June 22, 2024

McKinzie, Seeking the Soul top Alysheba; Blue Prize returns in La Troienne

McKinzie with Mike Smith riding, wins the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing on September 22, 2018 (c) Joe Labozzetta/EQUI-PHOTO

On the wrong side of a photo finish in a thrilling renewal of the Santa Anita H. (G1) in early April, McKinzie seeks to get back into the winner’s circle in the $400,000 Alysheba (G2) at Churchill Downs on Friday.

Not only will McKinzie try and reverse the form of recent losses, but looks to make amends for the worst performance of his career when 12th as one of the betting choices in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), his only previous try at Churchill.

Seeking the Soul, whose past wins include the Clark H. (G1) and Ack Ack (G3) under the spires, looks to snap a four-race losing skid. Placed in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), Clark, and Pegasus World Cup (G1) in recent outings, the Dallas Stewart trainee was only eighth in the Dubai World Cup (G1) when last seen.

Instilled Regard returns to the main track after placing twice on grass. He was most notably fourth in last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) as an 85-1 outsider. Front-runner Prime Attraction shortens up after fading to fifth in the Big ‘Cap over 1 1/4 miles and fourth in the Clark, while Bourbon Resolution exits a convincing win in the Ben Ali (G3) at Keeneland. Locally-based mainstays Tom’s d’Etat, Silver Dust, and Copper Bullet appear capable of a share or more.


Fillies and mares will have their turn in the $500,000 La Troienne (G1) at 1 1/16 miles. A past winner of the Spinster (G1) and Falls City H. (G2), Blue Prize was a solid fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) when last seen in November, while Secret Spice invades from California after posting an 11-1 upset in the Beholder Mile (G1) in late March.

The ultra-consistent Divine Miss Grey has run well at Churchill in two attempts, taking the Chilukki (G2) and placing second in the Falls City last November. She’s a Julie has won three graded stakes in her past five starts and also placed in the Alabama (G1).