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Fillies look strong in Kentucky Juvenile

With trainers Wesley Ward, Steve Asmussen and Todd Pletcher dominating the two-year-old action at the recently concluded Keeneland spring meet, it stands to reason they would be well represented in Thursday's $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile S. (G3) at Churchill Downs, the first graded event on the national juvenile calendar. Those three horsemen will send out six of the nine starters in the five-furlong dash.

Since the race's inception in 1988, seven fillies have prevailed in the Kentucky Juvenile including divisional champion Chilukki in 1999, and on sheer numbers the chances are good that an eighth female winner might arise. Five of the entrants are fillies, including both of Ward's entrants, AEGEAN (Northern Afleet) and JEALOUS AGAIN (Trippi), who will break from the two inside posts. Aegean scored in her April 4 debut by 3 1/2-lengths over next-out winner Midst (Closing Argument), while Jealous Again crushed a field of colts the day before by 11 1/4 lengths and earned a 104 BRIS Speed rating. Rene Douglas, who rode Aegean, moves over to Jealous Again for the Kentucky Juvenile while Elvis Trujillo picks up the mount on Aegean.

The Steve Asmussen trio of WESTERN SMOKE (Smoke Glacken), KINSOLVING (Posse) and HEAVENVILLE (Offlee Wild) should all garner a fair share of support, though all earned Speed ratings much lower than Aegean when winning at first asking at Keeneland. Todd Pletcher's only starter, MISSION IMPAZIBLE (Unbridled's Song), also earned a relatively modest Speed figure in winning his debut, though he did show a very strong closing kick to win by a length, earning a 102 BRIS Late Pace rating.

GATOR PROWL (Roar of the Tiger), the only member of the field to have actually graduated on a dirt track, exits an 11 1/2-length romp over 4 1/2 furlongs at Laurel, for which she earned a 104 Speed rating. The John Salzman Jr.-trained miss, who cost a mere $7,000 at auction in October, will break from the far outside post. Another shipper with a chance is KITTY IN THE BAG (Wildcat Heir), who drew off to win her debut by 3 1/4 lengths going two furlongs at Santa Anita and garnering a 99 Speed rating.


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