John C. Oxley’s Diva Express and Glenmare Farm LLC’s I’m a Looker, who hit the finish line together and dead-heated in a thrilling running of the $100,000 Winning Colors (Grade III) on May 28, will renew their budding rivalry Saturday at Churchill Downs as they headline a field of 10 fillies and mares entered for the seventh running of the $67,000-added Roxelana Overnight Stakes over six furlongs.
Diva Express, trained by Mark Casse, and I’m a Looker, conditioned by Pat Dupuy, collected their first stakes wins when they crossed the finish line in tandem in 1:09.49 for the six-furlong Winning Colors. That day, Diva Express, ridden by Julien Leparoux, tracked pacesetter Enchanting Lady while I’m a Looker, with Robby Albarado up, trailed the field after a slow break. Diva Express grabbed the lead at the head of the stretch as I’m a Looker swept her way into contention with a four-wide move around the final turn. As the two battled gamely down the lane, a determined I’m a Looker appeared to get by Diva Express inside the final 50 yards but a resolute final lunge at the wire by Diva Express created the dead heat.
Both 4-year-old fillies banked $40,180 for the Winning Colors win. Diva Express improved her record to 11-4-1-2—$194,945. I’m a Looker’s résumé is currently 15-3-3-2—$180,980.
In their previous starts, Diva Express beat I’m a Looker by a head in a swift second-level, six-furlong allowance on May 3 at Churchill Downs that was clocked in 1:08.85.
Should both fillies start Saturday it would be their third match-up against one another at the Spring Meet.
Casse, who entered the week in a tie with Mike Maker atop the Churchill Downs trainer standings with 18 wins, is in pursuit of his fourth stakes win of the Spring Meet. In addition to winning the Winning Colors with Diva Express, he saddled Catch a Glimpse and Tepin to victories in the Edgewood (GIII) and Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII), respectively.
The Roxelana field from the rail out (with jockeys and assigned weight): Milam (Corey Lanerie, 121 pounds), Lunar Gaze (Miguel Mena, 121), Ramona’s Wildcat (Shaun Bridgmohan, 121), Carolina Jasmine (Jesus Castanon, 121), Stradivarius (Florent Geroux, 116), Diva Express (Leparoux, 123), Athena (Brian Hernandez Jr., 121), Pretty Fancy (Joe Rocco Jr., 121), I’m a Looker (Albarado, 123) and Kathballu (Chris Landeros, 121).
The Roxelana, which honors the crack female sprinter who won seven of 11 starts and $264,726 between 2000-03 for owner/breeder William Landes III and trainer William “Blackie” Huffman, will go as Race 10 of 11 at Churchill Downs on Saturday at approximately 5:21 p.m. (all times Eastern). Saturday’s first race is scheduled for 12:45 p.m.
Churchill Downs admission gates will open Saturday at 11:30 a.m. General Admission is $3, reserved seating is $10 and reserved dining packages are $38. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.