May 29, 2023

Crystal Cliffs favored in Regret; Cazadero the one to beat in Bashford Manor

Crystal Cliffs posted an impressive allowance win at Churchill Downs in her U.S. debut (c) Coady Photography

Along with the Fleur de Lis (G2) and Stephen Foster (G2), Saturday’s blockbuster card at Churchill Downs will feature a couple of interesting Grade 3 stakes. Thirteen sophomore fillies will square off in the $100,000 Regret at 1 1/8 miles on turf, and 2-year-olds will be on display in the $100,000 Bashford Manor at 6-furlongs on the main track.

Crystal Cliffs has been tabbed as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Regret following a sharp 1 3/4-length score over entry-level allowance foes at Churchill in her U.S. debut. A French maiden winner two back, the Graham Motion-trained lass is eligible to keep moving forward in her second start off the layoff, and John Velazquez retains the mount.

Her main challengers include Micheline, winner of the May 2 Honey Ryder S. at Gulfstream; stakes vixen Dominga, a troubled sixth May 23 Tepin; stakes winner Harvey’s Lil Goil, who switches to turf for Bill Mott; and Tepin third-placer Pass the Plate, who has placed in three consecutive stakes attempts.

The Bashford Manor kicks off an All-Stakes Pick 4 with a field of seven, including exciting debut maiden winner Cazadero. The Stonestreet Stables homebred showed speed from the start and drew off to a scintillating 8 3/4-length decision when opening his career under the Twin Spires on May 29, registering a field-best 91 Brisnet Speed rating, and Ricardo Santana Jr. retains the mount for Steve Asmussen.

Asmussen will also send out Hulen, who scored by 1 1/2 lengths when making his first start at Churchill on June 12. Todd Pletcher has entered Gulfstream debut winner Hyperfocus, who overcame a slow start to win his debut going away. Velazquez rides the Constitution colt. Gatsby exits a sharp win at Gulfstream for Juan Alvarado, and Herd Immunity invades for Peter Miller off a 1 3/4-length score at Santa Anita.