The TwinSpires team has compiled a list of select races on the Stars of Tomorrow II card, to which we provide a horse by horse look to help you handicap the day!
Churchill Downs – Race 1
Maiden Special Weight, 2yo, fillies, 6 furlongs
#1 LOVE OF MY LIFE (8-1) hails from the first crop of Practical Joke, whose offspring sold for a $115,000 average price at auction last year, but Love of My Life cost only $14,000. The dark bay filly appears to be training well in preparation for her first start, recording several quick works at Keeneland, and her immediate female family includes Grade 1-winning sprinter Come Dancing and Grade 2 juvenile heroine Tizahit. “Nacho” Correas isn’t known for having his runners primed for their first start (10% win), but Love of My Life has something going for her and the tote may tell if she gets bet down early.
#2 VERDANDI (12-1) may need a race. By 13% debut sire Cupid, the dark bay sports a moderate tab of well-spaced workouts, and trainer Greg Foley (16% overall win rate) hits at only a 6% clip with first-time starters. Verdandi’s immediate female family offers little encouragement, as well.
#3 MEDLEY (7-2) will make her fourth career start for the white-hot Steve Asmussen stable. A Louisiana-bred daughter of Dominus, the chestnut lass has finished a non-threatening third in every outing. In her last outing earlier in the meet, she had little chance against impressive frontunning winner Angitude, but Medley offered a solid rally past rivals on the far turn and the late runner may continue to show more today. Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount on the logical contender.
#4 ZMUDA (5-1) drops in to face restricted maiden special weight foes (all runners either RNA’d or sold for $45,000 or less at auction) after opening her racing career with a pair of fourths against open rivals. The Kenny McPeek trainee broke slowly when rallying belatedly against a nice field at Churchill in late June, and the dark bay wasn’t a serious factor from off the pace when making her last appearance on the Saratoga opening-day program in mid-July. Zmuda is eligible to need a race after the 135-day layoff, but the late runner can’t be dismissed on the class drop.
#5 EYEOFTHEBEHOLDER (20-1) switches to the main track after three consecutive unplaced attempts on turf. Her female family is slated towards turf, but Cairo Prince is mostly known as a dirt sire. The dark bay filly’s turf form offers little encouragement, and she’s shown little tactical foot for Jon Jazdzewski, who is unplaced from two starts during the fall meet. Difficult to recommend Eyeofthebeholder’s chances at expected long odds.
#6 SAFE TRAVELS (8-1) moves to dirt for her second start and invades from Hawthorne for Chris Block. The Liam’s Map filly broke poorly when making her debut in a mile turf maiden special weight at Arlington in late September, and she appears to be training forwardly on the main track in preparation, drilling a series of fast workouts, including a five-furlong bullet. Safe Travels is eligible to improve upon her debut, but we’re not sure if the cutback to six furlongs will be to her advantage – her pedigree is built for two-turn turf distances.
#7 DISCO QUEEN (10-1) doesn’t have a lot going for her. Trained by Kenny McPeek (6% with debut runners), the dark bay filly brings a slow worktab and a pedigree that favors longer distances and turf. Freshman sire Unified had speed, but his offspring are winning at only a 10% clip at first asking. Corey Lanerie (winless from 10 starts for McPeek over the last two months) picks up the mount, and Disco Queen may need a race.
#8 MAKE OUT (10-1) will debut for Dallas Stewart, who won a pair of maiden races on the Stars of Tomorrow I program at the start of the fall meet. The bay filly appears to be working well, logging a couple of quick moves under the Twin Spires, and she hails from a nice female family. Outwork (10% with debut runners) isn’t known as a first-out sire, but Make Out has some things going for her on paper. We’ll watch the tote to see if she’s taking action.
#9 HAVE I EVER (10-1) rates serious consideration in her initial appearance. By 15% debut sire Competitive Edge, the dark bay filly is training swiftly for Cherie DeVaux, who wins at a 17% at first asking, and Have I Ever is the second foal from the Pulpit mare Joy Filled, a sibling to Grade 1 juvenile winner Sippican Harbor. Hot-riding Brian Hernandez Jr. picks up the mount, and Have I Ever drew well on the outside.
#10 ICE BABY (9-2) will take support in her first start. Conditioned by Brad Cox, who excels with debut runners, the gray Frosted filly is a half-sister to Grade 3 sprint winner Strike Power. After training at Indiana Grand, Ice Baby recorded a slow five-furlong work at Churchill Downs in preparation, and we worry that she isn’t the most precocious two-year-old in the Cox barn. However, go-to rider Florent Geroux will be up, and Ice Baby remains one to consider.
#11 ONLY SHOW IN TOWN (12-1) drew an outside post for her career debut, and the dark bay miss may need racing experience before showing her best. By 9% first-out sire Empire Maker, she shows a modest worktab in preparation, and trainer Rusty Arnold wins at a 6% clip with first-time starters. Only Show in Town is bred for longer distances and turf, and we’ll look for more down the road from the filly.
#12 STAR TABLE (20-1) adds top jockey Joel Rosario for her second start, but she’ll need to improve significantly upon her first outing, a non-threatening fifth at long odds against restricted maiden foes. The gray Overanalyze filly did pass a number of rivals after racing in last during the early stages, and while her Brisnet Speed rating (63) came back light, Star Table remains eligible to challenge for a minor award with further improvement.
#13 FAST GISELLE (7-2) will be a contender on the front end if she draws in from the also-eligible list, showing speed in both career starts. After weakening to sixth in her debut, an open maiden special weight at Keeneland, the Battle of Midway filly held to for runner-up honors against Angitude at Churchill earlier in the meet. She’s received little pari-mutuel support so far, but Fast Giselle will be one of the favorites for trainer Franklin DeJesus and jockey Rafael Bejarano if she draws in. And she appears capable of running a big race in a field lacking pace.
#14 KEEN ICE SIGHT (20-1) will step up to face better if she draws in from the also-eligible list. She shows no tactical speed when making her debut at Indiana Grand on Nov. 11, closing belatedly for fourth, and the bay Keen Ice filly may need easier competition to be effective at this stage in her career.
Churchill Downs — Race 4
Maiden Special Weight — 7 Furlongs (2:27 p.m. ET)
#1 QUEROBIN DOURADA (10-1) –– Lost ground through the stretch, though maintained her position in midpack, first out at Keeneland; barn has a positive ROI in recent years with second-time starters, and this filly has a right to improve some after that initial learning experience.
#2 DANIELLA’S CAUSE (15-1) — Brody’s Cause gets debut winners at a modest 5 percent rate, while dam was a minor stakes winner at Finger Lakes during her racing days; $35K yearling buy hasn’t shown any great speed in morning trials; find other first-time starters more enticing.
#3 SAVO ISLAND (3-1) — Led narrowly in the stretch of her debut before tiring late to finish a length behind Cancel This, a longshot in the Golden Rod (G2) later on this card; a full sister to Del Mar Futurity (G1) winner Klimt, she looks one of the better fillies here that has at least one race under her belt; might want more than 3-1, though, as there are a few intriguing first-time starters entered, too.
#4 GUN SLINGIN (7-2) — Half-sister to U.S. turf performer Tap Daddy retreated badly first out at Keeneland against Famed, one of the favorites in the Golden Rod later; lukewarm support on the tote for a Gun Runner perhaps a reflection of what was going on near the end of the Keeneland meet as Asmussen barn was in the midst of a bad slump; that ship has been righted this meet, and perhaps she’ll do better here over a faster strip; however, odds would need to be significantly higher than the ML to be worth biting at.
#5 EMITYAAZ (20-1) — Outran expectations on debut when only beaten four lengths as a 35-1 chance, but if the bar was that low in a maiden claimer it’s hard to see them being higher in this deeper spot against straight maidens; looking elsewhere.
#6 RUNAWAY WIFE (5-1) — First crop by Gun Runner have been striking on debut at a stratospheric 32 percent clip this year; this filly is the first foal to race out of Perfect Wife, a two-time winner as a juvenile including a stakes at Remington Park; barn typically wins at a low percentage with debut runners, but Keeneland works suggest this filly might have the speed to contend here; McPeek/Hernandez combo have been on fire of late, too; respect.
#7 TRICKED OUT (8-1) — Third best in both prior outings for a barn striking at a 26 percent rate this season; winner of her debut came back to finish second in the Myrtlewood S. at Keeneland, and runner-up second out came back to win, so neither race was an easy one class-wise; another share or more possible with continued progress.
#8 GIMME CANDY (12-1) — Off slow at Keeneland and made no progress thereafter in a dull effort, somewhat surprising since she took some backing on the tote; continues to show speed in the mornings and perhaps will progress some at a longer price this time; still, prefer to see another.
#9 DELIGHTOF THE NILE (15-1) — A somewhat promising debut has not been followed with anything encouraging; perhaps didn’t find wet turf to her liking two back, and last time she proved hard to settle when running off to a large early lead while setting a relatively solid pace going a mile; less-exposed runners offer more appeal.
#10 STORY HOUR (20-1) — Creative Cause is a 9 percent debut sire and dam was a multiple stakes winner who placed in the Gardenia (G3) at Ellis; this filly descends from the two excellent Whitham runners Bayakoa, a Hall of Famer, and Affluent, a multiple G1 winner on dirt and turf; barn doesn’t often fire with first-time starters and has had a tough meet here, thus May foal might need a start or two.
#11 COCKTAIL MOMENTS (15-1) — Juvenile champ Uncle Mo gets 15 percent debut winners; dam was a Canadian champion sprinter whose signature victory came in the Bessarabian (G2); works since the bullet over the Oklahoma track at Saratoga in August have not been overly swift, but chance he could outrun expectations for a barn whose juveniles should be respected.
#12 LASER LOCKED (8-1) — Troubled start compromised his chances first out, but she did make some mild progress in the latter stages; gets a little more distance to work with here and is eligible to move forward; hails from the family of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense.
#13 BEYOND PERFECTION (7-2) — Excellent pedigree here; Hall of Fame sire gets 13 percent debut winners, while G3-winning dam has reared Kentucky Derby hero Always Dreaming, G1 winner Hot Dixie Chick, and G2 juvenile winner Positive Spirit; Hot Dixie Chick herself has reared G3 heroine Pauline’s Pearl, who captured the Zia Park Oaks earlier this week; saddled with a tough post if she gets in, but have to respect if she goes.
#14 BICAMERAL (3-1) — Ships east after a couple okay tries during the Del Mar summer meet; no threat to the top two in the Del Mar Debutante (G1), and both of those subsequently lost badly in the Chandelier (G2) at Santa Anita when stretching out; finds easier spot, but nonetheless a potential underlay if she gets to run.
#15 FRIENDSHIP ROAD (12-1) — Quality Road gets debut winners at a 12 percent clip, while G3-placed dam is a half-sister to G2 turf winner Hungry Island and G3 dirt miler Soaring Empire; Woodward (G1) winner Preservationist also from this immediate family; has the pedigree to be a decent one, though is buried deep on the AE list here.
#16 MOST EMPRESSIVE (20-1) — Debut in September did not go well; midpack at the first call, she began a steady retreat thereafter and was well beaten; dam is a half-sister to G1 turf performers Daddys Lil Darling and Mongolian Saturday, so grass might be an option for her down the road.
Churchill Downs – Race 5
Maiden Special Weight (1 1/8 miles, 2:57 p.m. ET)
#1 TEN GAUGE (9-2): Son of hot young sire Gun Runner is 0-for-4 so far and enters off a fifth-place finish racing 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs. But two starts back, he ran second over the same track and distance, beaten only three lengths by next-out Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Rattle N Roll. Jockey Corey Lanerie and trainer Steve Asmussen have gone 2-for-7 (29%) together over the last two months, and Lanerie isn’t afraid to ride the rail, so don’t dismiss Ten Gauge from consideration.
#2 CYCLONE (12-1): Third and fifth in his first two starts sprinting at Churchill, Cyclone will stretch out in distance for his third run under colors. The gray gelding is a son of long-winded turf star Point of Entry, but dam Promise Me Silver was strictly a sprinter. From a Brisnet Speed rating perspective, Cyclone will need a step forward to visit the winner’s circle, but it’s unclear whether his pedigree will support racing 1 1/8 miles.
#3 MAGAZINE STREET (5-1): The second Asmussen trainee ran fourth as the favorite in his debut sprinting slightly more than seven furlongs at Keeneland. The well-bred son of Gun Runner is a half-sibling to the stakes-winning routers Finite and Reride, so his pedigree bodes well for stretching out in distance. Throw in the fact Asmussen strikes at a 23% rate with second-time starters, and it’s easy to see why Magazine Street ranks among the favorites.
#4 WOLFE COUNTY (4-1): Although Wolfe County finished last in his debut racing one mile at Churchill, the son of Medaglia d’Oro showed significant improvement in a seven-furlong sprint last month, tracking a quick pace before hanging on to finish third with an 84 Brisnet Speed rating. None of his Saturday rivals have run faster, and since Wolfe County is a half-brother to 2016 Preakness S. (G1) winner Exaggerator, he’s bred top and bottom to relish 1 1/8 miles. The Brendan Walsh trainee is a logical (if not necessarily unbeatable) morning-line favorite.
#5 PAID IN FULL (50-1): Son of juvenile Grade 1 winner Klimt was produced by the Devil His Due mare Past Due, who has foaled five winners from five starters. Trainer Gary Hartlage has won at a respectable 12% rate with first-time starters since 2015, and Paid in Full has put together a solid work tab highlighted by a pair of seven-furlong breezes at Churchill, so don’t be shocked if Paid in Full nabs a top-four finish at huge odds.
#6 CURLY TAIL (15-1): Curlin colt has yet to crack the trifecta in three starts, most recently running third in a 1 1/16-mile event at Keeneland. Curly Tail is bred to improve with maturity, but the stretch-running bay may need some pace assistance if he’s going to visit the winner’s circle.
#7 TRAVEL GUIDE (20-1): Sent off at 36-1 in his debut over 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland, Travel Guide arguably outran expectations to rally and finish fourth. The 69 Brisnet Speed rating he received isn’t flashy, but trainer Jack Sisterson strikes at an 18% rate with horses running long for the second time, suggesting Travel Guide can improve on Saturday. Whether it’s enough to crack the superfecta is another question.
#8 COMMANDER COMPTON (12-1): Commander Compton never fired in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Churchill two months ago, finishing ninth behind Rattle N Roll and Ten Gauge (see above). But two starts back, Commander Compton ran second in a 1 1/8-mile event at Saratoga, coming home ahead of next-out winner and eventual stakes performer Luni Sima. Commander Compton has been gelded since his last race and will add blinkers on Saturday, suggesting the son of Congrats is a live longshot worth supporting.
#9 ANDY CANT (9-2): After finishing ninth in his debut sprinting at Churchill, Andy Cant ran too good to lose in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight at Keeneland, coming home second by half a length. As a son of Preakness S. (G1) hero Bernardini out of a mare by Belmont S. (G1) winner Victory Gallop, Andy Cant is bred to improve with distance and maturity, so don’t be surprised if he takes another step forward on Saturday. The presence of hot jockey Joel Rosario (the leading rider in the nation by purse earnings) is another positive.
#10 MISTICAL CURLIN (8-1): Sold for $375,000 as a yearling, Mistical Curlin ran below expectations in his sprint debut at Keeneland, finishing last of 10. But Kenny McPeek trainees often improve off their debuts, and McPeek strikes at a 23% rate with horses transitioning from sprints to routes, well above his overall 14% win rate. Best of all, Mistical Curlin is a son of Curlin, a two-time Horse of the Year known as a stamina influence at stud. There are plenty of reasons to believe Mistical Curlin can improve significantly in his second run under colors.
#11 SPIN WHEEL (6-1): Running long isn’t an unfamiliar experience for Spin Wheel, who ran sixth in his debut racing 1 1/16 miles over the Saratoga turf before switching to dirt for a 1 1/16-mile event at Keeneland, where he finished fourth. But both efforts produced modest 77 Brisnet Speed ratings, suggesting Spin Wheel needs improvement to secure a stronger finish on Saturday. As a half-brother to the late-maturing, Grade 1-placed turf router Moon Over Miami, it’s possible Spin Wheel won’t show his best until next year—possibly when returning to grass.
#12 STAR ALIGNMENT (8-1): High-percentage trainer Brad Cox saddles Star Alignment, who finished eighth in his debut sprinting before improving to third in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Keeneland, earning a 79 Brisnet Speed rating. A half-brother to the multiple graded stakes-winning router Bonny South, Star Alignment brings a promising pedigree to the fold, and it’s important to note Cox wins at a 37% rate with horses running long for the second time. Dismiss this Juddmonte Farms homebred at your own risk.
#13 O P FIRECRACKER (6-1): The first also-eligible is also one of the fastest entrants on paper, having posted back-to-back 84 Brisnet Speed ratings when second and fourth in his first two starts sprinting. Sire Will Take Charge and damsire Quiet American both won Grade 1 races running long, so O P Firecracker is eligible to improve significantly while stretching out in trip. Throw in hot jockey Tyler Gaffalione (the leading rider at Churchill this meet), and there’s plenty to like about O P Firecracker if he draws in.
#14 MONOLOGUE (6-1): The second also-eligible was nowhere to be found in his debut racing one mile at Churchill, finishing ninth by a wide margin. But the son of champion sprinter Runhappy improved significantly in a 1 1/16-mile event four weeks later, employing tracking tactics to finish third with an 80 Brisnet Speed rating. Half-siblings Whitecliffsofdover and Endless Chatter both placed at the Grade 1 level running long, so Monologue can’t be dismissed from superfecta tickets if he’s allowed to start.
#15 PAID TWICE (8-1): Two starts sprinting on the Kentucky circuit have seen Paid Twice finish fifth and fourth with identical 77 Brisnet Speed ratings. He started slowly on both occasions and is eligible to improve with a clean break over a longer trip, but he’ll need a trio of scratches in order to draw in, and starting from an outside post could be disadvantageous with a relatively short run to the first turn.
#16 NAPA VALLEY (20-1): The final also-eligible has yet to crack the superfecta from four starts, most recently coming home sixth in a $50,000 maiden claimer over 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs. With a 71 Brisnet Speed rating ranking as his best figure earned on dirt, the son of Flatter will need some improvement (and a quartet of scratches) to challenge against Saturday’s field.
Churchill Downs – Race 6
Maiden Special Weight (seven furlongs, 3:27 p.m. ET)
#1 FORT DEFIANCE (15-1): Son of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Fort Larned failed to factor in his debut sprinting six furlongs at Keeneland, finishing 11th after a troubled start. He’s since transitioned to the care of hot trainer Kenny McPeek, but will need significant improvement from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective to challenge for a top-four finisher.
#2 GENERAL STRIKE (7-2): Although General Strike misfired over this track and distance on Oct. 31, finishing sixth by a wide margin, his previous start in an identical race saw him finish second by just half a length. The 87 Brisnet Speed rating he posted is higher than the par winning figure (85) for Saturday’s conditions, so with hot jockey Joel Rosario aboard, General Strike looms as a logical threat to bounce back and visit the winner’s circle.
#3 VIGANO (15-1): Purchased for $200,000 as a yearling, Vigano is a son of champion Honor Code out of the Dixieland Band mare Stomping, previously the dam of long-winded graded stakes winner Cyber Secret. This pedigree is geared toward stamina rather than speed, and since trainer Nick Zito rarely wins with first-time starters, Vigano is more likely to factor down the road than in his sprint debut.
#4 PEACEFUL WATERS (8-1): Trainer Al Stall wins at a solid 16% rate with horses debuting in maiden special weights, so first-time starter Peaceful Waters can’t be dismissed after turning in a sharp series of workouts at Churchill Downs. The chestnut colt breezed five furlongs from the starting gate in a bullet 1:00 3/5 last month, and since half-sibling The Grass Is Blue placed in a stakes at age two, Peaceful Waters has the pedigree to mature early and challenge on debut.
#5 BENNY THE BOOK (12-1): A son of early-maturing juvenile graded stakes winner Kantharos (who sires a solid 15% winners from first-time starters), Benny the Book is bred to win from an early age. But trainer Kenny McPeek doesn’t typically crank his juveniles to win on debut, so Benny the Book seems unlikely to fire his strongest shot on Saturday. Look for the dark bay colt to improve in the future.
#6 CHASING TIME (3-1): Conditioned by Steve Asmussen, Chasing Time has fired off back-to-back 86 Brisnet Speed ratings in his first two starts sprinting six furlongs at Churchill. After finishing fourth in his debut (an event won by next-out Street Sense S. winner Howling Time), Chasing Time improved to gain the runner-up spot in his second start. Perhaps the third time will be the charm for Chasing Time, who has the tactical speed to be a factor from the outset.
#7 HALFMOON (12-1): Trainer Brendan Walsh has enjoyed stronger success than usual with first-time starters this year, winning at a 14% rate, so don’t dismiss Halfmoon as a live longshot. Sire Malibu Moon and dam Salty Strike were both early-maturing juvenile winners, and Halfmoon has put together a solid work tab capped off by three furlongs from the Churchill starting gate in a bullet :36 1/5.
#8 BRODY’S FLY (15-1): At first glance, Brody’s Fly has the pedigree to win from an early age—sire Brody’s Cause won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at age two, while dam Flying Tapit was a juvenile winner. But Brody’s Cause sires just 5% winners from first-time starters, and Dale Romans wins at an 8% rate with such runners, suggesting Brody’s Fly may need a start or two before reaching peak form.
#9 GUNFIGHTER (8-1): A son of Ghostzapper out of a Smart Strike mare, Gunfighter is shipping in from Parx Racing, where he ran second in his debut before unexpectedly fading to ninth in his second run under colors. Subsequently transferred to the barn of high-percentage trainer Brad Cox, Gunfighter has trained forwardly for his Kentucky debut and can be a player if he runs back to the 82 Brisnet Speed rating he posted first-time out. Adding blinkers (a 27% winning move for Cox) is another positive, though Gunfighter’s pedigree hints grass racing could wind up being his strong suit.
#10 GUNOE (5-1): The shorter-priced Brad Cox trainee has finished second and third in his first two starts sprinting at Ellis Park, earning respectable Brisnet Speed ratings of 84 and 78. A son of leading sire Into Mischief, Gunoe retains the services of jockey Florent Geroux (a 25% winner when teaming up with Cox), but the fact Gunoe lost his first two starts while favored at odds-on means he’s been a bit disappointing so far. Perhaps he’ll be sharper while returning from a 2 1/2-month break—he did breeze a quick half mile in :47 4/5 at Churchill earlier this month.
#11 POUR ME A DOUBLE (15-1): After failing to finish better than sixth in his first three starts against maiden special weight company, Pour Me a Double fared better in a $150,000 maiden claimer at Keeneland last month, rallying late to finish third by 2 3/4 lengths. But the 75 Brisnet Speed rating he received is a little light, and stepping back up in class for Saturday’s test is a question mark.
#12 KING DOODLE (15-1): Son of Into Mischief flashed some early speed in a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Keeneland last month, but soon gave way to finish eighth by a wide margin. He’ll need a form turnaround to challenge over the same distance and class level at Churchill Downs.
#13 ETHEREAL ROAD (15-1): D. Wayne Lukas trainee debuted over this track, distance, and class level on Oct. 31, but never got involved while finishing seventh. The good news is, Ethereal Road has trained up a storm in the interim, most recently blazing a bullet half mile in :46 4/5 at Churchill Downs. Dam Sustained previously foaled the graded stakes-winning turf sprinter Turned Aside (who broke his maiden at age two), so Ethereal Road is eligible to run a strong race if he draws in off the also-eligible list.
#14 TIMELESS JOKE (3-1): A son of two-time Grade 1-winning juvenile Practical Joke, Timeless Joke ran too good to lose in his debut sprinting six furlongs at Churchill Downs, overcoming a slow start to rally and finish second by a nose. The 83 Brisnet Speed rating he posted is competitive, so if Timeless Joke escapes the also-eligible list and breaks cleanly on Saturday, he’ll be a logical win candidate.
#15 CALL ME JAMAL (10-1): Although he didn’t win, Call Me Jamal ran encouragingly in his debut sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Churchill last month, carving out a modest pace before weakening to finish fourth in a field of 10. The son of Malibu Moon is conditioned by Michael Puhich, who wins at a respectable 15% rate with second-time starters, so Call Me Jamal is eligible to improve on Saturday. However, he’ll need three scratches to compete, and clearing the field from an outside draw could be challenging.
#16 KUPUNA (10-1): Kupuna didn’t get much pace to chase when rallying from midpack in his Nov. 5 debut at Churchill, but the son of Hard Spun nevertheless overcame a slow start to finish third in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint, ahead of Call Me Jamal. Trainer Bret Calhoun strikes at a 22% rate with second-time starters, so Kupuna can take a step forward with a clean break on Saturday. The only problem is, he’ll need four scratches to draw in off the also-eligible list.
Churchill Downs – Race 7
Allowance (1 1/16 miles, 3:57 p.m. ET)
#1 FULL FOCUS (9-2): Disappointing seventh when favorite on debut at Churchill Downs Sept. 19, the Brad Cox-trained filly bounced back at Keeneland Oct. 10, winning a maiden special weight over 1 1/16 miles as favorite once again. Needs to improve further but clearly well-regarded. Florent Geroux is in the silks.
#2 MISS CHAMITA (15-1): After three useful efforts at her first three starts, the Norman Cash trainee scored by 6 3/4 lengths at Indiana Grand Aug. 10. Then well beaten when seventh in the Pocahontas S. (G3) Sept. 18, and when sixth in Churchill Downs claiming race Nov. 13. Needs to improve for rider John McKee.
#3 FREEDOM ROSE (7-2): Out of the top three on the Arlington all-weather at her first two starts, the Mike Campbell trainee then finished second at her next two runs on turf at the same venue. Then bolted in by 8 1/2 lengths in an off-the-turf race on the Keeneland dirt Oct. 30. Solid chance on that run in this event. Joel Rosario rides.
#4 FEELING HAPPY (8-1): A Jimmy Baker trainee, Feeling Happy won nicely on debut over 6 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs Sept. 23. Returned to the same track Oct 31, was well beaten into second by Penny Saver over one mile. Should go well again. Julien Leparoux takes the mount.
#5 IMPLOSION (10-1): Trained by Steve Margolis, Implosion did little on debut at Ellis Park but improved sharply to finish third over 6 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs Sept. 23. Returned to the same track to lead all the way over one mile Oct. 31. Should appreciate 1 1/16 miles. Adam Beschizza rides.
#6 BHOMA (3-1): Narrowly beaten on debut over five furlongs May 23, the Ken McPeek-trained filly then won at Churchill Downs over 6 1/2 furlongs Sept. 23. Then finished eighth, just 2 1/2 lengths from the winner California Angel, in the Jessamine S. (G2) on turf Oct. 13. Subsequently finished second in an off-the-turf race on 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland Oct. 30. Should be competitive for jockey Brian Hernandez.
#7 CHAMPAGNE SISTER (15-1): Second runner for Ken McPeek. Champagne Sister failed to beat a runner home on debut at Keeneland Oct. 15 over seven furlongs. Was much improved three weeks later in a maiden claiming at Churchill Downs, winning over 1 1/16 miles. This looks tougher. Corey Lanerie rides.
#8 MANASOTA SUNSET (8-1): Won an Ellis Park maiden at her second outing before finishing third in the Ellis Park Debutante S., both over seven furlongs. Earned career-best Brisnet Speed and Class ratings when second in an allowance mile at Keeneland Oct. 10 before a well-beaten fourth in the Rags to Riches S. Oct. 31. Tyler Gaffalione takes the mount.
#9 LAVENDAR LANE (20-1): From the stable of Stephen Lyster, Lavendar Lane began her career with two fourth-place finishes at Ellis Park. Headed to Indiana Grand next start and found the company to her liking, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over one mile. Will need to step up again to figure here. Rafael Bejarano rides.
#10 SAX (20-1): After an inauspicious debut, Sax improved to win over five furlongs on the Churchill Downs dirt June 11. Moved to the California stable of Philip D’Amato, she then finished fourth in the Sorrento S. (G2) at Del Mar Aug. 6 and then out of the placings in two stakes races on the California turf. May appreciate the return to Kentucky and to dirt. Martin Garcia takes the reins.
#11 MOHAYLADY (15-1): A winner on debut at Ellis Park by more than 11 lengths over 5 1/2 furlongs July 3, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained filly has found it tougher going since then. Ran third at Ellis Park July 24, sixth in the Ellis Park Debutante Stakes Aug. 15, and then third in a Churchill Downs allowance Nov. 7. First race past seven furlongs. David Cohen steers.
#12 BEVERLY’S CHARGE (12-1): Began her career for trainer Tom Amoss with two races at Colonial Downs, finishing fourth and third. Then scored a comfortable victory in maiden claiming race at Churchill Downs Sept. 24 over six furlongs, and won by nearly 10 lengths at Indiana Grand over the same trip Nov. 4. This tougher and unknown at distance but not to be ignored with Edgar Morales riding.
Churchill Downs – Race 8
Allowance (1 1/16 miles, 4:27 p.m. ET)
#1 MR. BOUMA (5-1): Fourth on debut at Ellis Park, the Dale Romans-trained colt broke his maiden at the same track Aug. 28. Closer than expected when sixth at 77-1 in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland Oct. 9, and was third Oct. 31 at Churchill Downs. Should find this class a little easier. Joe Talamo climbs aboard.
#2 BONUS APPRECIATION (8-1): Fifth at Monmouth Park on debut, he then won a maiden at the same track July 11. Then switched to turf, contested three stakes races but failed to figure in the finish in all three. Back on dirt, this time over a mile, finished fifth at long odds Oct. 31 at Churchill Downs. David Cohen rides the Steve Asmussen trainee.
#3 GRAND IN BAY (50-1): Trained by Tim Glyshaw, Grand in Bay finished fifth on debut at Indiana Grand over six furlongs Oct. 5. Stepped up in distance, scored two-length victory over one mile at the same track Nov. 1. This a tougher task. Gerardo Corrales takes the mount.
#4 TRADEMARK (5-1): Down the track at Ellis Park on debut for trainer Vicki Oliver, Trademark improved sharply to finish second at Keeneland over six furlongs Oct. 9. Showed that was no one-off with a five-length triumph over 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs Oct. 31. Looks a good chance for jockey Florent Geroux.
#5 FAN THE FIRE (9-2): Michael Maker-trained Hard Spun colt raced twice at Saratoga in summer, finishing second on debut July 30 and then third to subsequent Iroquois S. (G3) winner Major General. Failed on turf in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile S., but then won over 6 1/2 furlongs when returned to dirt at Keeneland Oct. 20. Step up in distance the biggest query for rider Tyler Gaffalione.
#6 LUCKY BOSS (8-1): Fourth on debut, the Ken McPeek trainee then won at Ellis Park, beating race rivals Kiss the Sky and Luni Sima. Second in the Ellis Park Juvenile S. at his next start, Lucky Boss then finished a middling eighth of 14 in the Bourbon S. (G2). Subsequently finished fifth in an off-the-turf race at Keeneland Oct. 29. Brian Hernandez rides.
#7 RED RUN (6-1): A winner on debut at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen May 9, Red Run has been out of the frame in three stakes races since, his best effort a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile S. Sept 6. Will appreciate facing lesser quality horses here. Joel Rosario takes the mount.
#8 KEVIN’S FOLLY (12-1): A winner on debut at Saratoga July 31 for trainer Tom Amoss, Kevin’s Folly has been in much tougher company since. He finished third to Gunite in the Hopeful S. (G1) Sept. 6, and then a well-beaten eighth behind Rattle N Roll in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland Oct. 9. This will be an easier task for rider Edgar Morales.
#9 LEGENDARY LORE (4-1): Well beaten on debut at Ellis Park Aug. 20, the William E. Morey trainee then won at 36-1 at Churchill Downs over seven furlongs Sept. 18. Then stepped up in class and finished second in an allowance race at Churchill Downs Oct. 31 behind Texas Red Hot. Looks a serious chance for jockey Rafael Bejarano.
#10 ROCKET ONE (10-1): After finishing ninth on debut at Churchill Downs June 26 and third at Ellis Park July 31, Bill Mott’s charge then won on the Kentucky Downs turf over one mile Sept. 5. Stepped up in class to the Bourbon S. (G2), he finished sixth behind Tiz the Bomb at Keeneland Oct. 10. Back to dirt here for rider Julien Leparoux.
#11 PLAY ACTION PASS (8-1): Couldn’t quicken when fourth on debut to Gunite at Churchill Downs June 26. Then sent out favorite at Ellis Park over 1 1/16 miles on turf July 31 and duly obliged with victory. Followed these by finishing third in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile S., seventh in the Bourbon S. (G2), and fourth in an allowance at Churchill Downs Oct. 31. This race should be easier. Edgard Zayas rides.
#12 YONO (20-1): Second on first racecourse appearance at Ellis Park Aug. 20, the Brendan Walsh-trained colt found the going too tough at Churchill Downs Sept. 18, finishing eighth. Bounced back with a maiden claiming victory at Keeneland Oct. 28. Steps up in distance here. Ricardo Santana Jr. takes the reins.
#13 WICKED GENIUS (6-1): Was consistent in first five races for trainer Ken McPeek, finishing either third or fourth in starts at Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, and Keeneland. Then stepped up his form at Churchill Downs Nov. 10, clearing away to win by eight lengths over 1 1/16 miles. Chance for jockey Corey Lanerie if he makes the field.
#14 AMICABLE (50-1): Has done all his racing to date at Indiana Grand. Just behind the placegetters in his first two starts, Amicable came out on top over one mile Aug. 31. Took on Indiana-bred black type company at his next two starts, finishing sixth and fifth in those two starts. This looks a tough task for rider Carlos Diaz if they make the field.
Churchill Downs – Race 9
Lively Shively S. (6 1/2 furlongs, 4:57 p.m. ET)
#1 CHARTER OAK (15-1): Although Charter Oak enters off two straight victories, both have come in claiming races running one mile or farther. Stepping up in class and dropping down in distance are two significant obstacles for Charter Oak to overcome, especially since his career-best 81 Brisnet Speed rating looks a little light.
#2 COOL PAPA G (5-1): A debut winner sprinting five furlongs at Churchill during the spring, Cool Papa G recently returned from a long layoff to finish third in an $80,000 allowance optional claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland. The son of Maclean’s Music was passing horses late, but finished 8 3/4 lengths behind Saturday rival Tejano Twist, so he’ll need improvement to turn the tables. The good news is, trainer Steve Asmussen wins at a 20% rate with horses running back for the second time following a layoff, and hot jockey Joel Rosario is picking up the mount. Don’t count this deep closer out of the mix.
#3 CHATTALOT (7-2): The second Asmussen trainee looms among the favorites after placing third in the Bowman Mill S. at Keeneland. A speed horse capable of stalking the pace if necessary, Chattalot had previously won a Saratoga maiden and a Churchill allowance, throwing down a sharp 90 Brisnet Speed rating in the latter event. Chattalot has kept good company and is capable of reaching the winner’s circle if he avoids a destructive pace duel.
#4 READY TO MARCH (20-1): With two wins from four starts, Ready to March clearly has a winning tendency. But his victories have come against easier company at Finger Lakes and Mountaineer, so stepping into the stakes ranks at Churchill is a question mark. Ready to March’s only previous run at a top-tier track produced an eighth-place finish in the Futurity S. (G3) on turf at Belmont Park.
#5 TEJANO TWIST (7-5): The morning-line favorite required four starts to break his maiden, but since then, he’s been a force to reckon with. Runner-up in the Rosie’s S. on turf at Colonial Downs and the Kip Deville S. on dirt at Remington Park, Tejano Twist most recently capitalized on a fast pace to smash a 6 1/2-furlong allowance at Keeneland by 7 1/4 lengths. With Brisnet Speed ratings of 93 and 94 under his belt, Tejano Twist is clearly the fastest horse in the Lively Shively field and looms as the horse to beat.
#6 IGNITIS (8-1): After cracking the trifecta without winning in his first four starts, Ignitis broke through with a decisive victory sprinting seven furlongs at Keeneland last month, rallying smartly from midpack to dominate by five lengths. A son of juvenile champion Nyquist, Ignitis has evidently improved since foregoing the pacesetting tactics he employed in his first four starts, setting the stage for another jump forward in the Lively Shively.
#7 BARBER ROAD (8-1): Speed is Barber Road’s forte, as he demonstrated when dominating a $30,000 maiden claimer at Keeneland and a $30,000 starter allowance at Churchill by daylight. But Barber Road will face much tougher company on Saturday, and it’s worth noting he was beaten a dozen lengths by Tejano Twist when debuting at Colonial Downs. A spot in the trifecta isn’t out of the question with leading rider Tyler Gaffalione aboard, but victory may require improvement off the 84 Brisnet Speed ratings Barber Road posted in his last two runs.
#8 HOIST THE GOLD (5-1): Although he’s yet to actually cross the wire first, Hoist the Gold is nevertheless a contender worth respecting in the Lively Shively. If you draw a line through his ninth-place finish in a one-mile allowance at Churchill last month, Hoist the Gold’s form is rock-solid. Two starts back, he won a six-furlong maiden sprint at Churchill via disqualification, earning a sharp 93 Brisnet Speed rating. And during the summer at Saratoga, Hoist the Gold ran second in a maiden sprint behind next-out Champagne S. (G1) winner Jack Christopher. The stoutly bred son of Mineshaft is bred to improve with maturity, so if anyone can step up and challenge Tejano Twist, it might be Hoist the Gold.
Churchill Downs – Race 9
Golden Rod S. (G2) (1 1/16 miles, 5:27 p.m. ET)
#1 FAMED (2-1) — This Uncle Mo half-sister to juvenile champion and classic winner Essential Quality has been a popular commodity from the start; although she lost first out, to an eventual stakes winner that races elsewhere on the card, she bounced back with an authoritative win in the slop at Keeneland; figures among the top two betting choices, but higher than odds-on this time around; an exciting prospect for the same barn that won this race last year and an obvious win threat here.
#2 CANCEL THIS (20-1) — Third start proved to be the charm, but that win pales in comparison to what several of the others in the field had done beforehand; perhaps can be even more effective around two turns, but comparatively weak figures suggest she’s a longshot to make her mark against these despite the addition of Rosario.
#3 SECRET OATH (15-1) — No match versus Sandstone on debut, but dominated rivals second out over this distance; however, the race was a bit slow both on raw time and figure-wise, so a combo of improvement and regression on the part of others needed; certainly bred to be a nice one as she’s by the late champion Arrogate and out of a multiple G1-placed stakes winner.
#4 SANDSTONE (8-5) — After some time off after an uninspiring debut (probably more of a learning experience), she’s come back with a vengeance; not only did she handle wet footing easily two back, but cruised against a short field in the Rags to Riches; if there’s any knock to the latter, it’s that she was allowed to lope along setting a moderate pace; don’t think she sees the same dynamics here, but at this early stage she looks among the top two most promising fillies in this group; probable favorite obviously sizes up well.
#5 HAL’S DREAM (20-1) — Pulled off a surprise first out at Keeneland, rallying from well off the pace to win a photo on the turf; her pedigree seems just as much dirt oriented, and this main track has a reputation for being kinder to turf performers than most; this is a tough spot in which to tackle winners for the first time, though, and she’ll need to both stay in touch and hope for a strong pace to aid her.
#6 YUUGIRL (3-1) — Odds-on choice in the four-horse Rags to Riches proved no match for Sandstone, who put away this filly after getting hounded by her around the far turn; this one was much speedier from the gate in her sprint debut, and the hood comes on today in the hope, perhaps, that she’ll put more of that zip to better use here; however, she wouldn’t want to get hooked into a duel with Famed, or anyone else; minor share should be her floor against this group.
#7 DREAM LITH (8-1) — Saratoga grad couldn’t keep up with either Echo Zulu or Juju’s Map, but that’s no disgrace as those are the top two fillies in the crop so far; there’s a couple nice fillies here, too, so this isn’t exactly the easiest of spots for her either; however, she does have a bit of talent, and the addition of blinkers will hopefully allow her to get more involved early; Diodoro having a fine meet, too, which adds some to her appeal for a share.
#8 CODE FOR SUCCESS (12-1) — Both tries against winners leave something to be desired; sported front wraps when a distant fourth in the Pocahontas (G3), and last time passed only tired foes as the favorite dropping back into the allowance ranks; benefited greatly by a fast pace on debut, but doubt she’ll see those kind of fractions here; can certainly improve, eventually, but a longshot in this spot.
Churchill Downs – Race 11
Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) (1 1/16 miles, 5:56 p.m. ET)
#1 CLASSIC CAUSEWAY (7-2): Brian Lynch-trained colt who impressed when winning by 6 1/2 lengths on debut at Saratoga over seven furlongs Sept. 4. Set pace when favorite in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) Oct. 9 but couldn’t hold on and finished third, the only runner in the top five finishers to have been on the speed. Good chance from inside gate for Joel Rosario.
#2 GUNTOWN (15-1): A $750,000 yearling purchase, Guntown backed up from a debut third to win start number two at Ellis Park. Has found it tougher in black type races since, finishing sixth in the Iroquois S. (G3), four lengths from the winner, and then fifth in the Street Sense S., seven lengths from winner Howling Time. Needs to improve to turn the tables.
#3 RICH STRIKE (50-1): Well beaten on debut at Ellis Park, the Eric Reed trainee bounced back to win by 17 1/4 lengths over a mile at Churchill Downs Sept. 17. Followed with third-place finish in allowance optional claiming at Keeneland Oct. 9. This much tougher. Rafael Bejarano takes the ride.
#4 TEXAS RED HOT (12-1): Second on debut at Churchill Downs, the Randy Morse-trained colt won at Ellis Park July 11. Fourth behind Roger McQueen in the Ellis Park Juvenile S. Aug. 15, he then returned to Churchill Downs to score well over one mile Oct. 31. Clearly runs well at Churchill Downs. Julien Leparoux has the mount.
#5 HOWLING TIME (7-2): A winner on debut over six furlongs on the Churchill Downs dirt, recording a high Brisnet Speed rating, the Dale Romans trainee then impressed when running away with the Street Sense S. over 1 1/16 miles on the same track Oct. 31. One of the best chances in the race. Joseph Talamo again has the mount.
#6 TIZ THE BOMB (3-1): Arguably the best U.S.-trained juvenile on turf, the Ken McPeek trainee is no mug on dirt either. After finding five furlongs too short on debut, he then won by 14 1/4 lengths on the Ellis Park dirt in a race switched from turf. Switching to turf, he then won the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile S. and the Bourbon S. (G2) before finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Big chance if he handles dirt as well as turf.
#7 VIVAR (12-1): Fourth on debut on the Ellis Park turf, Vivar then won comfortably at Kentucky Downs Sept. 5. His next scheduled start was for a turf race at Keeneland Oct. 29 but when switched to dirt he handled it in his stride, winning by a length. Faces tougher opposition here but not out of it for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux.
#8 SMILE HAPPY (12-1): Runhappy colt from the Ken McPeek stable who handled showery conditions admirably at his only start, scoring a 5 1/2 length victory at Keeneland Oct. 29. Faces much tougher opposition here but can’t be ignored. Corey Lanerie takes the reins.
#9 RED KNOBS (15-1): A useful second string for trainer Dale Romans. After finishing sixth on the Ellis Park turf on debut, he won easily on the dirt at the same venue. Then took third at large odds in the Iroquois S. (G3) before filling the same position behind Howling Time in the Street Sense S. Oct. 31. Ricardo Santana hops aboard for the first time. Good value for exotics.
#10 WHITE ABARRIO (8-1): Comes up from Florida having won both his starts for trainer Carlos Perez. Scooted away to win by 6 3/4 lengths over 6 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park Sept. 24, he then won a one mile allowance on the same track by four lengths Oct. 29. Put up solid Brisnet Speed and Class Ratings in both races. Edgard Zayas takes the mount.
#11 READY PURSUIT (50-1): Winner on debut over a mile at Keeneland Oct. 22, Ready Pursuit followed up with a third-place finish for trainer Jerry Antonuik at Churchill Downs over six furlongs Nov. 14. Could get into the exotics at odds for jockey Martin Garcia.
#12 BEN DIESEL (15-1): Dallas Stewart trainee who won only race to date, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Churchill Downs Oct. 31, by 3 1/4 lengths. This is a big step up. Jon Kenton Court takes the ride.
#13 MANNIX (20-1): Began his career on the turf in Ireland, finishing third at his first three starts (one of them behind winter Epsom Derby favorite Luxembourg), before heading to the Mark Casse stable. Upon arrival, won on the all-weather track at Gulfstream Park Oct. 31 by 3 1/4 lengths. Unknown on dirt but should be respected. Edwin Gonzalez rides.
#14 CALL ME MIDNIGHT (15-1): Showed little in his first three starts, all at Churchill Downs over sprint trips. Much- improved effort to finish second over 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland Oct. 9, three lengths behind subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) third-place finisher Giant Game. Backed that up with victory at Churchill Downs over one mile Nov. 13. Chance on his recent form. Chris Landeros rides for trainer Keith Desormeaux.
Churchill Downs – Race 12
$200,000 Fern Creek S., 2yo, fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs
#1 GOLDEN SIGHTS (10-1) was sold privately and transferred to Brad Cox after rolling to a 5 1/2-length maiden win at Keeneland last time in her fourth career start. The bay finished second when making her second outing in the Ellis Park Debutante S. in mid-August, but her Brisnet Speed numbers haven’t been strong so far. The Goldencents filly registered a career-best 87 when graduating over a sloppy track last time, and she’s eligible to be a pace player from her inside post today, but Golden Sights faces a tough challenge on the class hike.
#2 MATAREYA (7-2) merits serious respect for Brad Cox and Joel Rosario. The well-bred daughter of Pioneerof the Nile will cut back to a sprint distance after weakening to fifth in the Alcibiades S. (G1) at Keeneland, and the Godolphin homebred may relish the class relief. A convincing wire-to-wire debut scorer at Ellis Park in mid-August, Matareya possesses high speed and figures to be forward from the start. Her lower Brisnet Speed numbers (81 and 83) are the only concern, but she’s still lightly raced.
#3 BALI DEL SOL (12-1) will jump to stakes competition following a rallying one-length score in an off-the-turf 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Keeneland. From the first crop of multiple Grade 1 turf winner Bal a Bali, the dark bay miss is eligible to keep improving for Rusty Arnold, who isn’t known for winning with first-time starters, and her late running style could play favorably in a speed-filled field, but the 80 Speed rating she earned in discouraging. Bali Del Sol remains one to consider for the vertical exotics with Brian Hernandez Jr.
#4 VERYLITTLECENTS (7-2), a wire-to-wire stakes winner this summer, adds blinkers after a close frontrunning third in the Oct. 29 Myrtlewood S. at Keeneland, and the daughter of Goldencents appears certain to be part of the early pace with Joe Talamo. She’s not the only speed entered, and Verylittlecents finished fourth in her lone attempt at Churchill Downs, but she can’t be completely dismissed following an encouraging effort last time.
#5 KNOWING GLANCE (8-1) will be running late for Mike Maker and Tyler Gaffalione. After opening her career with a pair of thirds against maiden special weight foes at Saratoga, the Jimmy Creed filly was haltered from a rallying victory in a $150,000 maiden claiming event at Churchill in early October. She kept moving forward while making her first start for the Maker barn last time, closing from just off the pace to win an entry-level allowance/optional claiming event going away at Keeneland, and her Speed and Pace numbers improved nicely. Knowing Glance will need to keep showing more against tougher competition today, but her improving form and run style are appealing.
#6 MARISSA’S LADY (3-1) easily registered a field-best Brisnet Speed rating (95) when rallying to break her maiden at first asking at Churchill Downs on the Oct. 31 Stars of Tomorrow I program, and her off-the-pace run style should play favorably here. A half-sister to accomplished sprinter Richard’s Boy, the gray Violence filly was overlooked at 14-1 last time, but she will be bet down today off the fast debut performance. Marissa’s Lady rates as a major contender for Bill Morey and Rafael Bejarano.
#7 LAURA’S CHARM (15-1) will be tested for class after a convincing tally over starter allowance rivals on Nov. 7. She’s shown an affinity for Churchill, defeating maiden claiming foes by an 8 1/2-length margin in three starts back, but Laura’s Charm does her best running on the front end and may not be fast enough to challenge.
#8 SWEET DANI GIRL (5-2) looms as a serious contender from off the pace for Carlo Vaccarezza and Martin Garcia. Unbeaten from two starts, she won her career debut at 45-1 odds at Churchill Downs. The Florida-bred daughter of Jess’s Dream carried her form forward with a nice tally in the Oct. 29 Myrtlewood S. at Keeneland, rallying from just off the pace to score by about a length. Her Brisnet figures (89 and 90) have been a little low so far, but those numbers are eligible to keep increasing. Sweet Dani Girl will take some beating off her last effort.