July 14, 2024

Webslinger, Set Piece highlight turf stakes at Churchill Downs

Webslinger nips Far Bridge (obscured inside) in the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

Three turf stakes, including a pair of graded events, will be offered on Saturday’s “Stephen Foster Preview Program” at Churchill Downs.

Audubon S. – Race 7, 3:50 p.m. ET

Following a pair of encouraging stakes placings, Webslinger confirmed himself as an up-and-coming in the three-year-old turf division when recording a fine nose win in the American Turf (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard, defeating a deep field of challengers, and the Mark Casse-trained colt will seek to make it two in a row in the $225,000 Audubon.

The gelded son of Constitution tops a field of seven in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair, and Webslinger will retain the services of Javier Castellano.

Three unplaced contestants from the American Turf – Mendelssohns March, Scoobie Quando, and Desert Duke – are back to face Webslinger. Sharar, who exits wins over handicap and allowance rivals in Dubai, will make his U.S. debut for new trainer Todd Pletcher.

Arlington (G3) – Race 9, 4:55 p.m. ET

A six-time stakes winner for Brad Cox, Set Piece will be the one to beat in the $225,000 Arlington (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The seven-year-old gelding exits a rallying third in the May 4 Opening Verse under the Twin Spires, and Set Piece figures to be rolling late against six opponents in the Arlington with Florent Geroux.

English Group 2 scorer Royal Patronage merits respect following an allowance win at Keeneland. Unplaced from three U.S. stakes appearances last summer, the four-year-old colt appears to be on the right track for Graham Motion, and John Velazquez rides.

A Grade 1 turf upsetter last summer, Classic Causeway returns to the sod for Kenny McPeek following a pair of efforts on Oaklawn Park’s main track. Brian Hernandez Jr. guides the front-running specialist. Tiberius Mercurius will try stakes rivals for Mike Maker after winning a Churchill turf allowance as the favorite.

Regret (G3) – Race 5, 2:45 p.m. ET

Appalachian (G2) winner Papillo heads six three-year-old fillies in a competitive renewal of the $225,000 Regret (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on turf. An Irish import, Miss Papillo recorded a head second in the Herecomesthebride (G3) when making her U.S. debut three back, and the stalker exits a close fourth in the Edgewood (G2) on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Castellano will be up.

Florida Oaks (G3) winner Mission of Joy edged Papillo by a head when third in the Edgewood, and the Motion-trained filly may compete for favoritism with Gaffalione.

Miss Riddler will make her first stakes attempt for Eddie Kenneally, improving to 2-for-2 with a convincing allowance win at Keeneland in late April. Stakes winner Girl Named Charlie will try to rebound from a sixth in the Edgewood.