Arnold: Centre Court 'still has room for improvement'
Marketing Mix won last year's Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs after finishing second in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland, and Centre Court will try to follow in her footsteps in Saturday night's 1 1/16-mile event for three-year-old fillies.
"It worked out well last year," said Rusty Arnold, who conditions Centre Court. "We were very happy with her in the QEII (after finishing second to Dayatthespa). I wouldn't have traded spots with anyone at the quarter-pole."
Centre Court scored her first graded victory in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs in the spring and immediately up that victory with a win in Saratoga's Grade 2 Lake George. After finishing second in the Grade 2 Lake Placid at the Spa, the dark bay lass was given a break to prepare for her first try against Grade 1 company.
"We gave her two races at Saratoga and wanted to have her at 100 percent for the Queen Elizabeth," Arnold said. "It's a Grade 1 and at our home track. I think we had her as good as she could be for that race. She still has room for improvement. She's only a three-year-old."
The daughter of Smart Strike made her career debut at Churchill Downs and finished fifth in a maiden special on the main track. Since then, Centre Court has remained on the turf and has yet to be worse than second on the grass in seven starts.
"The good ones like that are few and far between," Arnold said. "You don't find ones like her often that show that kind of consistency. She's run well at Churchill, Gulfstream, Keeneland and Saratoga and really has never run a bad race. It's a combination of talent and the will to do it."
Arnold said the Mrs. Revere is far from an easy race for the G. Watts Humphrey Jr. homebred, who is the 5-2 morning-line favorite.
"It's an extremely competitive race," Arnold admitted. "It's the last chance to face three-year-old fillies, so everyone with a good three-year-old is going to take a shot. (Michael) Matz has two good fillies in the race (Somali Lemonade and Colonial Flag), Todd (Pletcher's) filly (Peace Preserver) is improving and Chris Block's filly (Leading Astray) hasn't done anything wrong."
The Mrs. Revere will be the final race of Centre Court's sophomore campaign. She will be given the winter off and then be pointed to the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April.
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