July 18, 2024

Shedaresthedevil faces deep cast in La Troienne; Maxfield looks to rebound in Alysheba

Shedaresthedevil, with Florent Geroux up, upsets the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs (Jamie Newell/TwinSpires)

La Troienne S. (G1) — 3:03 p.m. ET

Shedaresthedevil, last season’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner, puts her perfect three-for-three record at Churchill Downs on the line in Friday’s $500,000 La Troienne S. (G1), the most lucrative of the Oaks Day undercard features.

A maiden and allowance winner at Churchill prior to triumphs in the Indiana Oaks (G3) and Kentucky Oaks last season, Shedaresthedevil enters the 1 1/16-mile La Troienne off a game, season-opening victory be a head in the Azeri (G3) at Oaklawn Park over Letruska, who rebounded to beat Shedaresthedevil’s dual champion stablemate, Monomoy Girl, in the Apple Blossom H. (G1).

Also returning to the site of her biggest win is Envoutante, an emphatic six-length scorer of the Falls City H. (G2) last fall over Bonny South. Envoutante took on Shedaresthedevil in the Azeri, but retreated late to fourth after rating in second much of the way.

Grade 1 veteran Dunbar Road made just four starts last season, taking the Shawnee S. at Churchill and the Delaware H. (G2) before finishing third in both the Beldame (G2) and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Finite has won the Golden Rod (G2) and Chilukki (G3) over the Churchill strip in seasons past, while Paris Lights enters off back-to-back wins in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Distaff H. (G3).

Sanenus, an impressive six-length winner of the La Canada (G3) two back, stretches back out around two turns after running fourth in the seven-furlong Madison (G1) earlier this month.

Alysheba S. (G2) — 1:26 p.m. ET

After suffering his first career loss nearly two months ago, Maxfield will look to get back on the winning track as the likely strong favorite in the $400,000 Alysheba S. (G2) over 1 1/16 miles.

The Godolphin homebred, who’s enjoyed a successful but start-and-stop career to date, failed to fire in the final furlong of the Santa Anita H. (G1), losing by two lengths to Idol. It was the son of Street Sense’s first setback in six outings, which includes graded triumphs in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at two, the Matt Winn (G3) last season, and the Mineshaft (G3) two starts back.

The March 20 New Orleans Classic (G2) has yielded half of the Alysheba starters, including the 5-1 winner Chess Chief. However, the Dallas Stewart trainee has never won outside Fair Grounds and has placed only twice in seven previous tries over the Churchill strip.

Of more interest is Grade 1 veteran Roadster, who set the pace and held on well to finish fourth in the New Orleans in his first start in more than a year. Roadster looms as the potential lone speed in the Alysheba.

Another threat for a share is Sonneman, who futilely chased Maxfield twice over the winter and was a last-out fifth in the New Orleans Classic. The Steve Asmussen charge has finished first and second in two prior runs at Churchill.