
Ava’s Grace cut the corner on the final turn determined to lead all the way and crossed the mile marker in 1:36.73 with Army Wife and Pauline’s Pearl all out to keep up. All the while, She’s All Wolfe tipped out with a wide move and came over the top of the leading trio inside the final sixteenth of a mile with a strong closing kick for the upset win.
“In the first turn she got into trouble but after that I was able to get her to relax up the backside,” Arrieta said. “I know (Pauline’s Pearl) was a big favorite but I thought my filly was going to be just as tough with her again. Around the turn I was able to get closer to the front and in the stretch she was able to keep running hard past those fillies. It’s amazing to win a race like this for Donnie and the owners.”
She’s All Wolfe returned $42.40, $10.40 and $13.60. Ava’s Grace, under David Cohen, returned $4.60 and $7.40. Army Wife, with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, finished another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $6.80.
It was another half-length back to Pauline’s Pearl. Temper Time faded to last.
She’s All Wolfe is a 5-year-old mare by Magna Graduate out of the Include mare She’s All In. She was bred in Oklahoma by her owner.
With her victory in Saturday’s Shawnee worth $108,500, She’s All Wolfe improved her record to 8-6-2 in 25 starts with earnings of $595,411.
This was the fifth stakes win of She’s All Wolfe’s career but first against open company. Previously, she won four stakes against Oklahoma-breds: the Cinema at Will Rogers Downs in 2020 and three consecutive runnings of the Oklahoma Classics Distaff at Remington Park in 2020-22.
“I think going into the race we all knew Pauline’s Pearl was the one to beat,” Von Hemel said. “We ran against her the last couple of starts but my filly was training really well out of the (La Troienne) and I was willing to give her another chance. She got into a little trouble in that first turn but she kept battling all the way to the wire. We’re very proud of her and thrilled to win this race.”
The Shawnee Stakes, named after the neighborhood in western Louisville, is the local prep race for the $350,000 Fleur de Lis (GII) on Saturday, July 2.