December 8, 2021

Kimari seeks to make the grade at top level in Madison

Kimari swooped late in the Purple Martin (Coady Photography)

Madison S. (G1) — Race 10 (6:02 p.m. ET)

With ability proven on multiple surfaces and continents, Kimari will look to notch the first graded win of her career in Saturday’s $300,000 Madison S. (G1) at Keeneland

From a career-opening win by 15 lengths going 4 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland two springs ago, Kimari has developed into a world-class competitor. In addition to multiple stakes wins on dirt and turf in this country, the Munnings filly has taken her show on the road to Royal Ascot each of the past two summers, finishing second in the Queen Mary (G2) as a juvenile and in the Commonwealth Cup (G1) against males last season.

The Wesley Ward trainee enters the Madison off an explosive 4 1/4-length win in the Feb. 27 Spring Fever S. at Oaklawn, but will enter some unknown territory as the seven-furlong Madison marks her longest race to date.

A track-and-distance stakes winner, Bell’s the One caught Serengeti Empress at the wire of the Derby City Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs last September and followed up with a third-place effort behind Gamine in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). Without a lot of pace signed on for the Madison, though, the five-year-old will need some help.

Stakes winner Mundaye Call has some early foot, while others looking to come from out of it include La Brea (G1) heroine Fair Maiden and Eight Belles (G2) scorer Sconsin. Sanenus shortens up from six-length romp in the La Canada (G3) over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita.

Shakertown S. (G2) — Race 8 (4:57 p.m. ET)

The Wesley Ward-trained Bound for Nowhere will take a run at the $200,000 Shakertown S. (G2), a 5 1/2-furlong turf dash, for the fourth consecutive year. Winner of the 2018 Shakertown, he was a beaten a neck in each of the past two editions.

Imprimis, who edged Bound for Nowhere in the 2019 Shakertown, looks to rebound from a recent half-length loss to The Critical Way in the Turf Dash at Tampa Bay Downs. Grade 3 winner Turned Aside ran fourth in that Tampa fixture, while Hollis, Readyforprimetime, Kanthaka, Just Might, and High Crime make the race a compelling handicapping and betting puzzle.

Commonwealth S. (G3) — Race 7 (4:24 p.m. ET)

Graded veterans Hog Creek Hustle and Flagstaff have sufficient back class to factor in the $200,000 Commonwealth S. (G3) over seven furlongs, but many eyes will be on the star-crossed Hidden Scroll.

The five-year-old has twice made statements in overnight company at Gulfstream, but poor starts and/or an inability to carry his speed have resulted in a feast-or-famine record to date. However, Hidden Scroll was victorious in his debut for new trainer Brad Cox in a Jan. 24 allowance at Oaklawn when showing a change in tactics.

Appalachian S. (G2) — Race 6 (3:51 p.m. ET)

Six three-year-old fillies will line up in the $200,000 Appalachian S. (G2) over one mile on the turf, with Miss Grillo (G2) winner Plum Ali looking to rebound from a dull fifth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) over this course in November.

Florida Oaks (G3) runner-up Jouster figures to show speed from the inside, while Spanish Loveaffair was dominant last out in the Herecomesthebride (G3) but was disqualified from first and placed fourth despite being obviously best. The stakes-placed Flown and Saranya have both shown ability, while English import Gift List was last seen placing in a minor stakes at Newbury over heavy ground at the tail-end of the 2020 British turf flat season.